The Latest Breakthroughs in Dermatology

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The inaugural ASDS Skintelligence meeting took place in New York City on September 23, 2014. More than 30 top health and beauty editors and journalists heard about the latest breakthroughs in dermatologic surgery.  The ASDS is the largest specialty organization in the US that represents dermatologic surgeons.  These are dermatologists that specialize in skin-cancer surgery and/or aesthetic dermatology. A distinguished panel of experts discussed several of the latest techniques and procedures for the treatment of hair, skin and nails as well as the latest information on skin cancer. I had the opportunity to deliver innovations and advances for nonsurgical body improvements.  Through procedures such as cryolipolysis for permanent fat removal and ultrasound for tightening the skin around the belly button, we are able to contour and improve the body after having a baby without surgery or recovery time. I know many women are not convinced that we can actually remove fat and tighten skin all without surgery, but with the most modern devices and procedures, it is now a reality! 

There were several noteworthy topics discussed at the meeting. Dr. Mitch Goldman discussed his research on the treatment of varicose and spider veins on the legs, hands and face. Large varicose veins in the legs are more than just a cosmetic issue. They often cause heaviness and fatigue in the legs. In the worst cases, skin breakdown and ulcerations can occur.  New FDA-approved products are available to permanently close down bulging and uncomfortable varicose veins often with just a single treatment that requires minimal recovery. Unlike the treatments endured by some of our mothers, today’s treatments for varicose veins are fast, comfortable and effective with no scarring.  Dr. Goldman also showed impressive results for the treatment of blue veins on the temples with an Nd:YAG laser. Although not harmful, enlarged blue veins in the temples are a common cosmetic complaint problem with age and can be most noticeable in slim, fit women who exercise regularly. In my experience, several Nd:YAG laser treatments may be required to get a good result, but once achieved, the results are long lasting.

Dr. Arielle Kauvar demonstrated alarming statistics on skin cancer and women in the US. The number of skin cancers (including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer) continues to rise in young women. Unfortunately, we (dermatologists) seem to be losing the battle when educating the public. Dr. Kauvar highlighted sobering statistics that sunscreen use in teenagers has actually declined in the 10 years between 2001 and 2011 and all the while the use of indoor tanning bed use has increased despite our best efforts to educate through extensive public awareness campaigns. One of Dr. Kauvar’s patients, Lisa Pace, bravely discussed her experience after enduring dozens of skin cancer surgeries.  She is a 37-year-old basketball coach who to date has had 77 skin cancers removed. A self-described former tanning salon “addict,” she explained how she was unaware of the dangers of tanning-bed use. Lisa now regularly educates young women about skin cancer and the risk of indoor tanning. Through research, dermatologists know that younger skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation (UVL) and even a single trip to the tanning salon can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Since children often mimic behavior from their mother, it’s never too early to discuss good sun safety, sunscreen use and the dangers of tanning bed use with your kids.