New York, NY — A new study found that people who take their first appointment online have lower rates of hair loss and facial hair.
The study by researchers at the University of California San Francisco, published online March 1 in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at 1,400 women who had previously had an appointment online or in person at a salon, salon that used a computer system and/or computerized hair appointment.
They found that online appointments led to lower rates among women who were younger and who were white, as well as those who were more likely to be Caucasian, Hispanic, black and Asian, said senior author Dr. Michael M. Leung, professor of dermatology at UCSF and associate professor of cosmetic and oral surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center.
The researchers also found that the online appointments had a negative impact on the appearance of the face, the researchers said.
“We’ve known for some time that online consultations can be time-consuming and painful,” said Dr. Leuk, who is also director of UCSF’s Center for Online Surgery.
“It may not be a problem when you’re using your own computer to do it, but when you use someone else’s, you may have to wait for it to complete,” he said.
Online consultations, however, are not limited to those using a computer.
In fact, a study published in March by researchers from Harvard Medical School found that about 70 percent of women surveyed had an online consultation with a physician.
“The online consultation may be viewed as a way to get better care, but it’s also an opportunity to be unprofessional,” said co-author Dr. David J. DeAngelo, a professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Harvard.
The online appointments are more likely for those who are older, have a family history of facial hair loss or are in a poor health condition, he said, as compared with other types of appointments.
“There’s a big cost associated with the online consultation,” DeAngelo said.
The findings are based on data collected from 1,404 women over the course of five years.
The average age of the study participants was 40.
The average age was 58 for women who received their first online appointment.
The participants were white and had a family income between $50,000 and $70,000.
The women also had been diagnosed with melanoma, a skin cancer that causes a large number of hair follicles to die off and is usually aggressive.
They were younger than average in race, and had less facial hair than those without melanoma.
The participants also were younger in age, were more Caucasian and had lower levels of skin cancer than the general population, and they had lower income.
In addition, they had a lower number of self-reported facial hair and were more frequent users of facial and oral hygiene products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash.
Online consultation rates fell in the following categories: men, older people, younger people, white people, Hispanics and Asians, and those who had diabetes.
Women who were at higher risk for facial hair reduction or other complications of facial cancer, such over time, were less likely to attend an online appointment, and were less than 10 percent less likely than the average for the general adult population to have an online visit.
The most common reason for not having an online appearance was “too busy,” with 30 percent of participants saying it was due to “work and family,” compared with 17 percent of those who did not have any health problems.
Dr. Leulong said online consultations are a good option for those with limited financial resources and other reasons for scheduling a consultation.
“But for those women who do need to see a doctor, the cost is high and it may not always be worth it,” he noted.
He said that women who have a more serious condition, such a malignant melanoma or a skin disease, should also consider using the online system, but that the benefits are not as obvious.
“These women may not have the resources to visit a dermatologist for a skin exam, and it might not be worth the inconvenience of having to call them for an appointment,” he added.
“However, for those conditions that are potentially curable, I would suggest that patients have the opportunity to schedule an appointment at a dermatology office and receive a diagnosis, if they have any, and have the option to be tested by a specialist or have a follow-up appointment,” Leulung said.
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