Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Topical Cream Claims to Increase Elastin, Reduce Wrinkles

For years, scientists have been researching methods to restore the skin’s elasticity, in hopes to reduce and prevent wrinkles in any skin type. Elastin, a protein in connective tissue that permits tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting with regular movement, begins to diminish by the age of 12 or 13 when the body decreases production. As a result, the elastin fibers begin to deteriorate. This leads, over time, to the typical signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.

On Monday, Revance Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical research company based in California, released a new product called Relastin™, the first product to clinically demonstrate an increase of elastin in the skin. It is said to restore a youthful complexion by penetrating the skin and working with the skin’s cells to promote new elastin growth.

A press release by Revance Therapeutics claims that clinical studies with Relastin resulted in a visible difference in 84% of studied subjects following four weeks of testing. The new topical treatment has been shown to hydrate, tighten and smooth the skin in a manner similar to cosmetic injectables and other more invasive treatments.Relastin™ is released as Eye Silk for the under-eye area and Skin Revitalizer for all-over facial use.

Niqeuette Hunt, vice president of cosmetic and OTC products for Revance Therapeutics, is excited about the product’s release. "Relastin™ works from the inside out to foster the restoration of elastin and create a healthier, more youthful appearance,” she says. “Many products have claimed to be ‘cosmetic breakthroughs,’ but Relastin’s™ clinical studies prove remarkable effectiveness.”

According to Revance Therapeutics, clinical data shows that skin treated with the patent-pending Zinc Firming Complex™ found exclusively in Relastin™ contained more elastin than untreated skin. Following two weeks of testing, users of the product noted visible differences and experienced a decrease in dark circles, a reduction in eye puffiness and minimized fine lines and wrinkles.

If Relastin™ lives up to the claims of the clinical trials, other heavy-hitters in the cosmetic industry may have a run for their money. A topical cream that boosts elastin production would have a more permanent effect than current popular treatments for wrinkles. Rather than freezing the muscles with Botox® Cosmetic, or plumping the wrinkles with dermal fillers, Relastin™ is said to address the issue at its root. While this could be the next fountain of youth, it is important to hold out on further studies and trials to prove the product’s capabilities.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Survey Shows Growing Desire for Plastic Surgery in U.S.

According to a survey done on, consumer interest in plastic surgery is increasing despite the recession. The survey, which was developed by Harris Interactive®, interviewed 2,148 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. While the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported earlier this year that the 2009 numbers were down, the American desire to be more attractive has renewed. Harris Interactive® surveyed 2,148 adults online and 69 percent said they would choose to have cosmetic work done if money wasn't an issue. This is a 15 point ( 54%) jump from November 2009, when the survey was taken.

Of those surveyed who would get cosmetic work done, 29 percent would choose a tummy tuck, 23 percent would select liposuction, and 13 percent would opt for a face lift. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the top five surgical procedures in 2009 were: liposuction, breast augmentation, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, and abdominoplasty. The data from both sources suggests that the desire for plastic surgery procedures is based on people preferring more sizable changes over minor nips and tucks.

The survey also reported that the three most popular cosmetic treatments desired by women are the same procedures often associated with the “Mommy Makeover”. Forty-six percent of women aged 35-44 would have an abdominoplasty if money weren't an issue. Of women aged 18-34, 34 percent would undergo a tummy tuck. Another 34% of women aged 35-44 would undergo a breast lift, and 28 percent would choose liposuction. With cosmetic surgery among men growing in popularity, 29 percent of men surveyed would undergo liposuction. The survey also recorded the cosmetic procedures people planned to undergo within the next 12 months in order to gauge future trends in plastic surgery. Of the people surveyed, 23% plan a hair removal procedure, 11% seek dermal fillers, while only 3 percent noted they will have Botox® injections in the coming year. As far as surgical cosmetic procedures, here is the top 5 lineup: blepharoplasty (27%), hair replacement (18%), face lift (13%), abdominoplasty (12%), and breast lift (12%).

It is interesting to see if this survey, taken from a small sample of subjects, will accurately predict the upcoming trends in cosmetic surgery. Will laser hair removal throw Botox® off its throne? Will breast augmentation be ousted by the tummy tuck? We will have to wait and see!

