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Pearls Archives | Skin of Color Update | Dermatology Conference | New York City

The Relevance of Vitamin D Supplementation for People of Color in the Era of COVID-19

By | COVID-19 Resources, Skin of Color Update Agenda | No Comments
Vitamin D

Source: JDD Online

The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology recently featured the article, The Relevance of Vitamin D Supplementation for People of Color in the Era of COVID-19, authored by Skin of Color Virtual Update faculty, Pearl E. Grimes MD, and Andrew F. Alexis MD MPH along with Nada Elbuluk MD MSU.

Introduction

African Americans (AA) and other people of color are dying at highly disproportionate rates from COVID-19. The statistics are staggering: in New York City alone, per 100,000 population, death rates in AA were 92.3, and in Hispanics 74.3, compared to 45.2 in Whites and 34.5 in Asians.1 Similar numbers have been reported in other cities and are presumed underestimations, given limited racial/ethnic reporting. In the states currently releasing the number of COVID-19 deaths by race and ethnicity, Blacks make up roughly 13 percent of the population, but 27 percent of the deaths. According to the American Public Media Research Lab, the rate of COVID-19 deaths nationally for Blacks has been reported as twice the rate of deaths of Asians and Latinos in the US and more than 2.5 times the rate for White residents.

Socio-economic reasons, pre-existing comorbidities, work circumstances, inconsistent healthcare access, stress, and decreased immunity, amongst other factors, have been posited as reasons for this shocking disparity. People of color, in particular AA and Hispanics, are more likely to be uninsured and to be frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is compounded by the fact that comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, obesity, and cardiovascular disease are more common in AA and are also associated with higher COVID-19 mortality rates. Emerging evidence suggests that Vitamin D deficiency may represent another risk factor for poor outcomes from COVID-19.

Relevance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone synthesized in the skin following exposure to UVB ultraviolet radiation where it mediates the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to pre-Vitamin D3. Following transport to the liver, it is hydroxylated to 25(OH)D, the primary circulating form typically used to measure serum Vitamin D levels. 25(OH)D is subsequently converted to the biologically active form 1,25, dihydroxy vitamin D in the kidneys by 1-alpha hydrolase. This active form binds to its nuclear Vitamin D receptor to induce the transcription of over 200 genes, affecting a wide range of physiologic functions.

Multiple studies have documented significant Vitamin D deficiency in people of color, especially in AA. Heavily melanized skin retards the synthesis of Vitamin D and necessitates longer periods of sun exposure for adequate synthesis of Vitamin D. Ginde et al. assessed demographic differences and trends of Vitamin D insufficiency in a US population.2Serum 25(OH)D levels were compared over two time periods (1988–1994 and 2001–2004) from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) data base including two large populations (n=18,883 and n=13,369, respectively). Non-Hispanic Blacks had a significantly higher prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency, increasing in severity in the later data base. Recent NHANES data from 2011–2014 further documented the high risk of deficiency in non-Hispanic Blacks. In a recent prospective cohort study of 14,319 subjects, an estimated 65.4% of non-Hispanic Blacks were deficient in Vitamin D, compared to 29% of Hispanics and 14% of non-Hispanic Whites.3

Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be a risk factor for many of the comorbidities that disproportionately plague AA including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, as well as aggressive forms of breast and prostate cancer.4 While the classic role of Vitamin D involves calcium and phosphorus homeostasis for healthy bone metabolism, it exerts a spectrum of pleotropic effects impacting cell growth, differentiation, inflammation, and immune regulation. Healthy levels of Vitamin D have been linked to significantly reduced mortality and improved health outcomes. Numerous investigations document the prolific role of Vitamin D in antimicrobial defense and modulation of the innate and adaptive immune responses. It mediates the induction of key antimicrobial peptides in the respiratory epithelium including cathelicidin (LL37) and beta defensins, which destroy invading organisms. In addition, Vitamin D inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-2, IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-6, while promoting Th2 responses by increasing IL-4, IL-5, and IL-10 production, hence skewing T cell responses to a down regulated, anti-inflammatory state.4

For the general population, the US Institutes of Medicine (IOM) recommends Vitamin D supplementation at doses that vary according to age and are based primarily on bone health. Current IOM supplementation recommendations are 400 IU (10ug) for infants, 600 IU/d (15ug) for children, adolescents, and adults, and 800 IU/d (20ug) for adults aged over 70 years to maintain a 25(OH)D concentration of 20ng/mL or higher. However, in individuals who are deficient in Vitamin D (25(OH)D level <20 ng/ mL), of which patients with skin of color are at a higher risk, supplementation is considerably higher. These recommendations are summarized summarized in Table 1.5

