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Archive for the ‘Dermatology’ Category

Bone Marrow Stem Cells Show Promise for Repairing Skin

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 21, 2010

Individuals with a rare skin disease called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) can improve their condition with the transfer of bone marrow stem cells. A team of medical researchers has found that bone marrow stem cells can effectively treat the disease and help to repair the skin and speed up the healing process. This skin disease cannot be treated with conventional dermatology procedures.

The results of a recent study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in the middle of August 2010, and until now, there ha s not been any treatment or chance of a cure for RDEB. The study is the first of its kind that shows how bone marrow stem cells can adapt to the skin tissues and upper gastrointestinal tract, and help to slow down the progression of the disease.

Dr. John E. Wagner of the University of Minnesota Medical School, and director or pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, as well as the clinical director of the Stem Cell Institute, states, “whether the stem cells from marrow could repair tissues other than itself has been quite controversial…but in 2007, we found a rare subpopulation of marrow stem cells that could repair the skin in laboratory models. This astounding finding compelled us to test these stem cells in humans. This has never been done before.” (Source:

The stem cells found in bone marrow are capable of traveling to the areas of injured skin, which in turn helps to trigger collagen production. Collagen production is necessary to strengthen the skin, and is particularly valuable for patients who have been diagnosed with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. Patients who have this disease can now be cured with a bone marrow transplant and stem cell transfers.

Researchers concluded that further studies need to be done to test the efficacy of stem cell transfer and to assess the long-term risks involved with the treatment. Still, this recent discovery is showing very promising results.


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Oral and Topical Agents Can Prevent UV-Induced Skin Cancer

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 19, 2010

Topical agents, diet and certain medicines presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting 2010 in Chicago is showing promise for preventing UV-induced skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, and dermatologists are now encouraging the public to be conscientious about the amount of sun they are exposed to, and taking extra steps to use broad-spectrum sunscreen on a regular basis.

Still, incidences of non-melanoma skin cancer continue to rise, and researchers are investigating the effects of certain foods, vitamins and medicines that may prevent skin cancer.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham shared the results of some of the latest research initiatives that showcase the benefits of medicine and diet in preventing UV-induced skin cancer. According to dermatologist Craig A. Elmets, MD, FAAD, professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology and Director of the Skin Diseases Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “Based on the research conducted thus far, it appears that several different agents have the potential to be effective in providing enhanced sun protection and preventing non-melanoma skin cancers…while the way these agents work are different, we have seen encouraging results with both oral and topical agents, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eflornithine and certain types of natural antioxidants.” (Source: Medical News Today)

Dr. Elmets explained that oral medication can be effective at preventing basal cell nevus syndrome, a genetic defect that triggers the development of basal cell carcinoma at a very early age. Other drugs can be injected into the skin to inhibit cancer cell formation. A number of antioxidants were also evaluated for their chemopreventive properties, and some were found to destroy free radicals and compounds in the body that damage the DNA. Several clinical studies suggest that polyphenols in grape seed extract and green tea can help to prevent the growth of certain types of skin tumors.

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Experts Warn Beach Umbrellas Don’t Block Out UV Rays

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 3, 2010

If you’re one of the many people who head to the beach with plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella, you may still need to take extra steps to ward off harmful UV rays. According to a recent study published in the Photochemistry and Photobiology journals, beach umbrellas block out only about 70 percent of UV rays.

Even though the umbrella intercepts the direct radiation that comes from the sun, diffused radiation is able to reach the skin throughout the day and can still cause extensive skin damage.

According to Jose Antonio Martinez-Lozano, co-author of the study and coordinator of the Research Group of Solar Radiation in UV, “The umbrella intercepts the direct radiation that comes from the Sun, but part of the diffused radiation, which makes up approximately 60% of the total, reaches the sensor from the sky not covered by the umbrella.” He also states that he and his team have proven that irradiance that reaches the ground covered by an umbrella is about 34 percent of the total.

