Cosmetic Surgery Today

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Posts Tagged ‘skin cancer’

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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New Skin Cancer Surgical Procedure Reduces Facial Scarring

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on July 13, 2010

Mohs surgery has been proven effective for reducing facial scarring after skin cancer surgery, and is quickly becoming the preferred surgery of choice at several cosmetic surgery and dermatology offices around the United States.

Many plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and dermatologist perform this type of surgery when investigating suspicious moles or tumors to determine if they are cancerous, and the procedure can effectively reduce the risk of extensive scarring.

The surgery involves removing the tumor plus a small amount of skin around the edges. The skin mass can then be cut into several slices and placed on slides for examination. With Mohs surgery, the surgeon is able to remove the entire tumor with less skin around the edges, compared to other procedures. This means that the physician is able to remove extensive tumors around the lips, eyelids, nose, ears and other facial regions without causing excessive scars.

The procedure can be performed under mild sedation, and the skin grows back relatively quickly after the treatment. Mohs surgery has one of the highest success rates for basal cell carcinomas, and is best used to treat skin cancer on the face because it allows the physician to cut deeply into the tissue planes beneath the skin’s surface. Mohs surgery effectively removes the “roots” of the tumor or mole, and most surgeries can be performed in a single day. In most cases, the removal and preparation of the tissue takes approximately one to two hours for each layer of skin.

After the surgery is complete, the skin needs to heal for several months before any other types of skin rejuvenation procedures can be performed. Some patients may benefit from microdermabrasion and other facial rejuvenation procedures after the healing process is complete, as these procedures can help to eliminate and reduce any remaining scars, and create a smooth, contoured appearance.

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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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Researchers Report All Types of Indoor Tanning Devices Increase Melanoma Risk

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on June 8, 2010

Tanning beds offer the convenience of year-round tanning over your lunch hour, but do pose several health risks. Researchers and dermatologists in the United States report that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, regardless of the person’s age, gender, and even the type of tanning device that is used. This means that a person’s risk of getting skin cancer is the same when they use high-powered tanning beds, stand-up booths and other tanning systems.

The study was published in the May issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, one of the journals of the American Association for Cancer Research. Associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and co-leader of the Prevention and Etiology Research Program at the University’s Masonic Cancer Center, and principal investigator of the study, Dr. DeAnn Lazovich, states that “there was no safe tanning device” in the study. She found that the risk of getting melanoma was linked with how much time a person spent getting a tan, regardless of the device. Before this study, indoor tanning had been “weakly linked” with the risk of getting melanoma.

Dr. Lazovich and colleagues searched through statewide cancer registries to determine the number of melanoma patients aged from 25 to 59 diagnosed in Minnesota only, between 2004 and 2007. The researchers invited the patients to complete a questionnaire and telephone interview to determine what types of devices they used, how frequently they were exposed to the tanning device, and if they experienced any tanning-related burns.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and accounts for approximately 4 percent of skin cancer cases. It is one of the fastest increasing cancers in the United States, and approximately 69,000 American s are diagnosed with melanoma each year.

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Mayo Clinic Reports Melanoma is Curable When Caught Early

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on May 22, 2010

It’s the deadliest form of skin cancer, but unfortunately, is becoming increasingly common worldwide.

One in 50 Americans will have to deal with melanoma at some point in their lives, according to the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, the organization strives to provide information on treatment options, and the latest news about skin cancer so that individuals can reduce their risk.

Today, the only major treatment for malignant melanoma is to remove the entire tumor, along with some of the skin. Removing the tumor in the early stages can help reduce the rate of recurrence of the disease, and further damage. Almost 80 percent of skin cancer cases can be cured completely when they are discovered at an early stage. Once the cancer has spread, more aggressive treatment is required. Today’s treatment options include radiation therapy, lymph node removal, chemotherapy and immune-based therapy.

By definition, melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes, and is the main cause of skin-cancer related deaths. It is caused by an uncontrolled growth of pigmented cells, or melanin. It is predominantly found in adults, and 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths are from malignant melanoma. People of all skin types are at risk for developing melanoma at some point in their lives, and it is typically found only in parts of the body that are covered by skin.

Dermatologists and doctors advise individuals to avoid the use of tanning beds, especially before the age of 35, and to avoid direct sun exposure if they have a history of sunburns. The Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource also points out that individuals should see a dermatologist immediately if moles begin to itch, bleed, or are changing in color. Variations in color from tan, brown, black, and even red or white may be indicative of skin cancer.

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UK Surgeons Develop 3D Skin Cancer Diagnosis System

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on May 21, 2010

Many dermatologists use a two-dimensional computer system to view the patterns of moles and potential melanoma on the skin, and to detect skin cancer.

A group of UK scientists have now developed a 3D test for identifying malignant melanoma, and have provided details about the system in the latest issue of the International Journal of Modeling, Identification and Control.

In the UK alone, the incidence rates of malignant melanoma have increased more than any other cancers in the country. Doctors and dermatologists around the world agree that successful treatment of melanoma relies on early detection. The 3D skin cancer diagnosis system is designed to scan the skin quickly and easily, and in some cases, may prevent a biopsy.

2D skin diagnosis systems typically look at the asymmetry, border, color and diameter of a mole or skin lesion to determine whether it is a benign growth, or if it is malignant. The 3D system may be much more accurate, and can quickly reveal any changes in the texture of the skin, including benign lesions such as moles or freckles. The device produces a 3D computer rendering of the skin texture patterns, making it easier for the doctor to look at the surface of the skin in great detail, and identify any potential risk areas.

The 3D computer-assisted diagnosis system has been developed by Lyndon Smith and colleagues at the Machine Vision Laboratory, Bristol Institute of Technology, University of the West of England, in collaboration with the Department of Plastic Surgery at North Bristol NHS Trust.

The non-invasive 3D system ultimately provides a more accurate assessment of the skin, than 2D pattern recognition alone. All of the information is analyzed by a laptop and compared to patterns recorded from known cases of melanoma. This process helps ‘train’ the software program so that it becomes much easier to detect skin problems.


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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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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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FDA Panel Recommends Banning Tanning Beds for Teens

Posted by Cosmetic Surgery Review on April 3, 2010

Skin cancer continues to be the most common form of cancer in the United States, and approximately 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

People that use tanning beds on a regular basis are predisposed to developing skin cancer at some stage in their lives, as the beds emit high-powered ultraviolet radiation that severely damages the skin cells and makes them more vulnerable to ongoing damage, and then skin cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel wants to impose new restrictions on the use of tanning beds and tanning devices, especially for children and teens. The General and Plastic Surgery Devices Panel, a part of the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Committee, met in mid-March to discuss the possibility of increasing restrictions of the use of tanning beds across the United States.

Allan Halpern, Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation, reports that there is significant evidence linking tanning beds to melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and that many young women who use tanning beds do develop melanoma at some stage of their lives.

Currently, the only restrictions on using tanning beds are to wear goggles while tanning. Some panelists want to ban the use of tanning beds for those under 18 completely, while others want stricter guidelines and restrictions on artificial tanning, either by requiring parental consent, or reclassifying tanning beds as a “Class 2” device that would require special labeling requirements and must meet certain performance standards.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) based in France, has already reclassified tanning beds to a high-cancer risk category, and has stated that the UV rays emitted by the beds are carcinogenic to humans. Some European countries have already imposed limits on the use of tanning beds for individuals under 18 years of age, and some are taking steps to ban the use of UV beds and devices for teens altogether.

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