Conclusions

Vitamin D deficiency has been well documented in people of color, in particular AA. The aforementioned data suggest a relationship between low Vitamin D status and COVID-19 mortality rates. While myriad socioeconomic and health care disparities may be contributing factors, we must indeed consider key biological variables, including Vitamin D status, that may impact these observations. Future prospective studies are necessary to confirm these findings. As there is currently no readily available treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, treating physicians should be cognizant of the higher prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in skin of color populations and its emerging potential role in COVID-19 outcomes. Given the devastating statistics of COVID-19 among minority communities and the multifaceted role of Vitamin D in skin and systemic health, dermatologists are essential partners in decreasing health care disparities by initiating the vitamin D dialogue. As such, we can play an invaluable role in improving the health outcomes of our patients, particularly people of color, during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Business of Dermatology

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The Business of Dermatology

Business intellect, a vital aspect of managing a practice, is not taught in residency. From the infancy of their training, dermatologists are trained to think broadly and scrupulously, using each clue, each corporeal sense, and each available tool to accurately diagnose and manage a plethora of cutaneous conditions. After residency, dermatologists set out armed with the knowledge and drive to deliver expert care to their future patients. However, despite their education and best intentions, lack of business acumen can hinder even the brightest and most motivated of practitioners. In order to enlighten oneself in the complicated field of business management, clinicians are left to fend for themselves, often learning as they go, sometimes making unnecessary mistakes, and adjusting their business practices reactively. Retrospective “trial and error” learning is time-consuming, cumbersome, and costly. Why not short track and get the goods without the trial and error, making costly mistakes and taking years. The new book, The Business of Dermatology is a cornerstone achievement in the standardization of business education for dermatologists.

Edited by Drs. Jeffrey S. Dover and Kavita Mariwalla, and authored by impressive experts in the field, The Business of Dermatology offers a comprehensive guide to opening, maintaining, and sustaining a practice. To start, the power of this textbook fundamentally lies in the experience and scope of its authorship. The authors were hand-selected by the editors ensuring that each chapter was written by a tried and true expert in that subject. Unlike other textbooks in the field of business management and administration that are primarily written by individuals from the business world, some of whom have no insight into the inner machinations of the medical world, or hands-on experience, the authors of this book are well-known, respected dermatologists that hail from thriving practices of their own. The reader has an unprecedented opportunity to learn from the firsthand experiences of top authorities who live and breathe dermatology. Using conversational prose, the authors depict their experiences, trials, and errors, employing specific real-world examples and scenarios while tackling each subject.

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Recommendations for Managing Lichen Planopilaris With Hydroxychloroquine During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By | COVID-19 Resources | No Comments
Recommendations Chart

Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

The recommendations are noted in the article, Considerations of Managing Lichen Planopilaris With Hydroxychloroquine During the COVID-19 Pandemic, will be available in the June print issue of the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.

Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), two well-known drugs among dermatologists, have shown their efficacy in the inhibition of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication.1,2 HCQ is found to possess a better clinical safety profile, more potency, and fewer drug–drug interactions compared to chloroquine.3 HCQ has been reported to exert efficacy in the inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro replication through diverse mechanisms. First, it interferes with the glycosylation of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), resulting in a subsequent reduction in the binding efficacy between ACE2 on host cells and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Second, it blocks the fusion of the virus to the host cell. Finally, it suppresses the “cytokine storm” accountable for the disease progression to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Although studies are underway to confirm the in vivo effectiveness of HCQ in the SARS-CoV-2 infection, promising primary results have led to a shortage of the drug for dermatologic purposes, which is a real concern in the current pandemic.1

While we are amid a pandemic with the possible shortage of HCQ, dermatologists should be reminded that:

  • The anti-inflammatory effect of HCQ may improve the clinical signs of LPP; however, administration of this drug is insufficient to prevent the subclinical disease progression.9 Dermatologists may discontinue the use of HCQ in responders after 1 year with monitoring the patients for recurrence or relapse.5
  • Topical and intralesional super potent corticosteroids are recommended as the first-line treatment in localized LPP.4
  • Oral cyclosporine followed by systemic corticosteroid may be the most effective medications in LPP; however, disease relapse may be detected.10 Mycophenolate mofetil has a more favorable safety profile compared to cyclosporine11 but the immunosuppressive nature of these medications necessitates extreme caution toward their administration during COVID-19 pandemic.12
  • Acitretin (25 mg/day) may be an appropriate alternative since it has shown improvement in 66% of patients.7
  • Pioglitazone (hypoglycemic drug, 15–30 mg/day) has shown some efficacy in the treatment of LPP and can be considered as an alternative to HCQ.4
  • Tetracyclines antibiotics can also be considered as an alternative due to favorable outcomes in previous studies.13

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Webinar Series Held to Assist Dermatology Practitioners During COVID-19

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3,644 registrants and 1,644 participants in COVID19 webinar

On April, 1, 2020, the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD) and SanovaWorks brands, including Skin of Color Update, launched Part I of the webinar series: COVID-19: Urgent Dermatology and Aesthetic Issues for Dermatology.

