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American Academy of Dermatology, Feb. 4-8, 2011

Last Updated: February 11, 2011.

The 69th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology

The 69th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology was held from Feb. 4 to 8 in New Orleans and attracted approximately 16,000 participants from around the world. The conference highlighted recent advances in the diagnosis and management of dermatologic conditions, with presentations and abstracts mainly focusing on acne, rosacea, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and various other skin conditions.

During one presentation, Mario E. Lacouture, M.D., of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, discussed the dermatologic adverse events associated with cancer treatment.

"Of the 1.5 million individuals diagnosed with cancer, 600,000 are treated with chemotherapy and 750,000 with radiation. Of these, approximately one-third to one-half experience dermatologic side effects. The impact of these side effects [is] four-fold, including psycho-social impacts, financial impacts, physical health issues such as susceptibility to infections, and effects on dosing and scheduling of anticancer drugs," Lacouture said. "In a study of 350 cancer patient survivors, we found that patients said that skin irritation and dry skin were the most debilitating side effects, with negative impacts on quality of life that they didn't expect."

Inflammatory skin reactions are a common side effect of cancer therapy that can range from mild to severe and include itchy and painful rashes, Lacouture pointed out in his presentation. In addition, patients with prior skin, hair, and nail conditions may have a worsening of symptoms with chemotherapy, radiation, or oral cancer therapy.

"Many of the newer cancer treatments, including targeted therapies, are associated with a severe acne-like rash on the chest and body. In a study we published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, we found that treating patients prophylactically with moisturizer, sun screen, topical steroids, and doxycycline minimized moderate to severe rash [from] panitumumab by more than 50 percent," Lacouture added. "The majority of dermatologic conditions in cancer patients are treatable so that most patients can continue therapy and their quality of life is maximized."

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In another presentation, Diane S. Berson, M.D., of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, discussed how small changes in skin care, including use of some of the newly formulated cosmeceuticals, may significantly improve skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.

Berson recommended the use of a gentle skin cleanser or cleansers specifically formulated for skin prone to acne and rosacea and to avoid harsh cleansers or scrubs that could make these conditions worse. In addition, she recommended the use of moisturizer and sunscreen, specifically use of a light, oil-free moisturizer or sunscreen that is non-comedogenic, and avoiding the use of moisturizers and sunscreens containing heavy mineral oils.

"As far as prescription medications are concerned, the reformulation of existing active ingredients has led to better-tolerated products," Berson said in a statement. "The vehicles that deliver the active ingredients to the skin now contain more emollients and humectants that are soothing and non-irritating. Active ingredients can also be released slowly through microsponges -- a unique technology that consists of tiny sponges that release [the] active ingredient on the skin slowly over time and also in response to other factors, such as temperature or massaging the product into the skin. These advances result in products that are more cosmetically pleasing, thus enhancing results by improving compliance."

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Julian J. Trevino, M.D., of the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, discussed common skin reactions that could occur from contact with plants, as well as effective treatments and preventive strategies.

"While most of the skin reactions resulting from direct contact with a hazardous plant are more of a nuisance than anything else, there are some instances where the reaction can affect the entire body and pose a potentially more serious risk," Trevino said in a statement. "For example, people who are allergic to plants or have sensitive skin that is prone to eczema or atopic dermatitis may experience more severe or long-lasting effects that require medical attention."

Allergic reactions to some plants include toxin mediated urticaria (hives) from stinging nettle plants; urticaria from fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, nuts, shrubs, and grasses; and an itchy rash from exposure to spines or glochids as well as skin rashes and irritation from poison ivy, oak, and sumac. In an effort to reduce the risk of such skin reactions, Trevino recommended that individuals wear protective clothing whenever possible, apply an over-the-counter barrier cream or lotion containing quaternium-18 bentonite to exposed skin before going outdoors, and avoid poisonous plants.

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Zoe D. Draelos, M.D., of the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., discussed the harmful effects of harsh chemicals and heated styling devices on hair. Draelos also provided tips to reverse damage and maintain healthy hair.

"Many products have been developed to counter the effects of over-processed hair, and regular moisturizing is a must for women with visible signs of hair damage," Draelos said in a statement.

In an effort to reverse chemical damage, Draelos recommended using conditioning shampoos and conditioners regularly, looking for products containing dimethicone, trying newly introduced hair serums, refraining from hair dying, and using a dye within three color shades of hair's natural color if hair dying is a must.

Dramatic changes in temperature may also impact the shine and appearance of hair. In an effort to improve heat damaged hair, Draelos recommended allowing hair to air dry, not using the highest temperature setting on a hair dryer, using a ceramic iron to straighten hair, and moisturizing hair regularly.

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AAD: Athletes at Higher Risk of Contagious Skin Infections

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Athletes are at a higher risk of contagious skin infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi due to the physical contact common in many sports, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from Feb. 4 to 8 in New Orleans.

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AAD: Treatment of Common Birthmarks Evaluated

TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The type and timing of treatment of common birthmarks among infants should be dependent upon defining characteristics, according to a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from Feb. 4 to 8 in New Orleans.

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AAD: Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Incidence in U.S. Rising

TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States appears to be increasing, as individuals have failed to incorporate sun protection behaviors despite proven scientific evidence that sun exposure is a preventable risk factor, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from Feb. 4 to 8 in New Orleans.

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AAD: Atopic Dermatitis Precursor for Food Allergies

TUESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Atopic dermatitis appears to be a strong precursor for food allergies rather than a consequence of them, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, held from Feb. 4 to 8 in New Orleans.

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