When most people think of being wrinkle-free, their main concern is aesthetics. However, new research show that more wrinkles can be an indication of poor bone density. The study, part of the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study, measured the amount and depth of wrinkles in certain areas of the body, and compared them with the bone density of the patients studied. The result was a noticeable association between fewer wrinkles and healthier bones. A lower bone density puts individuals at a higher risk for fractures and osteoporosis. The researchers did not identify the cause of the relationship between wrinkles and bone density, though they suspect it has to do with levels of collagen proteins in the body. While the utility of the results is disputed, perhaps the results of the study will encourage more patients to get their bone densities checked.
Recently released data shows that a slow economy isn’t dragging down cosmetic procedures anymore, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, or ASAPS. In 2010, cosmetic surgeries jumped by 9% compared to 2009, with about 9.5 million procedures overall for the year. And the momentum shows no signs of stopping—in fact, since 1997, surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures combined have witnessed a 155% increase.
ASAPS’s report, which is released yearly, consisted of statistics regarding plastic surgery, dermatology, and ENT medicine. The most popular non-surgical procedures included Botox® (over 2.5 million procedures), cosmetic fillers, and laser hair removal.
Here are some other interesting statistics from the ASAPS report:
- Abdominoplasty, or “tummy tucks,” have increased in popularity by 300% since 1997.
- Adults ages 35-50 were the most likely to have undergone a cosmetic procedure.
- Men’s cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular; in 2010, men accounted for 8% of cosmetic procedures.
Perhaps the growth in cosmetic procedures is related to the results of a recent survey, which revealed that more than half of Americans approve of plastic surgery for cosmetic ends. About 70% of the individuals surveyed reported that they would not be embarrassed about having a procedure for cosmetic reasons.
Photo Credit: Vanz
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, but sometimes it’s the least protected. Those painful sunburns from long summer days at the beach are uncomfortable, wrinkle-causing, and dangerous, but attaining good sunscreen habits can also feel like a chore. Even a quick glance at the sunscreen section of the grocery store can be exhausting: Waterproof or “sport” sunscreen? How much SPF do I need? What is SPF, anyway? Further, SPF has nothing to do with UVA protection. SPF gives information about protection from UVB rays. However, UVA rays are just as bad if not worse. UVA rays cause skin cancer and skin aging.
Luckily, the Food and Drug Administration recently revealed a new set of rules for sunscreen manufacturers to go into effect in 2012. The guidelines are intended mainly to protect sunscreen customers, banning the advertisement of “sunblock,” “waterproof” sunscreen, or sunscreen with SPF 50+. For the first time, the FDA will have an industry-wide test procedure to measure a product’s UVA protection relative to its UVB protection. Products that pass the FDA test may be labeled as Broad Spectrum and their SPF value indicates the amount of overall protection.The new regulations will also ban sunscreen manufacturers from advertising with the phrase “broad spectrum” unless the product protects against UVB and UVA rays. Furthermore, sunscreen bottles will clearly display how long the sunscreen works (either 40 or 80 minutes), encouraging users to re-apply often.
If you’re having trouble choosing a sunscreen that works for you, try following these guidelines:
- Don’t pay extra for SPF above 50. The FDA has reported that SPF above 50 provides negligible benefits. Reapplying regularly is more important than a sky-high SPF.
- SPF 30 will protect you from most harmful UV rays.
- Broad-spectrum sunscreen is important to protect you against UVA and UVB rays, both of which are cancer-causing.
- Regardless if your sunscreen is waterproof, water-resistant, or “sport” sunscreen, you need to reapply at least once every two hours, and more if you’re swimming or sweating profusely.
Sclerotherapy, or the injection of a sclerosant into a vein in order to close it and make it dissolve, is an effective way to treat spider and varicose veins. However, not all sclerosants are created equal.
There are two excellent FDA-approved sclerosants, Sotradecol and Asclera. However, you should be aware that many physicians purchase compounded versions of these sclerosants. These compounded medications have not been subjected to FDA testing to determine safety and effectiveness, and the compounding pharmacies are not regulated by the FDA. Furthermore, studies have shown that these compounded sclerosants may be either stronger or weaker than labeled. The variability in potency could cause health issues for patients who end up receiving either much less of the drug or much more than indicated.
While there can be legitimate reasons to have a special medication compounded, in this case it is likely the main reason these compounded versions are used rather than an FDA-approved version is because they are much cheaper.
When considering sclerotherapy for spider or varicose veins, it’s important for both you and your phlebologist (vein physician) to be knowledgeable about what sclerosant is being used. Be sure to ask your physician if they are using FDA-approved sclerosants such as Sotradecol or Asclera rather than compounded agents.