Over the course of the 2 hours, Joel L. Cohen, MD and 6 different thought leaders joined the COVID-19 conversation, discussing the pressing questions that are on the minds of many dermatologists and providers in the country. The initial broadcast attracted 1,900 registrants and nearly 800 attendees comprised of physicians, residents, fellows, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.  Attendees were interested and engaged throughout the entire 2 hours with a 76% average attentiveness and 72% average interest rating.

The on-demand broadcast has attracted over 500 registrants as of April 9th and is available on JDDonline.com.

On April 7, 2020, Part II of the webinar series was broadcasted: COVID-19: Your Questions Answered. Dermatology experts and thought leaders examined the legal and financial concerns of dermatology providers during the global coronavirus pandemic. Experts discussed furlough vs. layoffs; mortgage and rent relief programs; the CARES Act; the pros and cons of leveraging NPs or PAs for teledermatology and more. Then, hear questions answered by our panel of experts; discussed practical tips you can use in your practice right now; and how to move forward with patient care. Part II attracted 1,300 registrants with nearly 700 attendees. Attendees were engaged and interested throughout with an 82% attentiveness average and 75+% interest rating.

The on-demand broadcast of Part II will be available on April 11, 2020 on JDDonline.com.

Challenging Cases in Skin of Color Dermatology Patients

By | Media Coverage, Medical Dermatology, Sessions | No Comments
Skin of Color patient dermatology cases

Source: Next Steps in Derm

This year at the 17th Annual ODAC Dermatology, Aesthetic & Surgical Conference (ODAC), Dr Amy McMichael presented the audience with new pearls of advice on how to approach and diagnose complex medical dermatology cases in patients with skin of color. During her session, she addressed the important need for providers to be able to recognize disease in patients of all races. The majority of the global population consists of people with skin of color and the US population is changing to include a higher percentage of patients with diverse backgrounds. She covered a wide range of diagnoses from psoriasis to melasma and how these may present differently is darker skin types. As she walked the audience through each case it became apparent that being able to recognize and treat certain conditions in patients with skin of color is not only essential but also complex in nature.

First, Dr McMichael summarized the top conditions that African American patients were evaluated for during a dermatologist visit. The top 6 conditions included:

This helped to set the scene for the first case involving a 40-year-old African American female with hidradenitis suppurativa presenting with draining gluteal plaques. Even though the biopsy showed granulomatous dermatitis, the patient was not improving with multiple treatments and developed worsening pain and drainage from gluteal plaques. On a second biopsy the pathology showed psoriasis with granulomatous changes. The patient eventually improved with the systemic treatment Humira, a TNF-a inhibitor. Her major takeaways from this case included:

  • Do a second biopsy if the patient’s skin is not responding as expected to the treatment you have prescribed
  • Psoriasis can have a unique presentation similar to existing hidradenitis
  • Use systemic treatments early to help control symptoms

Second, she tackled the challenge of treating melasma with combination therapies. In melasma, there is too much melanin being created by melanocytes and it is then carried by keratinocytes. These cells then release melanin into the dermis, causing blotchy pigmentation often on the face. Topical therapies are usually directed towards preventing increased creation of melanin by melanocytes. People often use hydroquinone 2% or 4% along with encouragement of consistent daily sunscreen use. If used at too high of a concentration, then hydroquinone may cause ochronosis (skin becomes bluish – grey).

Dr McMichael suggested adding a novel treatment called cysteamine to the regimen for melasma treatment for more effective results. Cysteamine is an aminothiol that is made in our cells from the amino acid cysteine. Although more interest is arising now for its use in treating melasma, cysteamine was actually researched in 1966 when scientist Dr Chavin injected it into black goldfish skin and observed partial depigmentation. Cysteamine 5% cream may be a more effect treatment for melasma with less side effects.

Another novel treatment Dr McMichael discussed was the use of tranexamic acid for resistant melasma. This is another derivative of an amino acid, lysine, and it works as an anti-fibrinolytic. It has the ability to block UV-induced plasmin activity within keratinocytes. Patients would need to be screened out by their providers for a past medical history of DVT, pulmonary embolism, heart disease, and stroke before starting the oral medication. She emphasized the importance of getting a good medical history related to these conditions since tranexamic acid could increase the risk of these conditions. For patients who are able to take the medication they are expected to experience a few side effects such as mild GI upset and palpitations. This medication could provide improvement for many patients with chronic melasma who have had to struggle with this condition.