*Chart and data courtesy of

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Changes in the Corporate Aesthetic World

There have been big changes in the aesthetic corporate world recently. With heavy hitters from Mentor, Medicis, and Allergan all resigning within the past week, we are left to wonder what is next for aesthetic medicine.

Josh Levine, former Mentor CEO, resigned last week. Levine joined Mentor in 1996 as Vice President of Domestic Aesthetic Sales. In January 2000, Levine resigned from the company briefly to join a start-up practice management organization, the Plastic Surgery Co., where he was the Chief Development Officer. His time with the Plastic Surgery Co was short-lived, as he resigned the position in September 2000 to rejoin Mentor as Vice President of sales and marketing. Levine served in roles of increasing responsibility and was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Mentor in 2003. Mr. Levine was instrumental in the sale of Mentor last year to Johnson & Johnson.

Following the January 2009 acquisition of Mentor by Johnson & Johnson, Levine had commented that the deal "allows Mentor to expand our product portfolio and significantly grow our global reach." It appears that Levine may now be dissatisfied with the new directions of Mentor, considering his resignation comes at the end of the mandatory wait period following the acquisition. Although there are no reports as to new employment, we are sure he will be inundated with offers as Mr. Levine is one of the most experienced and capable in the aesthetic industry.

Robert Grant, the former Allergan Vice President, resigned last week to take over the presidency of Bausch and Lomb Surgical Division, an Aliso Viejo-based eye surgery business. Grant has spent almost a lifetime in the aesthetics business and is quite possibly moving to maybe a safer, but surely not as exciting, endeavor. Under Grant’s leadership since 2006, Allergan Medical amassed an all-star product lineup that includes Botox Cosmetic ®, JuvĂ©derm ®, the Lap-Band ® surgical weight loss device and Latisse ®.

Perhaps Grant made his decision to join the B & L team based on his experience as an independent board director at Acufocus, Inc., a Carlyle Group and Versant Ventures-backed clinical stage ophthalmic device company. This appears to be a lateral move for Grant, however, he has not been assigned a seat on the Board of Directors of B & L. Is his move indicative of something internally up at our leading aesthetics company Allergan, or Grant's vision of an increasingly regulated, and maybe less attractive, industry to come? Stay tuned here!

Finally, Joe Cooper, the former VP of Corporate and Product Development at Medicis, has also resigned. Similar to Levine, Cooper had been with Medicis since 1996. Cooper has served as Executive Vice President, Corporate and Product Development since July 2006. Prior to joining the Medicis executive team, he held management positions with Schein Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and G.D. Searle

According to BusinessWeek, Cooper "has decided to pursue career opportunities outside of Medicis." This is not the first time Cooper left Medicis for greener pastures. Earlier in the decade he went off to run a start up. Cooper returned to lead the way in his business development role with important strategic investments in Revance ®, Dysport ® and Liposonix ® for Medicis.

There are certainly big shoes to fill in the aesthetic industry and hopefully Allergan, Mentor, and Medicis won’t fall behind with the alterations to their corporate lineups.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Cellulite

Cellulite is no one’s friend. While most people are familiar with its appearance, not everyone is aware of how cellulite is caused or treated. Cellulite, or the dimpled appearance of the skin found on the hips, thighs, and buttocks, is found on 80% of women. Cellulite is a lot less common in males due to differences in the way fat, muscle and connective tissues are dispersed in men and women's skin.

What causes cellulite?

Cellulite is caused by fibrous connective cords that unite the skin to the underlying muscle. The cords secure the skin to deeper structures with the fat lying in between. As the fat cells build up, they push up against the skin, while the long, tough cords are pulling down. This creates the dimpling of the skin

Does everyone have the same cellulite?

Mild cases of cellulite can only be seen when the skin is pinched, while more severe cases create the appearance of rumpled and bumpy skin with areas of peaks and valleys. Cellulite is most common around the thighs and buttocks, however, it can also be found on the breasts, lower abdomen and upper arms.

Does weight gain cause cellulite?

While weight gain is not a direct cause of cellulite, however, heavier persons may have more pronounced dimpling. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, thinner people are susceptible to cellulite as well.

How do I get rid of my cellulite?

