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

Clinical Trial Assessment Scale for Cosmetic Dermatology

Clinical trials in cosmetic dermatology have some intrinsic limitations. Some of the prerequisites of an RCT such as blinding, allocation concealment and even randomization is difficult to achieve in cosmetic dermatology. Hence some of the well known scales for the methodological assessment of clinical trials such as Jadad and CONSORT have limited relevance in cosmetic clinical trial. Flawed evaluation of clinical trial quality allows flawed trials to thrive leading to clever new ways to distort trial results toward a favoured outcome.

Image Credit: By Evil Erin (

I have tried to enumerate well known biases in cosmetic dermatology and to put these ideas together as a framework for evaluating clinical trials in cosmetic dermatology. I have given it the acronym TASCDerm.

You can read more about TASCDerm and download a PDF score sheet from Dermatologists Sans Borders. [Click Here]


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Kudzu - Fair or not

Flowering kudzu is a fast-growing legume with ...
Flowering kudzu is a fast-growing legume with a grapelike odor. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First published in Dermatologists Sans Borders.

New herbal fairness agents are introduced every now and then though very few actually live up to the hype. However fairness industry is huge in most parts of Asia and research on new molecules always gets much attention. Most products of plant origin are introduced by cosmetic companies, and they often rely on old patents or anecdotal evidence of efficacy. Data on their effect on the melanin synthesis pathway is either not provided or deliberately hidden.

A new study (1) (open access. Link to the full paper below) demonstrates the effect of Kudzu, a group of plants in the genus Pueraria, in the pea family. It is well known that Kudzu is rich in isoflavones. The authors, using cell biology techniques, have demonstrated that the aerial part of P. thunbergiana can inhibit tyrosinase at the transcriptional level without cytotoxicity. In addition, it can also reduce tyrosinase maturation by inhibiting a-glucosidase.

Currently, numerous compounds are used for skin whitening, such as arbutin, hydroquinone, and kojic acid. Evidence suggests that the aerial part of P. thunbergiana, considered a weed in most parts of the world where it is seen, would one day be ranked higher in the list of depigmenting herbal products.

1. Han E, Chang B, Kim D, Cho H, Kim S. Melanogenesis inhibitory effect of aerial part of Pueraria thunbergiana in vitro and in vivo. Arch Dermatol Res. 2015 Jan;307(1):57-72. Epub 2014 Jul 26. PubMed PMID: 25063049; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4282881.

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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