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Issue 2 (2004)

Book Review
M. Kerscher

Steinkopff Verlag, Darmstadt 2004. 168 pages
51 color illustrations, hardback
84,95 Euro. ISBN 3-7985-1455-0

Dermocosmetics, respectively „Dermatocosmetics“ as referred to by the author, indubitably pertain to the fields in dermatology which have gained most in interest in the last years. Nevertheless, so far only few relevant monographs have been published in German-speaking countries which edit the existent knowledge in appropriate manner. The author is without doubt particularly predestined to draw up a work of the kind, as she holds the first pertinent professorship in the scope of the study course cosmetics and personal hygiene at Hamburg University as dermatologist.

After introduction in anatomy and physiology of skin, the issues skin ageing, dry skin, sensitive/hypersensitive skin and finally seborrhoeic skin tending to acne are addressed. The products to be applied are dealt with in chapters topical Dermatocosmetics, Botulinumtoxine, injectable implants and chemical peeling. An essential emphasis is laid on the didactic representation of the latest standard of knowledge, substantiated by current scientific literature. The author deals with the subject matter in a critical manner – reflecting her objective opinion towards the subject. Thus, she already explains in the preface: “also if many dermatologists realize dermatocosmetic treatment concepts successfully in clinic and practice, there is still a lack of published, evidence-based scientific data”.

Possibly the greatest interest in externally applicable products is at present focused on skin ageing and its control. It can be noticed that there is a stringent critical approach on this aspect continuing the general tenor of commentations, for example relating to the keyword coenzyme Q10, she points out that only scarce scientific data are available to the factual clinical anti ageing effectiveness of this substance. To safeguard the interests of the users, an approach of the kind does not have to lead to a therapeutically respective prophylactic nihilism nowadays. Accordant, the author refers in the context of alpha-lipoic acid to the superior effect of a five-percent cream at facial skin damaged by light influence compared to placebo. Extensively, the significance of vitamin C preparations is stressed, however the fundamental study by Humbert is not referred to in this context.

Whoever deals in-depth with dermocosmetic research may in some passages opine differently to the author. Thus, in the chapter “Treatment principle of seborrhoeic skin” the author explains that soaps should not be used at an existent tendency towards acne, considering the aspect of skin-surface-pH. The comprehensively documented scientific argumentation of the ‘acidic’ skin cleansing on basis of a differential influence on the microbial skin flora is however not discussed and neither reference made to a confirmatory study for the proof of superiority of a syndet soap bar adjusted to pH 5.5 compared to conventional soaps.

It will seem important to pharmacists and cosmetic chemists that the progress in the field of galenics is also particularly accounted for in the book. Thus for example the significance of active agent carriers as liposomes is referred to in different issues for instance in the context of light protection agents.

In the overall view it can be established that the present work represents a current, enfolding and well-balanced introduction into the world of dermocosmetics with its meanwhile very fascinating phenomena. For this aim, particular thanks are expressed to the author and her book is recommended to all persons interested in dermopharmacy.

Prof. Dr. med. H. C. Korting, Munich


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