Studying stretch marks caused by pregnancy hits close to home when you’re expecting a child of your own.
By Trilokraj Tejasvi, M.D.
Clinical Lecturer in Dermatology, Director of Teledermatology
You might associate the word “leprosy” with medieval or biblical imagery, but the bacterial disease is very real, though rare, today. It is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium leprae. It’s important we spread the word, because when diagnosed early, leprosy is easy to treat and cure.
I’ve provided care for thousands of leprosy patients in India, and now oversee one newly-diagnosed case here in Michigan. Most people are immune to leprosy (about 95 percent), but a small number of Americans still contract the disease every year, mostly in Gulf Coast states such as Florida, Louisiana and Texas, where many of Michigan’s snowbird residents travel in the winter.
The increased number of cases so far in Florida this year might be related to the nine-banded armadillo, a small animal common in Florida that can spread leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease. We should all avoid contact with armadillos, including hunting them or getting close enough to risk exposure to their secretions.
A product to help your little sister’s acne, your emerging fine-lines, and your mother’s age spots? It sounds too good to be true, but retinoids have a substantial history and a large body of scientific research to back them up. A majority of that research has taken place right here, at the University of Michigan. This work was pioneered by Drs. John Voorhees and Gary Fisher and began in the late 1980’s. Now, a quick walk through the skin care aisle at your local drugstore will reveal that many anti-aging products and acne products contain retinoids, and many dermatologists prescribe prescription strength retinoids in their daily practice. Here are some questions I often hear regarding retinoids.
So what are retinoids?
Retinoids, including retinol; retinaldehyde; retinoic acid; and retinyl esters (e.g. retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate) are vitamin A derivatives. They are used topically to treat certain skin conditions, including acne and photoaging. Natural retinoids are available by both prescription and in a variety of over-the-counter products, however synthetic retinoids are only available by prescription. Retinoic acid works at a cellular level, increasing collagen production, evening out pigmentation, and smoothing roughness.