Most Cosmetics Do Not Work

Study Suggests Most Claims Reported on a Beauty Product Are Not Considered Truthful.

CBS News (7/29) reports on its website that “a new study found fewer than one out of five” beauty product “claims was considered truthful by a panel of readers – and ads that used scientific language to describe the benefits were even less persuasive.” The study that was cited was published in the Journal of Global Fashion Marketing: Bridging Fashion and Marketing.

This comes as no surprise as most companies do not perform studies on their products to prove that they actually work. Others “perform” poorly constructed studies, that would never be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, using photographs as “evidence” of effect. Photographs alone prove nothing unless they are standardized (same exact lighting, same exact positioning, etc) so when one looks at photographic claims, one should be wary–is the lighting the same, is the person smiling in one picture and not in another.  I never base proof on photographs alone, unless used in a well-performed trial.

Many companies will put the same “active ingredient” in their product and use the claims from other products. Well, while that may sound fine, it is not. While an active ingredient may be essential to achieving a desired result, it is the other ingredients that allow it to penetrate the skin and work. These other ingredients differ, thus changing the result. The active ingredient itself may be different–not as pure or a different percentage. In short, there are many variables.

Therefore, one should be very skeptical regarding claims that are made. Additionally, the same holds true for many products that are sold in Spas, Plastic Surgeon’s offices, and Dermatologist’s offices. Many of the products that I have found on the shelves in these offices were not tested, but based their claims on studies performed on other products from other companies.

Consuming alcohol increases risk of Skin Cancer: maybe

A recent study has shown a positive association of increased alcohol consumption with the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. The study was small, so larger studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.

Here is yet another possible reason to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption. Red wine has some other health benefits that, according to some, might outweigh the negative effects when taken in moderation–no more than one glass per day, but even that is somewhat controversial.

Erectile dysfunction treatments lead to increased risk of melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.

The use of PDE5 inhibitors such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra) are common for those with erectile dysfunction. More and more research has shown an increased risk of some types of skin cancer for those taking these medications. Interestingly, there have been no studies showing an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

For this reason, those with a history of melanoma should take this into consideration when considering taking one of these medications. Those with a personal history of multiple dysplastic moles or family history of melanoma should also take this into consideration. For patients whom have had multiple basal cell carcinomas should also weigh the risks of taking these medications.

iPhone case causes skin burns and irritation

MixBin Electronics sparkly, glitter iPhone cases, sold by Amazon and others, “are giving consumers skin irritation and burns as a result of liquid and glitter seeping from the cases, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.” Over 250,000 cases have since been recalled. These cases contain liquid and glitter that moves around in the liquid. For more information, go to: https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/mixbin-electronics-recalls-iphone-cases

 

How to store pain medications

Now I know that this post has nothing to do with skin care, but it is in the best interest of public safety.

It is not uncommon for one to receive a prescription for narcotic pain medication after having a procedure. In fact, often, one does not finish all of the medication. But, what does one do with them?

Prescription narcotics is one of the biggest when it comes to drug abuse, especially among teens. It is essential to keep narcotics in a secure, locked location. Often one does not finish them and leaves the bottle in an unsecured location for many months or years. This is not recommended.

Even if your kids are all grown and out of the house, do you have grandchildren or other teenagers or young adults visiting?

Be safe.

PRP: is it worth all the hype?

Celebreties are raving about it, doctors are promoting it for many things, but is it really worth the hype?

In short, PRP is not FDA approved for anu Dermatologic or Cosmetic indication. There are several small studies that concluded that there is benefit when treating androgenic alopecia. That being said, larger, well-designed studies are needed. For other indications, such as photo-rejuvenation, studies are even more poorly designed.

There is a good scientific basis for why PRP may help a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, due to a lack of good clinical studies further research is needed. So the answer to the question of whether is is worth the hype is maybe. 

Often, PRP is combined with another procedure–laser resurfacing+PRP, or Restylane+PRP. When doing so, it is difficult to know if the PRP is adding any benefit.

Diet & Acne: What to avoid

For decades, we have told patients that there were no studies to support that drinking soda made acne worse, although if that was their experience then they should not consume soda. Over the recent years, more and more evidence has emerged showing that diet can affect acne. The first study showed that drinking non-organic milk may exacerbate acne. Recently a study published in the The Journal of Academic Nurtition (J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Jun 9. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2017.03.024 ) showed that consuming high-glycemic index carbohydrates is correlated with worsening of acne. 

In short, the recommendations have not changed–for all persons, eating a good healthy diet is recommended. What has changed is the evidence showing that poor eating habits is connected with worsening of acne. For all of my patients, acne or not, I recommend avoiding white rice, white potatoes, white flour, and sugar in their diet. Unfortunately, most of my patients, with or without acne, consume a large amount of these high-glycemic index foods, which contributes to obesity, fatigue, and the development of type II diabetes.

Scar Treatments using “Lasers”

It’s funny today. No matter what the condition, everyone thinks that a “laser” is available and is best. In most cases, this is not so, but in many cases, laser treatments are available.

There are many different types and causes of scars: traumatic, post-surgical, and acne scars to name a few. Well, there is not one treatment that is best for all types of scars. So, when it comes to scars, you need to have a lot of tools at your disposal in order to get the best result. For example, here is a list of treatments that I perform regularly for scars:

  • CO2 laser ablation
  • Dermabrasion (not to be confused with microdermabrasion)
  • TCA peels
  • IPL (intensed pulsed light)
  • Topical treatments (i.e. silicone gel sheets, 5-FU), which can be combined with other treatment modalities
  • Surgical scar revision
  • Electrodesiccation
  • Dermal and/or subdermal fillers
  • Subcision

What is not on the list:

  • Microdermabrasion – studies have shown that there is virtually no benefit unless one reaches the dermis( pinpoint bleeding), at which point it is a dermabrasion and not microdermabrasion. This modality can be combined with chemical peels, which does offer benefit.
  • Microneedling – although there may be some benefit, the cost-benefit ratio is poor (high cost for minimal, if any, benefit). This is frequently recommended as there is minimal risk.

In short, the treatment of scars requires experience and skill. More and more frequently, I perform post-operative treatments to reduce the appearance of scars before they fully form (i.e. 10-14 days after facial surgery). But, most scars that are treated are from acne and/or trauma.