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Entries in Acne (6)

Tuesday
Sep252012

Virus Could Be New Weapon Against Zits

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It might be possible some day to apply a cream that contains a virus that kills acne-causing bacteria to ward off zits, a new study suggests.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal mBio, analyzed the genomes of viruses that attack the skin bacteria linked to acne problems from 11 volunteers.

Using over-the-counter pore cleaning strips, the researchers peeled off samples of phages -- viruses that attack bacteria -- from the noses of pimply and unblemished individuals.

The researchers were astounded to find that these viruses were remarkably similar genetically from patient to patient, said corresponding author Graham Hatfull, professor of biotechnology and biological sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  The fact that there was so little difference between these viruses from nose to nose suggests that their bacterial prey -- in this case, the bacteria that lead to acne -- are ill-equipped to defend themselves.

These findings "indicate the possibility of using these phages as a targeted approach to acne treatment," the study authors wrote.

Acne is the most common skin problem across the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology's website.  Acne affects 40 to 50 million Americans at any given time, and can lead to disfigurement and problems with self-esteem.

The increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of the skin bacteria linked to acne highlights the need for new and better acne treatments, the study authors wrote.

Dr. Doris Day, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center and author of 100 Questions and Answers About Acne, explained how the common skin bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes -- P. acnes for short -- helps pimples develop.

"You have a follicle, which is a pore," said Day, who was not involved with the study.  "For [some] reason, the skin cells that line it don't slough off as they're supposed to.  Once the opening gets blocked, then the oil and skin cells behind it start to build up. That's your whitehead."

Day explained that when the opening to the pore is clogged, there is little to no oxygen -- the perfect environment for bacteria like P. acnes to thrive.

"Everything it likes to eat is right there," she said.

The hope, Day said, is that dermatologists will be able to tailor treatments to attack and destroy P. acnes in a way that is currently not possible -- a viral smart bomb, if you will, against acne germs.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar162012

Adult Acne on Rise as Women Age and Hormones Kick In

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- As the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) convenes for its annual meeting in San Diego on Friday, doctors say adult-onset acne is on the rise in women over the age of 25, as well as those well into their 40s and 50s.

One self-reported survey from the University of Alabama, published in 2008, found that acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and more than 25 percent between the ages of 40-49.

Another clinical survey from Massachusetts General Hospital, published in 2011, revealed that 45 percent of women between the ages of 20-29 and 12 percent of women between the ages of ages 41-50 had acne.

"That's still significant," said Dr. Bethanee Jean Schlosser, who will deliver a paper on the role of hormones in adult-onset acne Friday at the AAD meeting.

Women are also disproportionately affected, compared with men, according to Schlosser, who is the assistant professor of dermatology at Northwestern University's Feinstein School of Medicine.

The reasons for the numbers of adult cases are unclear and probably multi-factoral, according to Schlosser.  But one significant factor is the role hormones play, she said.  As women age, their levels of androgens [the male hormone that is present in both men and women] rise.

These hormones can influence excess sebum or oil gland production as well as increase the rate at which skin cells shed, which can clog hair follicles.

Women with adult acne should be tested for androgen levels, according to Schlosser, particularly if they have excess body hair, deepening voice or irregular or infrequent menstrual periods.

Hormone treatments such as oral contraceptives, which decrease androgen production, as well as the anti-androgen medication spironolactone can be helpful, but patients must be carefully monitored for underlying health problems.

"It's important for patients to understand that there are no quick fixes, and none of the therapies used to treat acne work overnight," said Schlosser.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec062011

Drastic Makeup Transformation Lets Acne-Scarred Teen Become Model

Courtesy of Cassandra Bankson(NEW YORK) -- Every day, Cassandra Bankson wakes up, washes her face and does a makeup routine that dramatically transforms her looks.

The California teen has severe acne.  It’s so bad that it covers most of her face, as well as parts of her neck, chest and back.

But Bankson is now able to model, and her shots are picture-perfect.  How?

Bankson performs a daily makeup makeover, expertly hiding the extensive blemishes that cover her face and neck with a technique that she says she learned after hours of research and practice.  She demonstrates her method in a before-and-after YouTube video that’s had more than two million views.

“It’s been overwhelming,” she said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America about the response online to her video.  “It really is an eye-opener.  I never knew that for men, for women, even for adults, it’s such an epidemic.  Yes, it’s cosmetic, but it goes deeper than that.  I think that’s something that’s a little bit of a misconception.”

At the beginning of the video, Bankson is made up.  Her skin is clear and her cosmetics look natural and fresh.  Then she explains that she’ll remove the makeup to show her face and demonstrate her technique.

When she appears again, her face is covered in red acne spots.

“I am the most self-conscious person about my acne...taking my makeup off is one of the most insecure things that I could probably do, for me,” she says, her voice shaking.

In the moments that follow, Bankson goes through a comprehensive routine that includes the application of foundation, concealer, powders and spray.  When she’s done, her face is transformed.  Her skin appears flawless.

Because of her transformational routine, she’s able to book modeling jobs, and is reaching out to other teens to help them with their own skin troubles.

Bankson, who got her first pimple in the third grade, has a powerful message for other teens who are suffering with acne: “I know exactly where you are, I’ve been in your shoes and there is hope,” she said on GMA.  “Someone else has been there and there is a way for you to feel confident…you just need to kind of search around for what it is that makes you lighten up.”

