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Dispatches from Skintelligence 2014

A discussion on innovative procedures and patient stories from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock.

I’m pleased to report from the inaugural ASDS Skintelligence meeting in New York City. The ASDS is the largest specialty organization in the United States that represents dermatologic surgeons. These are the dermatologists that specialize in skin cancer surgery or aesthetic dermatology. A distinguished panel of experts discussed several of the latest techniques and procedures for the treatment of hair, skin, and nails as well as the latest information on skin cancer. I had the opportunity to deliver innovations and advances for non-surgical body improvements. Through procedures such as cryolipolysis for permanent fat removal and ultrasound for tightening the skin around the belly button, we are able to contour and improve the body after having a baby without surgery or recovery time. I know many women are skeptical that we can actually remove fat and tighten skin all without surgery, but with the most modern devices and procedures, it’s a reality.

There were several other noteworthy topics discussed at the meeting. Dr. Mitch Goldman discussed his research on new and minimally invasive treatments for leg veins. Large varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic issue. They often cause heaviness and fatigue in the legs. In the worst cases, skin breakdown and ulcerations can occur. New FDA-approved products are available to permanently close down bulging and uncomfortable varicose veins often with just a single treatment that requires minimal recovery. Unlike the treatments endured by some of our mothers, modern treatments for varicose veins are fast, comfortable, and effective with no scarring. Dr. Goldman also showed impressive results for the treatment of blue veins on the temples with an Nd:YAG laser. Obvious blue veins in the temples are a common problem as we get older and can be most noticeable in slim, fit women who exercise regularly. In my experience, several Nd:YAG treatments may be required to get a good result, but once achieved, the results are long-lasting.   

Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi.

Dr. Arielle Kauvar demonstrated eye-opening statistics on skin cancer and women in the United States. Although I knew that skin cancer in young women (including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer) is rising alarmingly in this country, I did not realize that we (derms) seem to be losing the battle when educating the public. Dr. Kauvar highlighted sobering statistics that sunscreen use in teenagers has actually declined in the 10 years between 2001 and 2011 and all the while the use of indoor tanning bed use has increased despite our best efforts to educate through extensive public awareness campaigns. One of Dr. Kauvar’s patients, Lisa Pace, bravely discussed her experience after having dozens of skin cancer surgeries. She is a 37-year-old basketball coach who (to date) has had 77 skin cancers removed. A self-described, former tanning salon “addict,” she explained how she was unaware of the dangers of tanning bed use. Lisa now regularly educates young women about skin cancer and the risk of indoor tanning.  Through research, dermatologists know that younger skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation (UVL) and even a single trip to the tanning salon can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life. Since daughters often mimic behavior from their mothers, it’s never too early to talk about good sun safety and the dangers of tanning bed use with your daughter. 

Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi is a board-certified dermatologist.


Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi is a board-certified dermatologist and co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Surgery.