Monthly Archives: September 2011

Are You A Tanning Addict?

Spending a lot of time in the sun’s rays can cause skin damage ranging from fine lines and wrinkles to pigment spots. This damage can be even more pronounced if you don’t protect yourself with sunblock that cites SPF 30 or above. Thankfully, my California plastic surgery practice’s MedSpa allow patients to combat sun damage. Whether patients choose IPL photorejuvination, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion, they can reverse the ill effects that the sun causes. However, unfortunately for patients, these treatments can’t reverse skin cancer. And with 120,000 new cases being diagnosed each year in the United States, this is a real problem.

Why is skin cancer such a major issue?

Part of it has to do with the fact that not everyone attempts to protect their skin while at the beach, pool, or even the park. Even riding in the car for a long period of time can still give you a lot of sun exposure. However, skin cancer is also on the rise due to the popular trend of using tanning beds.

Statistically, a person under thirty who engages in the use of a tanning bed ten times a year is eight times more likely at risk for skin cancer. Despite this not being new information, people continue to utilize tanning beds and play Russian roulette with their lives.

So why do people to continue with this risky behavior?

A new study has found that fake baking in a tanning bed is actually addictive. A person who is tanning experiences the same brain activity and blood flow that a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol experiences. A reward-and-reinforcement trigger is induced while tanning. Each person that tans receives golden brown skin as their reward, but in order to keep the reward they must continue to tan. Thus, the cycle begins.

What can we do?

For one, if you haven’t fake baked already, don’t start. If you are a fake baker, try and slowly reduce your sessions. There are other tanning alternatives out there. Spray tans and tanning creams are easily accessible. When done correctly, you will definitely look as if you’ve spent the day outside. Of course, there is nothing like utilizing the sun’s natural rays. Not only does the sun provide you with a healthy dose of vitamin D, which many people are deficient in, it naturally browns your skin. Just be sure to slather on the sunblock first.

To your health and beauty,

Vip Dev, MD

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Banking For Your Life

Though everyone views their fat as an enemy, fat can actually be very helpful. In fact, fat aids your body in being healthy. However, even those unhealthy amounts of fat could be a friend to us in the near future.

Why could fat be potentially helpful to our health?

Our fat happens to contain an abundance of autologous stem cells. If you aren’t familiar with these unique cells, they have the ability to form “daughter cells” that can either become more stem cells or other cells that the daughter cells are subjected to. Meaning, if stem cells form daughter cells near brain cells those daughter cells can become brain cells too. This can occur with other types of cells too. This being the case, scientists are now studying stem cells to see if they have regenerative aspects. If this is so, stem cells could potentially be used to cure ailments such as kidney disease, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis among others.

Even further, though studies are still inconclusive, stem cells may have a hand in aiding fat transfers. Over the years liposuction techniques have evolved, allowing for more intact fat to be removed. The more intact fat, the more viable stem cells you have. Suddenly, the success rates of fat transfer procedures increased. Scientists believe that the success is due to the increase in stem cells in the fat.

What does this mean?

Considering the ability of stem cells, and the amount of stem cells residing in our fat, it makes sense to take advantage of these aspects. Unfortunately, stem cells age just like we do, meaning they become less viable as the years progress. Some diseases, such as diabetes, can even wipe a stem cell’s special ability out. Therefore, banking our fat after a liposuction procedure, such as the one performed at our California plastic surgery practice, isn’t such a bad idea.

As of right now, Dallas-based BioLife is the only known place to cryogenically preserve fat, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this trend spread. If and when it does, it would be a great option for anyone who undergoes liposuction. Why let the fat go to waste when it could potentially save our life sometime down the road? Bank it now and save your life later.

To your health and beauty,

Vip Dev, MD