I am so grateful that the American Academy of Dermatology allows me to attend their summer academic meeting in New York. Over the past five years I have seen research move from theoretical concepts to accepted facts. This year I learned about new treatments based on this new clinical and lab research. For a science geek like me, its just doesn’t get better than that. All the sessions were packed with information, but developments in these areas affect all of us.
Stress and the Skin
Based on what we see in the mirror, women know first hand that stress affects the skin. In an early morning presentation, I heard about a fascinating study that gave real data to support our observations. In a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, psoriasis patients who suffered nerve damage noticed a decline in skin problems in areas where the nerves had been injured. In other words, the nervous system in those areas can no longer react to stressful situations. Nerve damage is obviously not a desirable goal. However preliminary studies were shown that well-placed Botox injections interfere with nerve transmission and can have the same benefit for psoriasis.
What’s New With Acne and Rosacea
There were no big world shaking breakthroughs in acne and rosacea, but new understanding of how existing treatments work has allowed doctors to personalize care. For example, antibiotics are an age old treatment, and it was thought believed that they reduced break-outs by killing acne linked bacteria in the skin. Now studies indicte that its the anti-inflammatory activity of antibiotics that helps clear up acne. Why is this good news? It allows doctors to use lower doses to et the same benefits.
I had always thought of rosacea as a skin problem, but in fact it r eflects an increased level of inflammation throughout the entire body. I was surprised to learn that people with rosacea have an increased incidence of high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease and even digestive reflux. However rosacea patients who took tetracycline had reduced levels of heart ttacks, possibly due to the anti-inflammatory effects of antibiotics.
Antibiotics and the Skin
And in case you feelguilty about using antibiotics, learned that 81% of antibiotics are used in livestock feed. Of the 19% used for human health, just 4% are prescribed by dermatologists. Something to think about.
Woman’s Health and the Skin
My favorite session of the AAD summer meteting was a workshop on the impact of woman’s health on our skin. While it is well known that the skin becomes drier after menopause, that really didn;’t explain the sudden aging that women experience at this time. Dr DIane Madfes of Mount Sinai pointed out that the decline in estrogen of menopause also triggers as much as a 30% decliine in collagen. And of course less collagen = more wrinkles. This connection would certainly go a long way to explain why I seemed to look five years older in five months during menopause.