30 October 2018
TUESDAY, Oct. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said that hair dyes can no longer contain lead. The new rule does not take effect for 12 months, but it ends the only remaining legal use of lead, a neurotoxin, in cosmetic products in the United States. “In the nearly 40 years since lead acetate was initially approved as a color additive, our understanding of the hazards of lead exposure has evolved significantly,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb explained in an agency news release. “We now know that the approved use of lead acetate in adult hair dyes no longer meets our safety standard,” he added. “Lead exposure can have serious adverse effects on human health, including for children, who may be particularly vulnerable. Moreover, there are alternative color additives for hair coloring products that consumers can use that do not contain lead as an ingredient.” For the most part, the hair dyes that now contain lead acetate, such as Grecian Formula, are used to darken gray hair, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Along with new scientific data, the FDA’s decision was prompted by a petition opposing the use of lead as a color additive. “In the last several decades, we’ve seen tremendous progress in reducing exposure to lead from major sources. Given this progress and wide recognition that there is no safe level of exposure, it may seem unbelievable that common hair dyes contain the neurotoxin — putting those who use the product and their children at risk,” said Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director at the EDF, one of the groups involved in filing the petition. “[The] FDA’s decision is an important step to protecting people from a continued source of exposure to lead that is a more significant route than the agency originally thought over three decades ago,” Neltner said. Now, there is no safe level of lead exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Companies have 12 months to reformulate hair dye products that contain lead acetate. Consumers who want to avoid using these products during that time can check to see if lead acetate is listed as an ingredient or there is a warning label that states, in part: “For external use only. Keep this product out of children’s reach,” according to the FDA. Some hair coloring product manufacturers have already started using another color additive that does not contain lead as an ingredient, the FDA added. More information The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has more on lead.
15 August 2018
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — People who choose minimally invasive cosmetic procedures do so because they want to feel good, not just look good, a new survey finds. For the study, researchers polled roughly 500 U.S. adult patients, most of whom were white women, aged 45 and up. All had undergone some type of relatively non-invasive cosmetic procedure between 2016 and 2017. The results revealed that nearly seven in 10 chose the procedure to improve their psychological well-being. More than half also wanted to protect their health, boost their confidence levels in a social setting, or look “professional” at work. “Patients’ motivations for cosmetic procedures are not trivial,” said study author Dr. Murad Alam. “People who get such treatments are sensible, normal people who are not just obsessed with their appearance. They have a range of motivations.” Alam is vice chair of dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. Cosmetic treatments used to mean “getting traditional plastic surgery, like a face lift or tummy tuck,” he said. “These required general anesthesia, cutting and sewing the skin, significant risk of scarring, and days to weeks of recovery time.” But, Alam explained, “More recently, dermatologists have pioneered non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures, which provide many of the same benefits as traditional plastic surgery without the risk, scars, and downtime.” And the procedures — which range from laser treatments for brown spots to wrinkle reduction, liposuction and tattoo removal — “have become more popular than traditional cosmetic surgery,” he said. In fact, these newer procedures accounted for the majority of the more than 7 million aesthetic services performed by U.S. dermatologists in 2016, the researchers reported. “Interestingly and surprisingly, we found that in many cases, patients’ reasons for getting something done were different than just improving physical appearance, and more complex,” Alam added. A personal desire “to feel happier and more confident in themselves, with overall better quality of life” was the most prevalent motivation, Alam said. “Even spouses did not influence their behavior in this regard, and they did not generally get procedures to please a spouse or significant other,” he said. Dr. Jeffrey Janis, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said the survey “reinforces much of what plastic surgeons have learned from patients over the years.” Janis, who also serves as executive vice chairman of the department of plastic surgery at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, said that “physical and mental well-being are strong motivating factors, as is the desire to ward off the signs of aging or delay the aging process.” Those polled had undergone a wide range of non-invasive procedures, including laser and light treatments for brown spots, blood vessels, wrinkle reduction, scar treatment and hair removal; chemical peels; non-surgical skin tightening and fat reduction with radiofrequency energy, cold treatment, or ultrasound. Alam said these treatments “do not even break the skin, and are applied on top of the skin.” Minimally invasive procedures may break the skin, but just barely, he added. Those include filler and neuro-modulator injections “to fill out the sagging aging face while reducing lines and wrinkles,” alongside liposuction through tiny openings to suck out excess fat. Age did have an impact on a patient’s choice, the poll results suggested. For example, “older patients were interested in treating the visible signs of aging that had already occurred,” Alam said. “On the other hand, patients younger than 45 were interested in being proactive to avoid or slow aging.” Dr. Samuel Lam, a facial plastic and hair restoration surgeon in Plano, Texas, didn’t find the poll results surprising. Minimally invasive procedures “can truly make someone look amazingly and naturally youthful and beautiful,” he said. Yet, Lam cautioned, “as a surgeon, it is important to know what would be helpful with minimally invasive procedures, and which ones would not help at all or at times make things worse.” Alam and his colleagues published their findings online Aug. 15 in JAMA Dermatology. More information The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has more on plastic surgery trends.
