I'm a bit later than normal with the piece for the blog this time, because I've been away! Last week I attended the yearly congress of the American Association of Dermatology (AAD) in New Orleans.
Tina Alster, Zoe Draelos and Leslie Baumann!
I always try to be here, because if you have attended this congress you see at first hand all the latest technology and the ins and outs within dermatology. At this time topics such as rare skin fungi and tropical skin diseases are not my thing, but when it comes to cosmetic topics I am in the front row. It is fantastic to hear people like Tina Alster (see photo), Zoe Draelos and Leslie Baumann - who have done such marvellous work in the field of cosmetics- speaking, and being able to ask questions on subjects for which I am unable to find answers.
Help! 20,000 Dermatologists.
The congress is a real eye opener... There are more than 20,000 dermatologists from all over the world buzzing around in this city for a couple of days . I've spoken to people from Dubai, Brazil, Australia and South Africa. A large section of the visitors are specialists in cosmetic dermatology and they are easy to tell apart from the rest. Ladies with taut faces, plumped up lips and high heels and men wearing gold rolex watches on their wrists that must have certainly reached retirement age but through all the surgery they have received it's difficult to see. As I understand it, cosmetic dermatologists earn the most money out of all the doctors here and there are almost none left in the hospitals that deal with "conventional" dermatology. So there are now many people of post retirement age being employed for this work. Phew, I'm glad I live in the Netherlands!
A dubious headset.
If you don't feel like going to a talk, you can walk around the exhibition centre where you can lose yourself in endless new skin rejuvenating devices and skincare products. And everywhere you go you are handed bags of the latest creams. This year I've refused to have any, as last year I was given so much "junk" that I could no longer get my suitcase closed!!!
You come across the strangest things at the exhibition. For example, I was completely shocked to see a set of headphones attached to a helmet. While you are listening to the music from the headphones, an infra red light comes out of the helmet which should help you to regain a full head of hair (according to the salesperson). As you can imagine the bald dermatologists were queuing up to try this out. I think I would ask for a divorce if my other half would sit beside me on the settee with such a helmet on his head. I'd rather he was bald!
Vitamin C, pollution and other interesting research!
At the congress there was also a large room with computers for you to look at still unpublished data from the latest research. Great! So I read that a cream containing 5% vitamin C has a similar effect on acne as vitamin A acid, but is faster acting, that skin ageing due to the sun happens twice as fast because of pollution and that the skin of people with rosacea age more quickly because they have less anti-oxidants in their skin. So smear it in! During the talks about cosmetics it became clear that there are not very many new "wonder ingredients" around, but there is a better understanding of what substances such as vitamin C, green tea and niacinamide do and how they should be used.
And that cosmetic ingredients can improve skin, there is really no discussion about that any more!
(Dr. Jetske Ultee-Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)
You can also read the blogs: 'anti-oxidants in cosmetic products',
'an alternative to a facelift (or not...)',
'addicted to lipbalm' and
Dr. Peter Velthuis on 'the effectiveness of a cream'.