Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Skin Cells Follow Circadian Rhythms

We all have a biological clock. An internal system of circadian rhythms that alert our body of the time of day and whether or not we should be sleeping or awake. Up until now it was believed that only our brain followed the ticking of this clock. However, a recent study revealed that our skin’s stem cells also follow circadian rhythms. 

In the study published by Cell Press in the journal Cell Stem Cell, researchers revealed that human skin stem cells follow a cyclical schedule by carrying out different functions depending on the time of day. 

“Our study shows that human skin stem cells possess an internal clock that allows them to very accurately know the time of day and helps them know when it is best to perform the correct function,” says study author Salvador Aznar Benitah, an ICREA research professor who developed this project at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG, Barcelona). “This is important because it seems that tissues need an accurate internal clock to remain healthy.” 

According to Benitah’s research, the genes that are involved in protecting the skin from certain UV rays are most active during the daytime. In contrast, the genes for repairing damaged skin are most active during the nighttime, or while humans are sleeping. 

By following the body’s circadian rhythms, the skin’s stem cells have found a way to protect and regenerate themselves based on the time of day. When the circadian rhythms are disrupted, skin stem cells age prematurely, causing cellular damage. 

“Our current efforts lie in trying to identify the causes underlying the disruption of the clock of human skin stem cells and hopefully find means to prevent or delay it," said Benitah.

This study shows that although your skin works hard to stay healthy, other measures must be taken to ensure it remains healthy. At Greenville Dermatology, we offer a wide range of products and treatments to help keep your skin feeling young, fresh and healthy. Come see for yourself, or call our office at (864) 242-5872 to schedule a consultation with one of our skin experts. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Did You Know?

Did you know that Dr. Miller is a certified skin expert for Answers.com? With more than 17 years of experience in the dermatology field, Dr. Miller has the answer to all your skincare questions, from how your diet affects acne to treatment options for actinic keratosis.

Read on for a sample question and Dr. Miller’s answer, or click here to view the full article on Answers.com.

Question: How does Botox work?

Answer: Botox and the other neurotoxins, Xeomin and Dysport, have become one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. All three of these products are slightly different forms of the botulinum toxin. What makes them so effective to remove wrinkles?

How Are Wrinkles Formed?

Some wrinkles on the face are formed by repetitive movement of the skin to the point of forming a crease. Similar to folding a piece of paper over and over again, a crease forms in the skin eventually becoming permanently visible. The so-called "11's" of the forehead are formed in this way as are the wrinkles known as the "crow's feet" or "laugh lines". Other wrinkles are formed as a result of a loss of fat under the skin due to aging. These are the so-called "parentheses" and "marionette lines" on the lower face. They are not due to a repetitive movement of the skin.

What Does Botox Do?

Wrinkles caused by the repetitive movement of the skin are the wrinkles that Botox and the other neurotoxins Xeomin and Dysport can improve. When we make facial expressions, our nerves send a chemical signal to the muscles of facial expression telling those muscles to contract, or move. These muscles are attached to the skin and therefore those muscles will move the skin in a characteristic fashion, making a smile, frown or expression of surprise. These muscles have a receptor on them that accepts the signal that the nerves send out. When the signal from the nerve attaches to the muscle receptor, the muscles will contract. That chemical signal degrades within seconds so that the muscle doesn't continue to contract. The Botox, Xeomin and Dysport molecules look like the chemical signal from the nerves that tells the muscles to contract, and attaches to the muscle receptor. However, the neurotoxins do not make the muscle contract. Unlike the chemical signal that does signal the muscle to contract, the neurotoxins take months to degrade instead of seconds. Therefore, Botox, Xeomin and Dysport occupy the receptor on the muscle for several months so that the chemical signal that is still being sent out by the nerves, cannot attach to the muscle receptor telling the muscle to contract. This temporarily paralyses the muscles of facial expression so that the wrinkles called the "11's", or "crows feet" are not formed. After a several weeks of inactivity, any permanent crease or wrinkle formed by movement of the skin will efface since the skin renews itself.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Possible 'Cure' for Melanoma Discovered

Out of the more than 3.5 million individuals in the United States who are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, melanoma accounts for more than 76,000 of those cases. Until now, there has been no cure for the melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, scientists may be on the brink of a medical discovery that could have “spectacular” effects in seriously ill melanoma patients.

In a recent study conducted by Stephen Hodi, MD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, researchers revealed that a drug called ipilimumab may hold the key to developing a cure for melanoma.

Ipilimumab is a drug that stimulates a person’s immune system, allowing the body to fight skin cancer naturally. In his study, Dr. Hodi examined data from 1,861 patients with melanoma who were treated with ipilimumab during 12 prospective and retrospective studies. His results analyzed ipilimumab’s impact on long-term survival rates. 

The overall median survival rate among patients with melanoma was 11.4 months. Twenty-two percent of the patients survived three years after beginning treatment, and there were no deaths among patients who survived beyond seven years. The longest overall survival in the database was 9.9 years, according to Dr. Hodi. On average, only about 15 percent of patients with Stage IV melanoma (the most severe stage) survive five years after diagnosis. However, this percentage increases with less advanced stages of melanoma.

“These results are important to healthcare providers and patients with advanced melanoma since they provide a perspective on long-term survival for ipilimumab patients who are alive after three years of treatment,” said Dr. Hodi. “Our data, which represent the longest follow-up of the largest numbers of patients on any globally approved melanoma therapy, will provide a benchmark for future medicines for advanced melanoma.”

While this study is a step in the right direction, researchers and physicians are still searching for a cure for melanoma. Early detection from regular skin exams is vital for treating this disease, which is 99 percent curable when detected in its earliest stages. Call Greenville Dermatology at (864) 242-5872 to make an appointment with Dr. Miller today.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sleeping in Makeup Ages Your Skin


A recent survey found that almost 50 percent of women sleep with their makeup on at least once a week and nearly a third fails to cleanse their skin before bed twice a week. But one reporter’s experiment showed that her skin had biologically aged 10 years after only one month of sleeping with her makeup on.

After hearing these shocking statistics, The Daily Mail reporter Anna Purgslove decided to find out for herself what sleeping in makeup does to skin. Prior to the experiment, her skin was evaluated by a 3D camera. Purgslove then challenged herself to leave her makeup on not just for a night, but for an entire month. She did not use any cleansing products at night, instead rinsing her face lightly and applying fresh makeup each morning. After three days, she could already visibly see the consequences to her skin.

“I had developed a series of tiny white cysts around my eyelashes, and my skin was so dry and taut it felt like a mask,” said Purgslove. “Close inspection of my skin in a magnifying mirror revealed the surface had become flaky and lumpy, a bit like a badly plastered wall. Moreover, the foundation that I had once loved looked dry and crepe-y on my skin.” 

At the end of her month-long experiment, Purgslove was re-evaluated by Stefanie Williams, MD, medical director of the European Dermatology London clinic. Dr. Williams concluded that within a month, Purgslove’s skin had biologically aged one decade. Moisture levels in her skin dropped, wrinkles became deeper and more prominent, and her pores had grown 5 percent larger from physical clogging. Purgslove worried that she had ruined her skin, and her looks, forever.

Purgslove is not alone. Beauty retailer Escentual.com recently surveyed 778 women and found that 47.9 percent confessed to sleeping with their makeup on at least once a week. More than 30 percent of the women surveyed admitted they don’t remove their makeup before bed twice a week.