The team created a geometric model to obstruct the sky to calculate the level of irradiance received on different planes under the umbrella. The different configurations helped to simulate the effects of the sun’s rays on real people who are lying down under sunshades.

These types of studies can help scientists gain a better understanding of the development of skin cancers and the appearance of melanoma. Dermatologists recommend staying out of direct sunlight and applying sunscreen regularly in order to avoid excessive skin damage and photoageing. Excessive sun exposure can cause several different eye disorders, weaken the immune system, and also cause DNA damage.

In addition to using a beach umbrella, sun worshippers can wear a wide-brimmed hat, cover up with lightweight clothing when they are not hitting the water, and apply waterproof sunscreen frequently throughout the day to protect the skin.

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Psoriasis Genetic Testing Now Available in Europe

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on August 2, 2010

A new genetic test for psoriatic arthritis is now available in Europe as a CE in vitro diagnostic medical device. DermaGenoma, Inc., a molecular dermatology research and development innovator announced the unveiling of the genetic testing system in late July, 2010 and the device is now available under the European In Vitro Diagnostic Directive.

The PsoriasisDX Genetic Test for Psoriatic Arthritis(PsA) is available as a CE marked product, a requirement established by European Directives that ensures conformity and compliance. The testing device is designed to identify those who are at a high risk for developing psoriatic arthritis before they even experience the arthritic symptoms, making it easier for doctors to assess joint damage and proceed with medical intervention if necessary.

According to Andy Goren, CEO of DermaGenoma, Inc.,”We  are excited to extend this revolutionary genetics testing breakthrough to dermatologists in Europe…it helps doctors determine the proper treatments for patients.”

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes skin to develop thick, silvery scales and raised red skin.  It is considered to be a non-curable condition that progressively worsens over time, but some people may be clear of the condition during periods of remission throughout the course of their lives. The skin condition can occur in all races, both sexes, and in people of all ages, and may become aggravated by extreme temperatures or increased exposure to sunlight.

The cause of psoriasis is unknown, but dermatologists and skin care professionals are able to treat various stages of the condition using certain topical creams, lotions and sprays, or by injecting steroids directly into the skin. Patients who have moderate to severe psoriasis may be good candidates for prescription medication such as methotrexate or even light therapy which can help to improve the health and condition of the skin.

Genetic testing will help many medical professionals detect and diagnose the disease early, and may help the patient prepare for an effective treatment plan.

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Genetic Mutation May Be Cause of Melanoma

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on June 11, 2010

A new study carried out by the Institute of Cancer Research and published in the Cancer Research journal shows that a genetic mutation found in some forms of malignant melanoma can initiate the development of the deadliest form of skin cancer. The KRAS gene is mutated in approximately two per cent of malignant melanomas, and is the study is the first of its kind to show that damage to this gene can be the first in a process of events that trigger malignant melanoma.

Professor Richard Marais, lead author of the study reports, “We know that the main cause of skin cancer is damage driven by the UV rays in sunlight, and we are now building up a picture of the key genes involved in this disease. We have already discovered that mutations in another gene, BRAF, could drive up to half of melanomas, and now we’ve established that damage to the KRAS gene can also be the first step in malignant melanoma development.”

Melanoma is difficult to treat once it has spread to other organs. The results from the study are helping researchers learn how different types of genetic events can cause skin cancer to develop, and also understand what triggers the disease so that scientists can find better treatments. In another related study, researchers found that genetic mutations ma y be necessary to promote cancer growth. Researchers are trying to identify these other changes so that they can develop more effective therapeutic approaches for treating early signs of skin cancer and preventing the formation of melanoma.

Researchers of this study and dermatologists advise patients to avoid excessive use of tanning beds and too much sun exposure, which can both be responsible for triggering skin cancer and melanoma growth. Melanoma was the cause of 8,650 deaths in the United States in 2009 alone, and approximately 68,720 new cases were reported that same year.

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“Tanorexia” Numbers On the Rise

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on June 2, 2010

In spite of increasing incidences of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, many people are still flocking to the nearest tanning booth to get that coveted summer glow.

