Discover more from Women in Dermatology
Perception, understanding, and association between psychological stress and skin aging
Today’s report also covers research into sex differences in lentiginous melanoma, CO₂ laser therapy for lichen sclerosus in postmenopausal women, and more (1,444 words, 7 minutes)
Over time, the skin undergoes significant changes attributed to aging, including wrinkling, drying, loss of elasticity and firmness, and skin thinning. These changes can also be triggered by other factors such as pollution, sun exposure, stress, poor sleep, or smoking. Now, a new concept known as pre-aging skin has emerged to describe the self-perceived signs of skin aging appearing in the early 20s and 30s, mostly among women.
A recent study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (Apr. 2023; 00:1-11) analyzed the perceptions of stress-related skin aging among Asian women between 18 and 34 years of age, and healthcare professionals, specifically psychologists and dermatologists.
For this study, the authors invited 403 women, 60 dermatologists, and 60 psychologists living in major cities in China and Japan to answer online surveys. The survey’s questions were related to signs of skin aging, perceptions of the connection between stress and aging, and demographics. The women also answered a questionnaire to assess their stress level, which could be classified as normal or range from mild to extremely severe. The surveys were conducted between Dec. 2020 and Feb. 2021.
The study found that among young women, the most reported skin manifestations were dark circles, enlarged pores, dry skin, dull skin, slow recovery from acne scarring, and rough skin. Women with higher stress levels reported more skin manifestations than those with normal stress levels.
Additionally, 92.3% of the women surveyed believed there is a moderate to very strong connection between premature skin aging and stress. Dark eye circles, slow metabolic rate, and dull skin were found to have the strongest association with stress. Compared to the surveyed women, healthcare practitioners believed the association between many skin manifestations and stress to be stronger.
The authors found that healthcare practitioners often recommend treatments to help patients manage their stress and improve their mental health. Psychologists were more likely to recommend tools such as meditation, exercise, connecting with friends, or receiving massages, while dermatologists were more likely to recommend anti-stress cosmetic products. The surveyed dermatologists and psychologists also reported the Covid-19 pandemic increased the number of patients with signs of stress and premature aging.
The authors concluded there is a significant connection between stress and premature skin aging. Young women have some awareness regarding this connection, but their perception of this association was lower than that of healthcare professionals. Dermatologists and psychologists often recommend tools and treatments to their patients to help them manage their stress. The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on stress levels and premature aging.
From the literature on women in dermatology
A genome-wide association study identified a genetic variant associated with hair thinning in Japanese women
A genome-wide association study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology aimed to identify the genetic variants linked to hair thinning in Japanese women. The authors found the genetic variant rs2419385 is associated with hair thinning in Japanese women. They also found that this genetic variant is located near genes involved in transforming growth factor beta signalling, which is known to inhibit hair growth.
Improving hairdressers’ knowledge and identification of scarring alopecia using an educational video
A study in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology assessed if an audiovisual tool could assist hairdressers in identifying early signs of inflammatory scarring alopecia. The authors found that an educational video is an effective method of increasing the knowledge of haircare professionals regarding early clinical signs.
The researchers recruited 40 participants with an average of 20.3 years of experience in haircare. Before watching the video, all participants underwent an evaluation to assess their knowledge of the clinical signs of scarring alopecia. Next, they watched the 15-minute video that explained the signs and symptoms of various types of scarring alopecia. After watching the video, the participants completed a test. The post-video test results indicated a substantial increase in knowledge about scarring alopecia.
Sex differences in the anatomical distribution of lentiginous melanoma
A study published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology described the anatomic distribution of lentiginous melanomas to assess differences according to sex. The researchers found that women had a higher incidence of lentiginous melanomas on the central face subsites, such as the cheeks, whereas men had a higher incidence on the outer areas of the head, such as the ears and scalp.
The authors performed a cross-sectional study of all lentiginous melanoma diagnoses at the Victorian Melanoma Service in Australia between Jan. 1994 and Dec. 2021. A total of 1,782 lentiginous melanoma cases were included in the analysis.
Histologic changes on vulvar biopsies in postmenopausal women with lichen sclerosus treated with fractionated CO₂ laser therapy
A study published in Lasers in Surgery and Medicine examined the histologic characteristics of vulvar tissues before and after fractionated carbon dioxide laser therapy (Fx CO₂) for vulvar lichen sclerosus (LS) in postmenopausal women. The authors found that Fx CO₂ laser therapy provides symptom relief in postmenopausal women with vulvar LS. They also found that these symptomatic improvements were correlated with histologic changes.
For this prospective single-arm study, the researchers recruited 10 postmenopausal women with LS. The participants underwent three Fx CO₂ laser therapy treatments, spaced four to six weeks apart. Histologic examinations were conducted at baseline and four weeks after the completion of treatment.
VIDEO: The experience of living with lichen sclerosus skin disorder and finding a treatment
Dr. Amy Brenner, a Mason, Ohio-based physician, talks to a woman living with lichen sclerosus (LS). The woman describes the impact LS has had on her stress levels and intimacy, as well as the different types of traditional and non-traditional treatments she has tried to help alleviate symptoms.
A case of pruritic crusted lesions
A case study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology described an 89-year-old woman who presented with itchy, crusted lesions on the scalp, face, chest, back, and upper limbs that had been present for eight months. The lesions developed five days after the patient received a second dose of the SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Histopathology revealed fluid-filled blisters under the top layer of skin, loss of intercellular connections and scattered white blood cells. The patient was diagnosed with vaccine-associated pemphigus foliaceus and treated with high-potency topical corticosteroids, which initially provided relief. Later, she required oral prednisone, which resolved her symptoms.
Coming Up in Women in Derm
Jun. 14-17 → 98th Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA) Annual Conference (Toronto)
May 1 to 7 is Mental Health Week
May 8 is Check Your Skin Day
May 10 is World Lupus Day
May 11 is Canadian Viral Hepatitis Elimination Day
May 12 is International Nurses Day
May 14 is Mother’s Day
May 17 is World Hypertension Day
Something to think about
“Retinol is one of the most well-studied and highly-recommended skin care ingredients at our disposal, doing everything from addressing and preventing signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation, to treating and preventing acne. [But] retinol may be too powerful and irritating for some, especially those with sensitized skin.”
— Dr. Geeta Yadav, a Toronto-based dermatologist in an interview with The Zoe Report (TZR).