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Sep
27
2006

Cornelia Day Resort Welcomed Chiva-Som Therapists

Cornelia Day Resort in New York welcomed two Chiva-Som therapists from Hua Hin, Thailand, for a special promotional week in which clients could experience authentic Thai massages. 866-663-1700

Sep
25
2006

Key to a Safe Tan for Fair-Skinned People Discovered

Fair-skinned people who yearn for a suntan -- even though they know it's hopeless and unhealthy -- may one day have cause for celebration.

Harvard scientists have discovered new information about how the skin tans or -- in the case of fair-skinned people -- stubbornly refuses to tan due to a genetic defect. Using a skin treatment, they have turned pale skin dark, while also protecting it from ultraviolet-induced skin skin cancer.

"Darkening a person's skin may mimic the protective benefit seen in people who otherwise make a large amount of pigment," says researcher David E. Fisher, MD, PhD, director of the Melanoma Program at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. And that could translate into a reduction in the toll of the potentially deadly skin cancer melanoma, expected to be diagnosed this year in 62,000 people in the U.S. and to result in 8,000 deaths, according to American Cancer Society projections.

The study appears in the Sept. 21 edition of the journal Nature. Fisher cautions that the study was done only in animals. Using a topical cream instead of the sun's rays, Fisher's team was able to switch on the tanning mechanism in the skin cells of fair-skinned mice, turning them into olive-skinned animals. "This has not been demonstrated in people and there is a lot that needs to be proven before it's ready for even a first attempt in clinical subjects," Fisher says.

Even so, the study was called intriguing by Meenhard Herlyn, DVM, PhD, a tumor biologist at The Wistar Institute, a research center on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. "What he clearly has shown is ... you can induce a pigmentation, tanning, and the purpose is that people who are very susceptible to skin cancer, including melanoma, can be protected."

By Kathleen Doheny, WebMD, September 20, 2006

Sep
08
2006

Eczema Rates Stabilizing in U.K.

Rates of eczema and hay fever in the United Kingdom appear to have stabilized, after charting a steady rise over recent decades.

However, the study also found that rates of systemic allergic reactions -- including the severe condition known as anaphylaxis -- have surged in the past 20 years.

The researchers analyzed data gathered from numerous sources: national surveys, primary care doctors, prescription and hospital admission records, and death records.

Over the past three decades, diagnoses of allergic rhinitis and eczema in children have tripled, but there appears to have been a recent decrease in the prevalence of symptoms. Hospital admissions for eczema have stabilized since 1995, the researchers found, while admissions for allergic rhinitis have decreased to about 40 percent of their 1990 levels.

Between 1971 and 1991, the number of consultations with family doctors about hay fever increased by 260 percent and by 150 percent for eczema. However, these rates have stabilized in the past 10 years, the study said.

Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have soared by 700 percent, for food allergy by 500 percent, and for the skin allergy urticaria by 100 percent.

Prescriptions for all types of allergies have increased since 1991.

The researchers said that some of the trends could be related to changes in medical practice and care but could also be explained by changes in the sources of allergic disease.

The study was published in the current issue of Thorax.

HealthDay News, September 7, 2006

Sep
05
2006

FDA Seeks Ban on OTC Skin Bleaching Products

The FDA is seeking to ban over-the-counter sales of skin bleaching drug products.

The FDA cites the possible risk of cancer and skin discoloration from hydroquinone typically found in these products.

However, those cancer studies were done on rats, not people.

"The actual risk to humans from use of hydroquinone has yet to be fully determined," the FDA states in its proposal, published in the U.S. government's Federal Register.

The type of skin discoloration noted by the FDA is called exogenous ochronosis, a darkening of the skin. The FDA cites research linking the condition to hydroquinone use.

The FDA isn't proposing a ban on prescription skin bleaching drug products. But all such products would need to submit a new drug application for the FDA's review.

Not all skin lighteners contain hydroquinone. The FDA knows of 200 products containing hydroquinone in strengths from 0.4% to 5%, about two-thirds of which "appear to be marketed as OTC [over-the-counter] drugs," says the FDA.

The FDA is taking comments on its proposal until Dec. 27.

Expert's Views

WebMD spoke with dermatologist Susan Taylor, MD, of Society Hill Dermatology in Philadelphia, and the Skin of Color Center in New York about the FDA's proposal.

