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About Scar Prevention And Treatment

I saw a Scarguard product on sale at a drugstore locally. The claims on the packaging were over the top as usual:

1. “Guards against new scars forming” – Difficult to prove.

2. “Flattens and shrinks old scars” – Not really.

3. “Scarguard is the #1 choice of plastic surgeons” – Really? Nobody asked me.

Scar treatment is pretty simple. Avoid wounding if you can. If you have plastic surgery, seek a skilled surgeon who will spend the time to do the best. After surgery avoid sunlight and smoking, and consider scar massage as directed by your surgeon. This “Scarguard” product is not going to make a bad scar much better unless it is applied early, and even then the results are debatable.

- John Di Saia, M.D.

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Doctors, Voicing Concerns, And Fear Of Retaliation

Shouldn’t it be possible to voice a concern about a medical treatment, procedure, or claim without the fear of retaliation? If the claims are backed by science, then simply addressing my concerns would be enough.

Fear of retaliation silences discussion. Fear of retaliation makes it difficult to do the “right thing” when the public or an individual patient is at risk.

This incidence involves a British plastic surgeon threatened with libel action by the ‘Boob Job’ cream’s manufacturer after she voiced concerns/doubts of its effectiveness. Sense About Science has a great summary of the entire affair: ”Plastic surgeon threatened for comment on ‘Boob Job’ cream.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Organic Beauty Products: 5 Things You Should Know

“All natural. Certified organic. Made from natural ingredients. Pure botanicals. Chemical free.”

You might guess I’m standing in the farmers market. Nope. I’m in the “Health and Beauty” aisle at Target. The ubiquitous all-things-natural trend has overtaken the cosmetic industry. How do you know what’s real and what’s marketing hype? Here are five things you should know about organic beauty product labels:

1. Labels that say “natural ingredients” or “botanicals” are not certified organic. These statements are not regulated. Most natural ingredients used in beauty products are actually modified in a lab. Truly botanical ingredients, like you’d pick in your garden, are usually unstable and would spoil like food.

2. Natural doesn’t always mean better. Would you buy: Poison Ivy Eye-Cream? Stinging Nettles Anti-Itch Gel? The most toxic and allergy-inducing ingredients are naturally occurring substances, not manufactured ones. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

The Lack Of Evidence Behind Retinoids For Anti-Aging

Many over-the-counter (OTC) cosmetic products contain retinoids and are promoted (advertised) as anti-aging products.

An article in the February 2010 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal is a review of the evidence behind retinoids in cosmeceutical products. It turns out there isn’t much. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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