Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Importance of Hydration for the Skin

The skin is the largest organ in the body and has numerous functions including sensation, temperature regulation, preventing water loss, and protecting the body from insults such as chemicals, infections, and sun. Having an appropriate amount of water in the skin cells is essential for these metabolic functions. The skin is made up of approximately 70 % water and it contains a natural moisturizing factor to prevent water loss. As we age the amount of this moisturizing factor decreases leading to dryness, redness, and irritation. Moisturizers and hydrators replenish this function when applied topically to the skin. But it is also important to make sure your body is well hydrated from the inside to provide water that is essential for the skin. Hydrated skin is healthy and appears supple, plump, and radiant, like a fresh grape. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, is wrinkled and dry and resembles a raisin. Drinking at least eight cups of water every day provides the skin with adequate hydration to perform all of its important functions. Drink more water when the weather is hot or dry and when you exercise. At the same time avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrate the body. Water intake also benefits overall health because it stimulates metabolism throughout the body.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

American Academy of Dermatology Conference 2012

The American Academy of Dermatology Conference was held at the Convention Center in San Diego, CA March 16-20, 2012. Approximately 20,000 people attended including doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and medical staff. There were many lectures about various topics in dermatology given by experts from around the world. Additionally, there were many poster presentations on new research. The technical exhibits featured many exhibitors including those who make neuromodulators, fillers, lasers, and skin care products. There were many dinners and parties in the evenings, keeping everyone very busy. It was an outstanding educational experience for all involved. The weather was unseasonably cold but it will hopefully be better next year in Miami, FL.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Acne Treatments

There are many different treatments for acne. One guideline that should be followed by all is good skin hygiene. This includes washing the face twice daily and additionally after exercise, heat exposure, or anything that causes sweating. In addition, there are both topical and oral treatments with multiple categories. For example, some target bacteria; these include benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics such as doxycycline and clindamycin. Some products lead to exfoliation of cells that lead to clogged pores; these include hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Retinoids such as retin-A are now considered first line therapy for all forms of acne. They stimulate cell turnover, collagen production, and exfoliation of the dead skin cells on the surface. Accutane is the oral equivalent and is typically reserved for severe cystic acne. Hormonal therapy such as oral contraceptives works well for those who get breakouts at certain times in the menstrual cycle. In addition, there are procedures that work well for treatment of acne. These include extraction, steroid injection, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dermal Fillers

As we age, we lose fat in the skin that gives it its youthful appearance. Additionally collagen and elastin production slow down, leading to laxity and sagging. At the same time bone resorption occurs leading to volume loss. Together, these lead to changes such as formation of nasolabial folds or smile lines, marionette lines, and jowls. Dermal fillers are products which are injected into the skin to reverse these changes. Common fillers include Juvederm, Restylane, Perlane, Radiesse, Sculptra, and Artefill. They last anywhere from six months to over two years depending on the filler and the person. The great thing about dermal fillers is that, unlike Botox, chemical peels, or laser procedures, results are seen immediately, which is perfect for those who want instant gratification. It is minimally invasive, which is nice for those who don't want surgery. Prior to the procedure the skin is numbed with a topical cream or injection so that the procedure is painless. The procedure can be performed in less than 30 minutes. Common areas of treatment include smile lines, lips, and areas under the eyes. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should not be treated.