The Loyola University Health System reports that the number of “tanorexia” patients – individuals who are literally addicted to tanning – is on the rise, and that the indoor tanning business is booming as a result.

Statistics show that approximately thirty million men and women in the United States visit tanning salons each year, even though the effects of tanning include wrinkles, sun damaged skin, age spots and an increased risk of getting skin cancer. Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation is responsible for approximately 90 percent of skin cancers, and the risk of melanoma increases by 75 percent in individuals who hit the tanning booth before the age of 35. (Source: Medical News Today)

Dermatologists at Loyola University have published a study in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, indicating that tanning addictions are a “legitimate health problem.” Tanorexia, otherwise known as a tanning addiction, has its roots in the endorphin rush individuals get when they are exposed to UV rays. The diagnostic test for tanning dependence includes asking questions similar to those assessing for alcoholism. Those who are over-dependent on tanning may feel guilty after tanning, are annoyed when people mention their tanning habits, and have had difficulty cutting back on their tanning booth visits.

Dr. Richard Wagner, a UTMB dermatologist  appeared on ABC World News Tonight in 2005 and states, “Anecdotal observations about patients who seem ‘addicted to the sun’ have been discussed in dermatology for years…the sun helps release endorphins in the skin, and people may become addicted to the feeling they get after tanning.” (Source:

Many tanorexics also have body image issues, which may be triggering the addictive tanning cycle. Treatment options include psychological counseling and treatment for any underlying depression.

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Scientists Report on the Skin Benefits of Soybean Oil

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on May 3, 2010

A recent report presented at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) showcased the development of a new method of converting soybean oil into a bio-based sunscreen active ingredient that could not only shield the skin from harmful UV rays, but also supports the skin cells.

Certain formulations of sunscreen contain ingredients that may be harmful to the skin and health in the long-term, and some dermatologists recommend using only chemical-free products, including organic sunscreen and skin protecting agents.

This particular study shows that a new, natural sunscreen agent could replace ingredients made from petroleum, and may be more effective for protecting the skin against UV damage.

Joseph Laszlo, Ph.D, points out that the market for sunscreen and skincare products that reduce the effects of UV light has been booming in recent years, and is actually a multi-billion dollar industry. However, there is ongoing concern about the effects of certain sunscreen ingredients. Oxybenzone, for example, a common ingredient in many major brand name sunscreens, is a suspected hormone disruptor, according to Dr. Laszlo.

Dr. Laszlo states, “we’re trying to provide nature-inspired skincare materials that avoid such health concerns and at the same time have fewer adverse environmental impacts…sunscreens are among the substances, termed “pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs),” that constitute a relatively new family of water contaminants with potential adverse health effects on wildlife and people.”

Sunscreen products are designed to protect the skin cells and body from the effects of UV-A and UV-B rays, and also lower the risk of sunburn. Overexposure to both types of rays can cause pigmentation, darkening of the skin (tanning), burning, and also increases the risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Laszlo and his colleagues have developed technology for converting soybean oil into a biobased active ingredient for sunscreen products, including the incorporation of ferulic acid. This ingredient may be safer for the skin, and the environment. (Source:

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Fraxel Re:Store Can Treat Precancerous Skin Conditions

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on April 22, 2010

Many people with moles, age spots and lesions undergo chemical peels, skin resurfacing procedures and microdermabrasion to help reduce the appearance of these marks and keep the skin healthy.

Unfortunately, some of these blemishes and lesions can be cancerous, and require intervention by a professional dermatologist. Dermatologists now have more options than ever for treating precancerous skin conditions, and many are turning to the Fraxel Re:Store system to achieve exceptional results.

Solta Medical, the medical aesthetics manufacturer behind Fraxel, recently announced that its Re:Stor DUAL laser system can provide superior results as  treatment for actinic keratoses, a precancerous skin condition caused by excessive sun exposure.

