Yale dermatologist writes guide to total skin health

May 11, 2000

Straightforward advice and practical answers to the most commonly asked skin health questions can now be found in "Total Skin: The Definitive Guide to Whole Skin Care For Life," a new book by David J. Leffell, M.D., professor of dermatology and surgery at Yale School of Medicine.

Skin, Leffell said, is the largest and one of our most familiar organs, but it is also one of the least understood. Technological advances in skin treatments such as lasers and the advent of surgical and non-surgical procedures for skin cancer and skin rejuvenation, has created a need for accessible information about skin health.

The new book aims to meet those needs and more, Leffell said. "My goal was to write a book that educates and informs the reader in easy-to-understand terms that avoid fancy medical jargon," said Leffell, a member of the team that recently completed research on a new non-laser device for removing wrinkles. "I address overall skin care issues, including skin cancer prevention strategies, as well as achieving radiance and looking younger."

An additional goal of the heavily illustrated book, Leffell added, was to highlight the contributions of university research to everyday advances that are often taken for granted.

Although half the book is devoted to anti-aging and skin rejuvenation, a major part of Total Skin addresses skin cancer prevention and treatment. Melanoma, a lethal kind of skin cancer, is of special concern for many readers. Total Skin describes how to do a self-skin exam, how to make sure dermatologists check skin from head to toe, how to ensure that biopsy specimens are sent to the correct laboratory, and what to look for so that melanoma will be diagnosed at the earliest possible stage.

"I discuss some new technologies regarding diagnosing melanoma, but for now the best machine for diagnosing skin cancer early are the two eyes of your dermatologist," said Leffell, a member of the Yale team that identified the skin cancer gene several years ago.

Leffell said Total Skin differs from most other skin care books because it is written by a physician and reflects both day-to-day clinical experience and direct knowledge of cutting edge advances. The book also helps readers distinguish between the bevy of available skin care products and includes a chapter on alternative care.

"I highlight what works, why and what ingredients to look for in the product guide included in the book," said Leffell, who is also director of the Yale Faculty Practice. "There are many products being marketed with unproven claims and Total Skin attempts to help the reader become an intelligent consumer of skin products."
Published by Hyperion, Total Skin will be available in bookstores on May 17. Additional information is available at http://www.totalskinmd.com.

Yale University

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