Cosmetex 2013

I recently attended Cosmetex 2013 in Melbourne. This was probably the biggest conference for the Australian cosmetic medicine and surgery industry and is organised by the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery (ACCS).

I have always enjoyed attending this conference for a few reasons. There are usually a number of international speakers, who are visionaries or opinion leaders and this year is no exception. I particularly enjoyed the sessions presented by Prof Leslie Baumann from Florida and Dr Arthur swift from Montreal. More on that later.

It is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues around the country and see what they are up to. This is an excellent way to exchange ideas and to pick up pearls of wisdom from one another.

The trade displays are always interesting.  It is very easy to get excited about all the shiny toys on offer but the reality is that there is often far too much hype surrounding a lot of the products and technologies.

Body sculpting is one of my areas of special interest and I was honoured to be invited, as one of Australia’s leading experts in Vaser liposuction, to participate in a televised interview.

Professor Leslie Baumann is recognised as one of the leaders in cosmetic dermatology globally. She was one of the keynote speakers at Cosmetex this year (as she was last year). She spoke about some of the latest research in relation to the biology of skin aging and sun damage. She also spoke extensively about skin care. I certainly enriched my knowledge considerably attending her lectures.

There are a couple of points that I will share with you here. She talked about abnormal pigmentation of the skin such as melasma. This is problem that she is very familiar with, particularly working in Florida, where there is ample sunshine, and where there is a large Hispanic population. She discussed the treatment of melasma in considerable detail. Although melasma is commonly treated with lasers and pulse lights, it is in her opinion that skin care treatment and sun avoidance gave better results. She recommended a combination of prescription only topical medications, containing tyrosinase inhibitors, tretinoin or a third generation retinoid, kojic acid, Niacinamide, and the use of a series of gentle chemical peels. We certainly share her views on the treatment of this difficult problem and our protocol is remarkably similar to hers.

The second thing that I would like to share with you is the ‘off label’ use of various topical agents for rejuvenation of skin photoaging. These topical agents are usually medications used in the treatment of skin cancers and as such are prescription-only (only available from a doctor).  However, they have the ability to significantly improve certain aspects of sun-damaged skin. Because these are prescription medications and they are TGA approved, I am not allowed to mention them by name.

Dr Arthur Swift is a Canadian plastic surgeon and is famous not just for his surgical skills, but also as an original thinker. He became very interested in the concept of beauty and came to the conclusion that beauty has a significant objective component and that there is a mathematical basis behind it. Watch this space as I will discuss this further in a later blog.