Research: A Tsp. of Aloe Daily Reverses Signs of Skin Aging

There is plenty of research that indicates that the unnaturally accelerated aging process associated with modern living and/or natural environmental exposures such as excessive ultraviolet radiation (photo-aging) can be slowed. In fact, over 150 natural substances have been indexed on aging in the project with demonstrable “anti-aging,” Continue reading

Zebra Fish Model Of Human Melanoma Reveals New Cancer Gene

Looking at the dark stripes on the tiny zebra fish you might not expect that they hold a potentially important clue for discovering a treatment for the deadly skin disease melanoma. Yet melanocytes, the same cells that are responsible for the pigmentation of zebra fish stripes and for human skin color, are also where melanoma originates. Craig Ceol, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and collaborators at several institutions, used zebra fish to identify a new gene responsible for promoting melanoma. In a paper featured on the cover of the March 24 issue of Nature, Dr. Ceol and colleagues describe the melanoma-promoting gene SETDB1. Continue reading

Evaluating the Claims on Vitamins for Skin Care

Companies often claim that their products can give you miraculous results, but don’t believe all the hype. Although nutritional supplements and cosmeceuticals (products that combine cosmetics and pharmaceutical ingredients) are tested for safety, their benefits aren’t necessarily confirmed in studies.

Even though a product may claim to contain useful antioxidants such as vitamin C or E, it’s often difficult to know exactly how much of these vitamins and antioxidants are in the bottle. Vitamins and antioxidants need to be in strong enough concentrations, and in the correct forms, to remain stable and to be effective. If you are thinking about using a vitamin or antioxidant for your skin, it’s best to ask your dermatologist for advice before buying it.

Lifestyle Solutions for Beauty and Skin Care

Don’t forget: Practicing healthy lifestyle habits is the most important step you can take to protect youthful skin.

“Staying out of the sun and wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen have been shown to reduce photo-aging and to have anticancer effects,” says Robin Ashinoff, MD, director of cosmetic dermatology and Mohs surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

Choose a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of at least 25 (30 or more in the summer), and one that protects against both ultraviolet A and B rays. Reapply the sunscreen at least every 90 minutes. Stay in the shade or indoors when the sun is at its strongest (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), and avoid tanning beds. When you do go outside, wear sun-protective clothing and a hat with a wide brim all the way around. As part of your skin care regimen, use only moisturizers with an SPF of 15 or more to keep your skin hydrated and protected.

Diet is another potent way of practicing good skin care. Skin nutrition includes a diet low in saturated fat and rich in fruits and vegetables, which not only will help keep you healthier on the inside, but also may protect your skin from cancer. Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, help produce the skin’s natural oil barrier, critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. Load up on foods high in omega-3s and vitamins and antioxidants for the skin, including:

  • Selenium — Brazil nuts, turkey, cod
  • Vitamin B-2 — Milk, enriched grain products, eggs
  • Vitamin B-6 — Chicken, fish, nuts
  • Vitamin B-12 — Clams, liver, trout, fortified cereals
  • Vitamin C — Citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli
  • Vitamin E — Sunflower oil, whole grains, nuts
  • Omega-3s – Salmon and other cold-water fish, ground flaxseeds, walnuts

Get the vitamin D you need to protect your bones from dairy foods and supplements, rather than from spending hours sun worshipping. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is 200 international units (IU) daily for adults 19 to 50 years, 400 IU/day for adults 51 to 70, and 600 IU/day after age 70. Although these are the current RDA levels, most research data show higher doses (1,000 to 2,000 IU/day) are safe and beneficial.

Finally, ditch the cigarettes. Smoking not only leads to wrinkles on your face, but research in the Archives of Dermatology finds that it also can lead to skin damage in areas (such as under the arm) that haven’t even been exposed to the sun.

Sticking Plaster that Zaps Skin Cancer

LONDON – A revolutionary light-emitting sticking plaster can help zap skin cancers.

The device, called the Ambulight, is a form of photodynamic therapy (PDT) – an alternative to surgery for many forms of skin cancer – using laser, combined with a light-sensitive drug to destroy cancer cells.

PDT treatment avoids the scarring associated with surgical removal of the tumor and the need for a hospital stay. It consists of a disc-shaped pod about an inch across that house medical-grade red LED lights. The light source is attached to a controller the size of a mobile phone, the Daily Mail reports.

Photosensitizing cream is rubbed on to the skin, and the pod is attached to the skin with a plaster.

The cream takes three hours to penetrate the skin, and then the pod turns on. Three hours later the light switches off and the device can be disposed of. Patients can move freely during treatment.

Ambulight’s developer James Ferguson, professor of dermatology at Britain’s Dundee University, hopes the treatment will eventually be offered at surgeries.

“Trials have shown it to be up to 90 percent as effective as hospital treatment and it’s a lot gentler,” he says.

The Ambulight plaster has just received a European license and is now being rolled out to hospitals in Britain.

American Academy of Dermatology Issues Updated Position Statement on Vitamin D

The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) has updated its position statement on vitamin D based on the results of a review of the increasing body of scientific literature on this vitamin and its importance for optimal health recently conducted by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM).

The Academy continues to recommend that the public obtain vitamin D from a healthy diet that includes food naturally rich in vitamin D, foods and beverages fortified with vitamin D, and/or dietary supplements. The Academy reaffirmed its position that vitamin D should not be obtained from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices, as UV radiation is a known risk factor for the development of skin cancer.

The IOM reviewed the scientific literature examining the possible relationship between vitamin D and certain types of cancers, neurologic disease, infectious disease, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease. Based on review of more than 1,000 studies and expert and stakeholder testimony, the IOM concluded that while the evidence for associating vitamin D levels with bone health was strong, the evidence for other conditions was inconsistent, inconclusive and insufficient to inform nutritional requirements.

The Academy’s position statement reflects the IOM’s findings, including the vitamin D blood level deemed adequate and safe for the human body (20 ng/ml), and the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for calcium and vitamin D intake to support skeletal health. The Academy noted that the RDAs for vitamin D reflect an assumption of minimal sun exposure.

The Academy’s updated position statement also asserts that there is no scientifically proven, safe threshold of sun or indoor tanning device exposure that allows for maximum vitamin D synthesis in the skin without increasing the risk of skin cancer.

“The IOM’s review of the scientific evidence about vitamin D supports the Academy’s long-standing recommendation on safe ways to get this important vitamin – through a healthy diet which incorporates foods naturally rich in vitamin D, vitamin D-fortified foods and beverages, and vitamin D supplements,” stated dermatologist William D. James, MD, FAAD, president of the American Academy of Dermatology. “Unprotected exposure to UV radiation from the sun or indoor tanning is not safe. Individuals who intentionally expose themselves to UV radiation for vitamin D are putting their health at risk for developing skin cancer.”

The Academy encourages those with concerns about their levels of vitamin D to discuss options for obtaining sufficient dietary or supplementary sources of vitamin D with their physician.

The Academy continues to recommend that individuals protect themselves from UV exposure when outdoors, such as seeking shade whenever possible, wearing sunscreen and covering up with a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeves, pants and sunglasses. Also, the Academy urges the public to avoid tanning beds.