"I feel that hydroquinones are safe and effective treatment for pigmentary disorders," Taylor says. "I feel comfortable recommending that my patients continue to use hydroquinones if they have a pigmentary disorder."

"I think the evidence is quite weak with the link between hydroquinones and cancer," Taylor tells WebMD.

"Data on rats and mice cannot necessarily be extrapolated to human data," she says.

"In Africa, people have used hyrdoquinones for long periods of time ... meaning years, 10, 20, 30, years ... and at high concentrations," Taylor says. "We've not seen a proliferation of various types of cancers reported from that population.

Exogenous ochronosis is rare in the U.S., Taylor notes.

"If you look at the case reports, it's probably less than 200," Taylor says. "So it's really not a significant problem here in the United States."

Millions of Users

Taylor points out that "many patients have disorders that are truly disfiguring and devastating. And these conditions can be improved significantly with hydroquinone products."

"It's important therapy and it's used by millions and millions of people," Taylor says.

She says hydroquinone products are primarily used to lighten dark areas of the skin due to conditions including injury, rashes, acne, and sun damage.

"So there are real problems and this is a real solution," Taylor says. She adds that filing new drug applications can cost millions of dollars.

"My concern is that we could lose prescription products that we have," Taylor says. "That would have major consequences, I think."

"It's safe, effective; it's the gold standard, and I think our patients would benefit from continued use for these problems. I think those three points sum it up for me," Taylor says.

SOURCES: U.S. Government Printing Office, Federal Register, Aug. 29, 2006; vol 71: pp 51146-51155. Susan Taylor, MD, Society Hill Dermatology, Philadelphia, Skin of Color Center, New York.

By Miranda Hitti, WebMD, August 30, 2006

Aug
30
2006

Combating Cultural Stress

By Howard Murad, MD

Find out how spa professionals can combat cultural stress in today's society.

Aug
30
2006

The Latest Advances in Nonsurgical Facial Restoration

By Nicholas Daniello, MD

Estheticians must familiarize themselves with the most recent nonsurgical techniques in order to better advise and retain clients.

Aug
30
2006

Improper Use of Sunscreens Can Harm Skin

Unless it's continuously reapplied, sunscreen can actually attack the skin and leave it vulnerable to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, concludes a University of California, Riverside study.

The researchers found that, over time, molecules in sunscreen that block UV radiation can penetrate into the skin and leave the outer layer susceptible to UV, CBC News reported.

The study appears in an upcoming issue of the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine.

"Sunscreens do an excellent job protecting against sunburn when used correctly," Kerry Hanson, a research scientist in the university's department of chemistry, said in a prepared statement.

"This means using a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor and applying it uniformly on the skin. Our data show, however, that if coverage at the skin surface is low, the UV filters in sunscreens that have penetrated into the epidermis can potentially do more harm than good," he said.

HealthNews Day, 8/29/06

Aug
24
2006

Botox Reduces Facial Scarring

Botox injections can help facial wounds heal with less scarring, a small study finds.

"This is the first medication found to minimize scarring," senior author Dr. David Sherris, professor and chair of the department of otolaryngology at the University at Buffalo, said in a prepared statement.

His team published the study in the August issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The study included 31 patients who suffered wounds to the forehead or had surgery to remove skin cancers from the forehead, an area that's particularly susceptible to scarring. The patients received either an injection of Botox or saline within 24 hours after wound closure.

Photographs were taken at the time the patients received the injections and again six months later. The photographs were reviewed by two facial plastic surgeons who weren't involved in the study. They rated the patients' wound healing on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 representing the best result. The two surgeons' scores were averaged to reach a final score for each patient.

The median scores for wounds injected with Botox were 8.9, compared to 7.1 for wounds injected with saline.

"The result is of substantial interest in the field of scar treatment. When a wound occurs, especially on the face, people are always worried about the scar. We can now try to improve scars with these injections," Sherris said.

The study was funded by a clinical research grant from the Mayo Clinic.

HealthDay News, August 24, 2006

Aug
02
2006

Rancho La Puerta Building Spa Cooking School

Rancho La Puerta breaks ground on a 4,500-square-foot spa cooking school. La Cocina Que Canta, Spanish for “The Kitchen That Sings,” will feature a large hands-on kitchen classroom, cookbook library and culinary gift shop. The school is scheduled to open in spring of 2007. 800-443-7565

Jul
26
2006

The Botox-like Facial

By Kellie K. Speed