NEWS & MEDIA
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels are used to correct fine lines, deeper lines, superficial scars, laxity, sun damage and pigmentation problems depending on the strength of the TCA used. TCA can be used not only on the face, but also on the neck, chest, back, arms and hands. These peels should be performed by a board-certified physician (typically a dermatologist or plastic surgeon) in a medical office. It can be helpful to prep your skin for a TCA peel with a skincare regimen including glycolic acid, hydroquinone (if you are trying to reduce hyperpigmentation) and RetinA prior to undergoing the peel. Strict sun protection and hydration with a healing ointment (ie. Aquaphor) are very important after the peel.
A recent larger study revealed that a single ultraviolet (UV) tanning session increases tanners' risk of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by 67 percent and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) by 20 percent. Close to 171,000, or about 5 percent, of the 3.5 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer diagnosed in the US every year can be attributed to indoor tanning. Investigators also determined that one indoor tanning session raises tanners' risk of melanoma by 20 percent. In 2012, melanoma killed around 9,180 people in the US.
The New York Times' Skin Deep discusses the incorporation of oxygen into skin products. Click on the link below to learn more.
In June 2011, the FDA unveiled its long-awaited final rule on sunscreen regulations. Implementation of these rules was delayed this past summer (2012).
The sunscreen rules address a number of things that dermatologists have deemed problematic regarding the marketing claims and labeling of sunscreens:
1. “Only broad spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures.”
2. Manufacturers cannot label sunscreens as “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” or even identify their products as “sunblocks,” as these claims overstate their effectiveness.
3. Water resistance claims on the front label must now indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing.
4. Sunscreens cannot claim to provide sun protection for more than two hours without reapplication or to provide protection immediately after application without FDA approval.
On December 17th, the new rules take effect for all products with annual sales over $25,000. Companies with lower sales have an additional full year to comply.
Interested in a product that erases wrinkles or reduces pore size?
Read on for some buyer tips.
Cosmetic company insiders have noted that the most reliable claim on a package is the product size, as this can be objectively measured. Other claims can be exaggerated based on limited or non-product-specific data or, in rare cases, based on nothing at all. Also keep in mind that even when products are tested by a company, the study may be conducted under unrealistic conditions or with such tight controls that it is unlikely that a consumer’s actual use will produce similar effects. For example, a product may claim improvement in wrinkles based on the fact that 51% of consumers report a self-assessed benefit; however, this translates only into a 50/50 chance of a given consumer seeing a benefit.
Still, well-formulated products can yield benefits. “Clinically proven” claims supported by research and development studies with independent dermatologists are very strong indicators of potential product efficacy. Brand name products with strong research and development organizations are most likely to carry these claims. Patients should beware or be cautious with generic store brands that state "compare to X product…” These products are working off of the reputation or the “innovator” and are unlikely to have been involved with studies. They may contain the same or similar ingredients as another brand product, but the manufacturing process is rarely duplicated.
Consumers should consider the history and reputation of the company selling the product and note the efficacy claimed. In general, larger companies will do clinical research and testing that can verify claims. Smaller companies are less likely to be scrutinized and therefore can more easily get away with less scrupulous claims.
A longitudinal nail ridge is due to the senescence of an individual cell in the nail matrix. It is unknown how to reverse the cell senescence, but it is possible to smooth the ridges by filing with a series of coarse- to fine-grit emery boards. I recommend a coarse-grit emery board be used to smooth the ridge only, followed by medium-grit, fine-grit and smoothing-grit emery boards for further polishing of the nail. While popular press claims Biotin can improve such nail conditions, there really are no nutritional nail supplements that do this. Longitudinal nail ridges are also more prone to nail peeling and splitting (otherwise known as onychoschizia). A moisturizer can be helpful if there is peeling. Silicone-based nail moisturizers can add nail shine during the day and glycerin-based nail moisturizers are good at night.
One controversial topic is the use of preservatives in cosmetics. The primary role of anti-microbial preservatives is to destroy bacteria and prevent contamination. With this in mind, surprisingly, animals that are fed large amounts of preservatives typically do not enjoy a long life. Animal testing is performed through ingestion of the product to determine carcinogenicity and safety. But as we do not drink cosmetics, the risk of ingesting preservatives is not really an issue. Rather, the risk of transferring infection from cosmetics contamination (ie. transferring an eye infection from one eye to the other via mascara or sticking dirty fingers into a jar) is much greater than the risk of applying minute amounts of preservative to the skin.
Lately there have been a lot of efforts to eliminate preservatives from cosmetics, but there really is no such thing as a commercially-made, preservative-free cosmetic. First and foremost, most cosmetic products do not get bought and used until at least 3 to 6 months after leaving the manufacturer necessitating the use of preservatives. Additionally, many products that are labeled as preservative free actually contain preservatives; the catch is that the ingredient may fall under a different category (ie. there are fragrances which also happen to be preservatives). There has also been a trend towards special packaging that permits a lower concentration of preservatives used.
But the truth is, preservatives are very important for ensuring product longevity and stability until the very last drop is used. As it is, among ingredients in a cosmetic product, preservatives happen to be one of the lowest in terms of concentration. Labels list ingredients in order of descending concentration and preservatives are usually listed towards the end. Restricting the use of preservatives in cosmetics for their preservation may not be the best thing in the end.
I must admit that the idea of any laser in untrained hands concerns me. That being said, there are a handful of promising new devices available. Let’s take a look at what is out there:
1. TRIA HAIR REMOVAL LASER is a device for laser hair removal. The dark pigment in hair absorbs the beams of laser energy, converting them to heat which basically disables hair follicles, preventing the growth of new hair. The good news is that it is user-friendly and involves minimal discomfort. The bad news is that it has a small head which could make treatments long and difficult. Laser hair removal requires at least 6 treatments done 4 to 6 weeks apart so as to attack the hairs in various stages of their growth cycles. While not practical for multiple large areas, it may be an inexpensive alternative for small areas on people with fair skin and dark hair. The device costs $395; www.triabeauty.com.
2. LIGHTSTIM LED LIGHT THERAPY is a handheld light-emitting diode (LED) device designed to stimulate collagen production and lessen wrinkles. It is supposed to be used on the areas for three minutes, five times a week. The good news is that it may give the skin a fresh glow and temporarily lessen fine lines (mostly due to temporary heat and swelling). The bad news is it takes at least 2 months to see results and the results are questionable. Continued use is also necessary. The device costs $299; www.lightstim.com. There is also an acne light and rosacea light as well!
3. PALOVIA SKIN RENEWING LASER is an OTC version of professional fractionated light devices (ie. Fraxel). It claims to reduce wrinkles around the eyes. The good news is it is user-friendly and involves minimal discomfort. It may even help build collagen to work on those wrinkles. The bad news it requires a major commitment – five minutes a day for at least one month to even see results, but longer for a more enhanced outcome. The device costs $499; www.palovia.com.
4. WRINKLEMD utilizes anatomically shaped patches that fit around the eye ere where smile and squint lines develop. A mild electrical pulse delivers hyaluronic acid into the skin with the goal of reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The good news is that there is a temporary (possibly up to 24 hours) reduction in fine lines. The bad news is that there is an associated pricking sensation and a bit of a time commitment. The device is meant to be used twice a week for 40 minutes for the first two weeks and then weekly thereafter. The device costs $129; www.universitymedical.com.