01 March 2018
THURSDAY, March 1, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Fat can be easy to put on, but much tougher to remove. Now, the latest data shows Americans are increasingly turning to non-surgical means of fat reduction. The annual report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) finds big jumps in the popularity of noninvasive “body shaping” techniques — everything from ultrasound to radio waves, infrared light, injected medications and vacuum-massage treatments. Use of “freeze” technologies — techniques that purport to use cold temperatures to non-surgically reduce fat — jumped by 7 percent in 2017, the new report found. Uptake of the fastest-growing procedure, laser cellulite treatments, also rose by 19 percent in 2017. “Unwanted fat is something that affects so many Americans,” ASPS President Dr. Jeffrey Janis said in a society news release. “Patients appreciate having options, especially if they can act as maintenance steps while they decide if getting something more extensive down the line will be right for them.” And more Americans are availing themselves of cosmetic procedures than ever before, the new report finds. Overall, there were 17.5 million cosmetic surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed last year, a 2 percent rise from 2016. Of course, surgical fat-removal techniques are still being used, and one — the “tummy tuck” — has seen a resurgence in popularity. The ASPS notes that tummy tucks had dropped from the Top 5 most popular plastic surgeries in 2016. But the procedure jumped back into the Top 5 last year, with 2,000 more tummy tucks done in 2017 than in 2016. “An improved abdominal contour is something that many of us strive for, but for some patients, that may not be attainable through diet and exercise alone,” said Janis. “Age, pregnancy and significant weight changes can impact both the skin and underlying muscle. Tummy tucks performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon remove excess fat and skin and, in most cases, restore weakened or separated muscles to create an improved abdominal profile.” In the meantime, the old cosmetic surgery standbys maintained their popularity, the ASPS report said. Of the nearly 1.8 million cosmetic surgical procedures performed last year, the top five were: Breast augmentation (300,378 procedures, up 3 percent from 2016) Liposuction (246,354 procedures, up 5 percent from 2016) Nose reshaping (218,924 procedures, down 2 percent from 2016) Eyelid surgery (209,571 procedures, approximately the same as 2016) Tummy tucks (129,753 procedures, up 2 percent from 2016). And since 2000, there has been a near tripling in what’s known as “minimally-invasive” cosmetic procedures, the ASPS said. There were 15.7 million such procedures last year. The top five were: Botulinum toxin type A or “botox” (7.2 million procedures, up 2 percent from 2016) Soft tissue “fillers” (2.7 million procedures, up 3 percent from 2016) Chemical peel (1.4 million procedures, up 1 percent since 2016) Laser hair removal (1 million procedures, down 2 percent from 2016) Microdermabrasion (740,287 procedures, down 4 percent from 2016). Another big change: Breast reduction surgeries are on the rebound. According to the ASPS, after declining by about 4 percent in 2016, there was an 11 percent increase in such procedures last year. “Breast reductions are consistently reported as one of the highest patient satisfaction procedures because it positively affects a woman’s quality of life. It addresses both functional and aesthetic concerns,” Janis said. More information The U.S. Office on Women’s Health has more about cosmetic surgery.