A clinical study at a laser and dermatology office in New York shows that the Fraxel Re:Stor DUAL laser was able to resolve over 85 percent of all AK lesions, and also helped to improve the texture and tone of the skin. Dr. Roy Geronemus, director of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, states, “if one already has significant sun damage, as can be the case with active golfers, I recommend the new Fraxel re:store DUAL laser treatment…the (treatment) is comparable or better to other topical therapies; however Fraxel has the added benefit of improving skin quality, color and texture.” (Source:

In 2008, Fraxel’s family of laser systems was presented during the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery’s annual conference, and highlighted the effects of the Fraxel Re:Pair, Re:Store and Re:Fine laser systems, which have now become the gold standard for fractional skin treatments.

The Re:Store laser was introduced to the United States market in 2004,  and is currently available at over 1,500 dermatology, plastic surgery and aesthetic surgery offices around the world. The procedure can be administered to the face, neck, chest, and hands, and is suitable for almost all skin types.

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American Academy of Dermatology Makes Statement About Tanning Tax

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on April 20, 2010

There is a significant amount of scientific evidence that shows indoor tanning beds can increase the risk of skin cancer, but millions of people still hit the tanning beds to achieve a coveted radiant glow, season after season.

Indoor tanning is especially dangerous for teens, individuals with sensitive skin types, and those that have delicate skin, and those that do not use enough sunscreen – or are tanning on a regular basis – increase their risk of developing skin cancer even more.

The federal government is now imposing a tax on tanning beds, in an effort to reduce the frequency of use of tanning beds, especially in teens. William D. James, MD, FAAD, President of the American Academy of Dermatology, recently made a statement about the indoor tanning tax. He points out that, “a tax on indoor tanning services serves as a signal from the federal government to young people that indoor tanning is dangerous and should be avoided. In addition, the indoor tanning tax furthers the goal of promoting wellness and prevention as part of health reform.”

The tax is designed to discourage individuals from using tanning beds so frequently, and to save patients from the adverse effects of chronic UV damage.

Dermatologists around the country have reported on the impact of indoor tanning on young women, indicating that those that use tanning beds frequently before the age of 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. Melanoma has now become the most common form of cancer in young adults between the ages of 25 and 29 years, and the second most common form of cancer in adolescents and young adults between 15 to 29 years of age.

As more men and women reduce their use of indoor tanning beds, they will not only be protecting their health, but also saving money in the long run. (Source:

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Study Shows Nanoparticles in Sunscreen Could Be Toxic

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on April 19, 2010

Zinc oxide, a material commonly used in sunscreen, may be toxic to humans, according to a study published in the ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology. Scientists in the study report that the particle size of zinc oxide – specifically those that are smaller than 100 nanometers – are toxic to colon cells.

Researchers found that the chemical properties of smaller particles are significantly different than larger particles, and since nanoparticles are commonly used in foods, cosmetics and other consumer products, they may have some harmful toxic effects.

Many sunscreen formulations contain a significant concentration of nanopoarticles of zinc oxide. Philip Moos and scientists in the study indicated that, “unintended exposure to nano-sized zinc oxide from children accidentally eating sunscreen products is a typical public concern, motivating the study of the effects of nanomaterials in the colon.” (Source:

The American Chemical Society experimented with cell cultures of colon cells and compared them with the effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles, and zinc oxide in powder form. The results of the study indicate that the nanoparticles were twice as toxic as the cells of the larger particles, and especially damaging to the colon cells when ingested. The study did not look at the effects of these particles as they passed through the digestive tract.

Researchers report that further research needs to be done to determine whether the zinc nanoparticle toxicity effects occur only in people or also in laboratory animals, and to what extent.

Common sunscreen ingredients are known carcinogens and some have strong estrogenic actions that can interfere with sexual development and cause reproductive problems. Common sunscreen ingredients include diethanolamine, triethanolamine, padimate, octyl dimethyl PABA, oxybenzone, homosalate, salicylates and parabens.

Another popular ingredient in sunscreen is Benzophenone. While this compound is effective at warding off UVA and UVB rays, it is also a free radical generator which can initiate a reaction that causes melanoma or other types of skin cancer.

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