ASCP Skin Deep


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ascp and you: news notes The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has a new, congressionally mandated nameā€”it is now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The change is aligned with the strategic plan guiding the center's research priorities and public education activities. Surveys have found that the use of alternative medicine in place of conventional medicine is rare. However, integrative health care, defined as an approach that combines complementary and conventional therapies, is more common. "Since its establishment 16 years ago, the center has funded thousands of important research projects. Without this work, the American public would lack vital information on the safety and effectiveness of many practices and products that are widely used and readily available," says National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD. The center's research also encourages self-care methods that support healthier lifestyles, and uncovers potential usefulness and safety issues of natural products. The practices and products studied by the center are prioritized by four guiding principles: scientific promise, amenability to be studied using the highest quality research methods, use by the American public, and the potential impact on public health. Visit NCCIH's new website,, for more information. Hypoallergenic or Just Hype? When choosing products, it's important for estheticians to know that "hypoallergenic" is a claim and not an absolute fact. A study published in November 2014 tested 187 topical products, all marketed as safe for children and labeled "dermatologist tested/recommended," "hypoallergenic," "fragrance-free," or "paraben- free," to see if they contained any of the 80 most commonly known allergens. Eighty-nine percent of the products contained at least one common allergen, 63 percent contained two or more, and 11 percent contained five or more. Preservatives and fragrances were the most common offenders. 1 The US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate or define the word hypoallergenic. Because almost anything can potentially cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation, the best way to know whether a product is safe for a particular client is to check the ingredient list, and always perform a patch test on a small area of skin if you are not sure. NOTE 1. C. R. Hamman et al., "Is There a Risk Using Hypoallergenic Cosmetic Pediatric Products in the United States?" Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, November 7, 2014. Accessed January 2015, 6749(14)01428-6/abstract. Create your free business website! 45 New Name for NCCAM NOTE 1. L. G. Parkinson et al., "Granzyme B Mediates Both Direct and Indirect Cleavage of Extracellular Matrix in Skin," Aging Cell, December 11, 2014. Accessed January 2015, UV Exposure Without Aging (if you're a mouse) A recent study using genetically modified mice may indicate it is possible to remove the connection between ultraviolet (UV) exposure and skin aging. Mice that were bred to lack a particular gene were originally being studied to see whether the gene had an effect on atherosclerosis and heart attacks. In the process, researchers noticed those mice also did not show as many signs of skin aging. To explore this effect, mice were given a few minutes weekly under UV lamps to simulate sunlight exposure. After 20 weeks, the genetically modified mice showed less skin aging and less collagen loss than normal mice that received the same amount of UV exposure. 1 The gene in question is responsible for producing an enzyme, Granzyme B, which plays an important role in the immune system. The study showed Granzyme B is also involved in triggering the breakdown of collagen when skin cells are exposed to UV light. If further research finds a way to inhibit this function of the enzyme, one of the main causes of skin aging could be prevented.

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