Skin Deep - Clinical & Cosmetic Dermatology Blog

Skin Deep is a blog for dermatologists and skin care professionals with focus on theoretical, cosmetic and aesthetic dermatology. This blog is associated with ‘Dermatologists Sans Borders’ one of the largest curated groups of skin care professionals on facebook. If you are looking for non-technical information, please visit

DermKnowledgeBASE - A Dermatology Knowledge Base

DermKnowledgeBASE is a knowledge base for dermatology. Knowledge base is a kind of database for knowledge management.

Ok! Let me try to explain it in simple terms.

If your daughter asks you what does the word ‘animal’ mean you may tell her :
animals are living-things. 
You are actually telling her a statement from a knowledgebase where animal is the subject ‘are’ is a predicate and living-thing is an object. You may also inform her that ‘humans are animals’. If she is intelligent (like you) she will know that  humans are living things too. This is called ‘Reasoning’. In fact you can describe an entire domain like dermatology in the above form. This is called Ontology and ‘OntoDerm’ is a domain ontology for dermatology, started by me.

Now if you may decide to go a step ahead and tell your daughter that
your mother ‘is an’ animal :)
Your grandmother ‘is an’ animal :)

Once you start defining individuals in this form an ontology becomes a knowledge-base (you are crossing the line!) and DermBASE is just that(No I don’t define any dermatologist as an animal here :) )

English: inductive and deductive reasoning
English: inductive and deductive reasoning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But what is the use?
A knowledge base can be used for automated deductive reasoning. You can ask the knowledge base complicated questions like

What are the symptoms common for Psoriasis, Atopic Dermatitis and Lichen Planus?
You can even ask the DermBASE to give differential diagnosis for the patient sitting in front of you!!!!! as in Virtual Dermatologist.

Wow! Can I try it then?
Well you can try! but it may not tell you much now, because it still knows only very little. I need your help to teach DermBASE some useful stuff.

HAHA! Do you expect me to go to library again, find useful rules and type it somewhere?
Not really. DermKnowledgeBASE will do that for you!!!!! But it will ask for you, to confirm what it has found!!! So teaching DermBASE can be fun!!! and you may learn too along with DermBASE!!!

Great! Please show me how: 
Sure! Click the banner below:

If you want to join DermKnowledgeBASE as a curator shoot me an email please.
Welcome to ONTODerm community!

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Future of Laser Skin Rejuvenation

Selective photothermolysis is or rather used to be dogmatic in cutaneous laser systems. Basically laser of a particular wavelength is selectively absorbed by a 'chromophore' that gets heated up. Melanin is the chromophore for hair removal and hemoglobin for blood vessels. What is the chromophore for skin rejuvenation?

For non-specific tissue heating as in skin rejuvenation systems do not have a specific chromophore! But till recently we have been on the lookout for the 'ideal' wavelength. Er-YAG, Er-Glass, CO2 all have been tried with limited success though the fractional technology has improved the safety profile considerably.
English: laser beam quality - M2 definition
Laser beam quality - M2 definition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Innovations happen when dogmas are challenged!

Scientists from Philips Research in Eindhoven have prototyped a system that do not depend on selective photothermolysis and hence not on any specific chromphore/wave length. The new system uses advanced optics to focus a laser beam below the epidermis. High laser intensity at the focal point induces a little known (to me) phenomenon called 'Light Induced Optical Breakdown' (LIOB) creating a mini 'explosion' along a short distance!

Graph showing the history of maximum laser pul...
Graph showing the history of maximum laser pulse intensity throughout the past 40 years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This conceptually different system has many advantages. Since it uses a converging beam, the laser intensity on the surface is very less and hence the surface changes and pain are virtually nil. However the sub-epidermal effect is similar to or probably more than ablative systems. So you end up giving ablative results at no pain and no downtime.

This should bring a paradigm shift in the present selective photothermolytic systems.

I give full five peels for this technology. peel rating
What is peel score?

Read more »

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About Me

As a Dermatologist and Informatician my research mainly involves application of bioinformatics techniques and tools in dermatological conditions. However my research interests are varied and I have publications in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, sequence analysis, systems biology, ontology development, microarray analysis, immunology, computational biology and clinical dermatology. I am also interested in eHealth, Health Informatics and Health Policy.


Bell Raj Eapen
Hamilton, ON