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov212011

Thanksgiving Food Truths and Myths We Just Can't Shake

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Will your Thanksgiving turkey put you to sleep?  Can the stuffing give you salmonella poisoning?

Here's the straight story on health myths and facts surrounding your Thanksgiving feast:

Turkey Dinner Makes You Sleepy

Turkey does contain a protein called tryptophan which can act like a natural sedative.  But a large amount -- meaning more than just a few slices of turkey -- would have to be consumed alone on an empty stomach to make you feel sleepy.

"A more likely scenario is the huge number of calories that people consume rather than the turkey meat," said Dr. Lou Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

A large number of calories consumed from the whole meal produce intestinal hormones which can make you sleepy, said Aronne.

Canned Foods Contain Cancer Causing BPA

A recent report released by the Breast Cancer fund suggests that canned foods may contain traces of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in the lining of cans, which has been implicated as a potential carcinogen.  Still, many experts said that not all cans contain BPA, and the levels in the cans that do have it are too small to ruin your Thanksgiving meal.

"There are more anti-cancer properties in having vegetables than not eating because of the can," said Aronne.

Drinking More Can Cure that Holiday Hangover

"Most hangover cures are by and large not effective besides sleeping and hydrating with water," said Arrone.

Drinking more will only help you get drunk again, which is only a temporary cure for what's sure to be a stronger hangover, he said.  Worse, drinking alcohol to cure a hangover could lead to more dehydration, which can lead to serious health problems.

Holiday Desserts Can Cause Acne

Acne is due to hormone changes in the body and not by consuming sweet or fried food, experts said.

"The problem is that high-fat finger foods gets greasy and you put those fingers up to your face," said Keith Ayoob, Director of the Nutrition Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  "If you don't wash carefully and often, this may clog pores."

Salmonella from Turkey Stuffing

Stuffing a turkey while raw or not fully cooked can contaminate the stuffing with bacteria like salmonella.  Heat can kill some of the bacteria, but because the stuffing is hidden inside the turkey, some of it may not reach the 160 degrees needed to kill off the bacteria.

"If it does reach that temperature then the bird could be overdone," said Ayoob.

While the salmonella risk can be staved off if the stuffing is warm when added to the turkey, you may end up having another problem on your hands.

"But all the turkey fat drips into the stuffing," said Ayoob.  "Do we really need another source of fat in a Thanksgiving meal side dish?"

Cook the stuffing and turkey separately, marry them later, and the problem will be solved, he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

FTC Quashes Acne-Curing Smartphone Apps

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Smartphone apps can do a lot of things but cure acne?  Come on, there's no app for that!

Unfortunately, thousands of acne sufferers, desperate for any kind of relief, have been suckered into believing that two smartphone apps could provide the answer to their skin woes.

One app promised acne removal through blue and red light treatments.  AcneApp, which sold for $1.99 on iTunes, was supposedly developed by a British dermatologist.  The other app, AcnePwner, sold for 99 cents on Android Marketplace.  The tag line was “Kill ACNE with this simple, yet powerful tool!”

These claims caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, which quickly acted to put a stop to the false propaganda.  

After nearly 15,000 downloads, the FTC got the marketers to "stop making bogus claims." It's the first time the FTC has taken action against a phony health claim by mobile apps.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug302011

More Research Needed for Acne Treatments, Says Study

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NOTTINGHAM, England) -- Most of us have been there -- scrubbing, cleansing, moisturizing and zapping -- desperate to get rid of those pimples that tormented the teenage (and maybe adult) years.  But now a new study published in the Lancet finds that common acne-fighting products lack proper research in documenting their effectiveness.

"The large number of products and product combinations, and the scarcity of comparative studies, has led to disparate guidelines with few recommendations being evidence-based," lead author Hywel Williams from the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology at the U.K.'s University of Nottingham, said in a statement.

Most guidelines for acne care are based on expert opinions, but even those opinions may have conflicts of interest, the study noted.

Researchers said "almost half of recently published acne trials contain serious flaws that could be overcome by better reporting...The absence of trials with active comparators is a significant handicap to shared clinical decision making."

Medications, including retinoids, bezoyl peroxide, topical dapsone, hormonal medications like birth control pills and antibiotics, are the most common treatments for varying degrees of acne.  Experts have discouraged doctors in recent years from prescribing long-term antibiotics for treatment out of fear that patients will develop resistance to the medications.

But, Dr. Kevin Cooper, professor and chair of dermatology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, defended the research of many over-the-counter and prescribed acne-fighting products.

"There are many clinical trials published which demonstrate that the treatment being studied is better than placebo and has reasonable or minimal side effects," said Cooper. "This is necessary to obtain FDA approval of the medication or the medication combination.  In some cases the company may have compared the combination against the individual ingredients alone."

The study's reference to "lack of research," refers to comparative effectiveness research, where two competitive products are tested head-to-head to see if one is better than the other, Cooper noted.

While the best scientific evidence for most kinds of research comes from double-blind, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, Dr. John Messmer, associate professor of family and community medicine at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, noted that those "are hard to do with acne."

Acne is not fully understood, but dermatologists say genetics, gender, hormones, other medications, skin type and sunlight contribute to the condition.  It is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans according to the American Academy of Dermatology, and is usually caused by three common occurrences: the overproduction of oil, blockage of hair follicles that release oil and growth of bacteria within the follicles.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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