There is no proven ‘cure’ for cellulite, however, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can reduce it’s appearance:

  • Maintain a normal weight…heavier persons can have a more pronounced cellulite
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce your intake of high-fat foods, salt, alcohol, coffee and highly processed foods
  • Eat plenty of fiber
  • Drink an adequate amount of water daily to cleanse your body of toxins
  • Exercise regularly

For Boca Raton residents that are still not satisfied with the appearance of their cellulite, there are numerous cosmetic treatments available. At Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center, we hava a number of sevices that we use to diminish cellulite including the Alma Accent Device, Elemes Smoothshapes and Synerons Velashape 2. These devices use radiofrequency and /or light energy to treat loose skin and cellulite with minimal pain and downtime. For optimal results, 6 to 8 treatments are usually performed at 2-4 week intervals.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tanning Beds: Another Deadly Addiction

A recent study by two New York researchers has concluded that indoor tanning bed usage may be just as addictive as using tobacco or drugs. Study authors Catherine E. Mosher, PhD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Sharon Danoff-Burg, PhD, of the University at Albany interviewed 421 students from a large Northeastern university about their indoor tanning habits.

The students studied were given a questionnaire normally used to pinpoint drug and alcohol addiction. The questionnaire was altered to accurately reflect the students’ relationships with indoor tanning. Of the 421 students, 229 had tanned in indoor salons. Of these, 160 met the researcher’s criteria for indoor tanning addiction.

According to the research, approximately two out of every five students were considered tanning addicts based on the questionnaire that measured their levels of depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Furthermore, the research claimed that students addicted to tanning were also more likely to have high anxiety and abuse other addictive substances.

"In addition to appearance enhancement, motivations [for tanning] include relaxation, improved mood, and socialization," the study concluded.

While critics have questioned the study’s definition of addiction, it is not hard to believe that people can be addicted to something that is potentially deadly. We’ve all heard of junk food or heroine addicts, however, when was the last time vegetable addiction was an issue?

As studies are continually released proving the harmful effects of tanning beds, it is important for consumers to examine alternate options to obtaining that summer glow. While taking adequate measures to prevent harmful exposure to UVA/B rays is essential, it is also important to have regular check ups with a dermatologist to catch early signs of skin cancer. For patients in the Boca Raton area, it is also important to understand the harmful side effects of the hot Florida sun and the heightened risks of skin cancer.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pentagon Study to Regrow Soldiers' Limbs

The first phase of the Pentagon’s plans to regrow soldiers’ limbs has been completed—to an extent. Scientists have been able to create undifferentiated cells from human skin.

The goal of Phase Two is to turn those undifferentiated cells into muscle tissue. Muscle tissue was chosen because it’s the type of tissue that’s routinely regenerated; ie, working out in the gym causes muscle tissue to develop, as any dedicated body builder knows. Laying about, such as in the case of invalids, causes the muscles to become weak. In the body, if muscle tissue is traumatized past a certain point, and is destroyed, a scar results. Scientists are hoping that by creating muscle tissue outside the body, they can avoid this scarring process.

To convert the undifferentiated cells into muscle cells, the cells must have myosin and actin—two proteins key to forming cellular cytoskeleton which will eventually build muscle filaments. Once this is accomplished, the cells will be placed into a matrix of tiny biomaterial threads. A this point the scientists aren’t certain whether collagens or fibrinogens will be part of the thread. This is one of the many mysteries in the process that will, ultimately, be solved.

Cellthera Inc. and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) just got a one-year, $570,000 grant from Darpa, the Pentagon’s research division, to grow the new tissues. "The goal is to genuinely replace a muscle that’s lost," stated biotechnology professor Raymond Page. "I appreciate that’s a very aggressive goal." And it’s only one part in a more ambitious Darpa program, Restorative Injury Repair, that aims to "fully restore the function of complex tissue (muscle, nerves, skin, etc.) after traumatic injury on the battlefield."

As in many cases of medical and scientific advances, what starts on the battlefield may, ultimately, end up in the operating suite of an aesthetic plastic surgeon. Facial surgery got its modern-day start by Vilray Blair, the first chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University who treated wounded WWI soldiers with facial injuries, setting the standards for craniofacial reconstructive procedures, many of which were later affirmed in face lifting procedures.

Based on that history, one wouldn’t be surprised that, once the Pentagon is able to recreate limbs lost in war, we might be able to recreate breasts lost to cancer and, ultimately, replace aging parts of our faces as well.