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 http://skinhelpdesk.com


Cosmetic Dermatology Industry: (Risk of) New entrants (Part 2)

Greater Middle East
Greater Middle East (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The threat of new entrants in Cosmetic Dermatology depends on 2 main factors. The licensing process and the initial investment. The licensing process for dermatologists has never been an issue in India. But It was a huge barrier in most parts of Middle East. However the regulatory bottle necks are changing fast. The recent socio-political changes in the Middle East may also have a significant effect on this.  We can expect an increase in the number of practicing dermatologists in the Middle East in the short to medium term.

There has been no disruptive innovation in the cosmetic devices industry comparable to Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers. The competition is increasing in the device manufacturing arena as well though it has not impacted the revenue stream of the manufacturers, because of the disproportionate increase in the number of dermatologists. Manufacturers have tried to compensate for the lack of innovation by introducing new models with minimal clinical impact. This has lead to the flooding of the market with old models that are not much different from the new models. The distributes have started offering this models on a rental basis. This has significantly reduced the initial investment involved.

New entrants will lower the costs, at the same time add ease and convenience, without much impact on the quality. Consumers will, of course, welcome this though there may be a lag period before they realize that the quality is more or less same. Lower costs obviously means lower profits. The oldies who have branched out are more vulnerable to the blow to their bottom line.

Cosmetic dermatology in these regions is experiencing the same shift seen in banking, retail and entertainment as new entrants whose core business resides outside of dermatology and even healthcare are emerging to capture more of the market. The dermatologist CEOs could look at some of these newbie with a wealth of experience in other sectors. If they are making some headway, don’t hesitate to look for opportunities to partner.

In the next post on this series, I will discuss the threat of substitute products or services. Hate to steal my own thunder, but would your patients prefer to send a digital photo of a rash or skin condition for you to diagnose?

Read the full series on Cosmetic Dermatology Industry here

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Best anti-ageing nanoparticle: Clean air

Nanoparticle Catalyst Electrode
Nanoparticle Catalyst Electrode (Photo credit: Argonne National Laboratory)
I still remember seeing a device displaying a controlled explosion inside a chamber magically producing nanoparticles from any cream or lotion that you introduce into the chamber. It was a “back to the future” moment for me! The demonstrator (with a remarkable resemblance to Einstein) almost claimed that he has a technology for controlled atomic fission. Now I even believe cosmetic dermatology is the answer to the world’s energy crisis!

On a serious note, In this short but information rich article titled  “Aging in a polluted world”, [1] Dr Zoe Diana Draelos, the editor of journal of cosmetic dermatology proposes her views on the menace of pollution. She warns about the potential problems of the “real nanoparticle”. Many of the “ageing gracefully” proponents may not quite like her closing remarks:

 “No diet or cosmetic cream can quench the reactive oxygen species created by nanoparticle pollution. Perhaps the answer to aging gracefully is too simple. Life in a healthy rural environment with clean air may be the solution to longevity.

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Seeing things in a new light: Sensors that could change dermatology

A remote control's infrared seen as near-infra...
A remote control's infrared seen as near-infrared through a still image from the camera's CCD sensor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When researcher Dr Richard Curry from the University of Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute, published his new light sensor in Nature’s Scientific Reports, there was no mention of its potential use in dermatology. Researchers believe that having a single low cost near infrared system, in addition to conventional imaging, opens up many new possibilities. [1]

“The new technology could allow surgeons to ‘see’ inside tissue to find tumours prior to surgery as well as equip consumer products, such as cameras and mobile phones, with night imaging options.”

The most exciting thing is that the sensors are highly flexible and can be produced cheaply, using the same laser-printers found in homes and offices, and unlike other sensors, do not require specialized manufacturing conditions. I have been working on the colour information captured in clinical photos for charm. I blogged about the decision tree developed by  Seoul National University College of Medicine and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital based on colour data. With this new low-cost sensor capable of differentiating a wide range of wavelengths extending from UV to near infrared, I am sure dermatology imaging is at the threshold of exciting new discoveries.

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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.

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Bell Raj Eapen
Hamilton, ON
Canada