Karan Lal, DO: Hair Product Recall, Benzene Exposure, Ruxolitinib for Nonsegmental Vitiligo


A discussion with Dr. Lal on the topics of benefits of ruxolitinib treatment for nonsegmental vitiligo, as well as on the recent recall of hair products due to benzene risk.

In an interview with HCPLive, Karan Lal, DO, MS, FAAD, director of pediatric dermatology and cosmetic surgery for Affiliated Dermatology Scottsdale and social media chair of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, discussed recent news on the recall of hair care products due to benzene exposure risk as well as his view on vitiligo treatment.

The recent decision by consumer goods company Unilever to have a voluntary product recall of various popular dry shampoo aerosol products—such as those from brands such as TIGI, Dove, Nexxus, Suave, and TRESemmé—occured due to benzene exposure risk.

Lal spoke about the product recall, its relationship to sunscreen product recalls from the previous year, and on his recommendations for dermatologists.

“Benzene is an aromatic substance, a chemical, that is considered to be a potential carcinogen by the (US Food and Drug Administration),” he explained. “Benzene is found everywhere in the environment. It's found in gasoline, crude oil. And most importantly, cigarette smoke, believe it or not, the United States is 50. About 50% of the total exposure of the United States, when it comes to benzene, is cigarette smoke. So let's put that into perspective.”

Lal added that while there may be cause for concern with regard to benzene exposure in certain products, much of the concern should also be aimed at other risk areas.

“It really helps us in the skincare industry to be more conscious of what we're putting into our products,” he said. “So, I think it's going to refuel some energy that happened last year, when it came to making benzene-free things. I think that's going to come back and become more popular again. And it's going to start going into hair care. But I think like I said, the amount of exposure that you would likely get from everyday use of the dry shampoo, if you're using it the right way, would likely not cause it harm.”

The discussion shifted to the topic of nonsegmental vitiligo and its treatment with ruxolitinib cream for adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older. The decision marked the first FDA-approved treatment for repigmentation of the skin in those with the condition.

“The only thing that people need to realize is…it takes time,” he explained. “We just know that this medication, you know, at six months, about one in three patients is getting 75% facial repigmentation on the face. So that's 6 months. Okay, so that just tells me that when I see patients, I give them realistic expectations, your improvement will take a while.”

Lal also spoke on his expectations and hopes for the future of vitiligo research in the world of dermatology.

“There's two (companies) in particular that are working on ways to improve repigmentation of vitiligo with surgery,” he said. “So, kind of mainstreaming melanocyte keratinocyte transplant procedure and making it more accessible to people at my practice of Affiliated Dermatology in Scottsdale.”

Watch the full interview with Dr. Lal above to learn more about vitiligo research and the recent recall of hair products.

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