Third, in the next case we were reminded by Dr McMichael that keloids can be very disfiguring and distressful to patients. She talked about using intralesional Kenalog with contact cryotherapy as effective treatments of keloids. Other options for treatment included combining cryosurgery, intralesional Kenalog, and doxycycline. It was eye opening for the audience to hear her say we should be thinking about keloids not just as scars but tumors representing overgrowth of tissue. This paradigm shift of how we think about keloids can further shape how we think about treatment modalities for keloids as well.

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Patient Buzz: At-Home Laser Hair Removal – The Expert Weighs In

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At Home Laser Hair Removal Devices. Are they safe and effective?

Marie Clairerecently posted a list of the magazine’s top devices for at-home laser hair removal, noting their budget-friendly appeal. But are these devices safe and effective? How should you counsel your patients?

For an expert opinion, I consulted dermatologist Eliot F. Battle Jr., MD, CEO and co-founder of Cultura Dermatology & Laser Center in Washington, D.C., clinical instructor in the Howard University Department of Dermatology, and Co-Chair of the Skin of Color Update.

How do at-home laser hair removal devices compare in effectiveness with in-office laser hair removal?

At-home laser hair removal devices have now been available for more than a decade. Just like most gadgets, you get what you pay for, so buyer beware. The devices range from using an intense pulsed light source to using actual diode lasers, although with a much lower energy source then office-based devices. Regardless of which device patients choose, at-home devices do not compare with the efficacy and speed of office-based laser systems. At-home devices are very slow. Because of the amount of time it takes to treat an area and their decrease in efficacy as compared with office-based lasers, I view at-home devices more as “hair-growth delay” devices than “hair-reduction” devices. They can be used alone or as maintenance treatments to office-based hair removal. The main limitations are they are best utilized on smaller areas and are contraindicated on patients with skin of color or tanned skin.

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Skin of Color Update Co-Chair Dr. Eliot Battle Shares Insights into 2019 Faculty and Topics

By | Sessions, Skin of Color Update Agenda | No Comments

Skin of Color Update Co-Chair, Dr. Eliot Battle, discusses the elite faculty lineup and topics planned this year including hair loss, keloids, rosacea, acne, lasers, aesthetic treatments, skin cancer, medical dermatology, melasma, hyperpigmentation, vitiligo, inflammatory diseases and much, much more!

Skin of Color Update 2019 (previously Skin of Color Seminar Series) is the largest CE event dedicated to trending evidence-based research and new practical pearls for treating skin types III – VI. Attendees leave with critical annual updates and fresh practical pearls in skin of color dermatology.

Join us this year in New York City, September 7-8, 2019! Register today at https://skinofcolorupdate.com/registration-hotel-2019/

Co-Chair Dr. Alexis Shares the Exciting 2019 Program Highlights

By | Sessions, Skin of Color Update Agenda | No Comments

Skin of Color Update 2019 (previously Skin of Color Seminar Series) is the largest CE event dedicated to trending evidence-based research and new practical pearls for treating skin types III – VI. Attendees leave with critical annual updates and fresh practical pearls in skin of color dermatology. Earn CE in New York City with direct access to elite experts and an experience unmatched by any other event in dermatology.

Skin of Color Update CCCA

Pearls from Primary Cicatricial Alopecias in Black Women

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Hair Apparent: A Multi-Part Series on Hair Disorders – Part II

Dermatology residents from throughout the Washington DC area recently convened at a recent hair disorders symposium, where distinguished experts in the field of hair disorders discussed the evaluation, work-up, and treatment of a wide variety of alopecias and scalp disorders. A treasure trove of clinical pearls was shared along the way, and the attendees learned a host of new strategies to apply to the management of hair loss, which is both widely prevalent and frequently undertreated. Attend Skin of Color Update in to learn more or continuing reading below.

This post is the second of a multi-part series that summarizes salient points from each of the lectures, as well as strategies that residents can add to their alopecia armamentarium.

 

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Patient received chemical peel

Staying Ahead of the Game in Skin of Color Dermatologic Care

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The optimal treatments for skin of color patients seeking dermatologic care are constantly changing. Keeping up to date with the latest advances in the field, both medical and aesthetic, can prove to be difficult and overwhelm even the most brilliant dermatologist. With a growing recognition that constant training and direct access to skin of color thought leaders is necessary to be at the forefront of trending evidence-based research, leading experts in the field are joining forces to ensure skin of color patients receive the care they need. Among these experts are Dr. Andrew Alexis and Dr. Eliot Battle, co-chairs of the Skin of Color Seminar Series, the largest CE event dedicated to patients with skin types III – VI. With an unparalleled agenda and an esteemed faculty of KOL’s, this is probably THE event all dermatologists wanting to stay up to date on all skin of color medical and aesthetic advances must attend.

Always a highlight of the Skin of Color Seminar Series, attendees have the rare opportunity to ask their most pressing questions to the world’s top skin of color dermatology experts.

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