Lighten Up! The skinny on Melasma

With summer rapidly approaching, it is important that residents of the Lowcountry protect themselves against skin conditions. While many people are aware of conditions such as melanoma, not many are aware of the more common condition known as melasma. 

Melasma is a common skin problem that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. It is common for most people to get it on their cheeks, the bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, or above their upper lip. In rare instances, it can appear on other parts of the body that gets lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck. Statistics show that women are much more likely to get melasma than men. In fact, it is so common during pregnancy that it is sometimes referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”. 

Studies have also shown that people with darker skin, such as those of Latin/Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern,  and Mediterranean descent are more likely to get melasma. It is not life threatening, however many people dislike the way melasma makes their skin look.
Lauren Before – patches of melasma
on forehead 
Lauren after – using Germain Rx Products
& utilizing laser procedures 

Common melasma triggers include:
Sun Exposure: Ultraviolent (UV) light from the sun can stimulate the melanocytes. In fact, just a small amount of sun exposure can make melasma return after fading, which is why melasma is often worse in the summer.  It is also why many people with melasma get it multiple times.
A change in hormones: Pregnant women often get melasma. When it appears in pregnant women, it is called or chloasma or the “mask of the pregnancy”. Birth control pills and hormone replacement medicine can also trigger melasma. 

Cosmetics: Skin care products that irritate the skin may worsen melasma.

If the melasma doesn’t fade, there are many treatment options available that we can offer. These include hydroquinone, topical medicines and laser procedures. 
Here’s some easy ways to manage melasma

* Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat
* Use your medicine as directed 
* See Dr. Germain and her staff regularly. 

Too much sun?

Although it’s not Maui, (pictured above) spending
time in the sun anywhere affects your skin 

Many people hit the beach in Charleston this weekend, from Isle of Palms to Folly Beach, the lure of the lulling sounds of the ocean is quite the aphrodisiac. We know that hitting the beach is one of the most relaxing things that people in the Lowcountry do, but we just want you to know that if you do spend a little too much time out there, you should know what to look for. 

A sunburn usually appears within a few hours after sun exposure and may take several days or longer to fade. Intense sun exposure that results in sunburn increases your risk of certain complications and related skin diseases. These include dry, wrinkled skin, liver spots, actinic keratoses, and skin cancer, including melanoma.
You can prevent sunburn and the related skin conditions by protecting your skin whenever you’re outdoors, even on cloudy days. 

Sun poisoning also know as Photodermatitis:
Whether on the beach or at the lake, you can get sun poisoning

Photodermatitis is an abnormal skin reaction to sunlight, or more specifically to ultraviolet rays.  It occurs when your immune system reacts to UV rays.  

You may develop a rash, blisters, or scaly patches. Some of the symptoms include: 
itchy bumps, blisters, or raised areas, Lesions that resemble eczema, outbreaks in areas of skin exposed to light, pain, redness, swelling, chills, headache, fever, and nausea. Almost sounds like the flu! 
Certain areas of your body are extra sensitive so you need to be careful in places like your lips which sometimes includes a burning sensation in the lips, hot feeling, cracked lips, and the skin of the lip will be sensitive. Blisters and the changing of color of your lips may occur. 
The skin on your eyelids is very sensitive and thin, so make sure you wear wrap-around sunglasses to protect your eyes. Take care of your largest organ ~ the skin! 
So the next time you head out to the beaches or on the water, just remember to practice sun safety. Your skin will thank you for it! 

Celebrating National Women’s Health Week

This week is National Women’s Health Week, a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. 
All too often we see women who don’t take time out of their hectic schedules to take care of themselves…from soccer practices to ballet rehearsals for the kids, there just doesn’t seem like enough time in the day…and even if you don’t have children, doesn’t it seem you can barely make it home in time to have dinner most nights? We completely understand and most of us run the same rat race with you…which is why it’s imperative that weeks like National Women’s Health Week be observed. 
From scheduling your mammogram to your yearly skin check, this is a week to remind you that you work very hard and not to take your health for granted. It’s funny when the kids or our significant others get sick, we immediately call the doctor or tend to them right away but when we feel a little sniffle, we brush it off. It’s OK to be tough, it’s OK to work hard but don’t forget to take care of number one…you! 
Dr. Germain with her mom, Mimzi 
We’re not here to lecture but to let you know that we’re here for you, so take a moment…enjoy a glass of wine. And while you’re doing that, make your necessary appointments to keep you in tip-top shape on the inside and out. 
Some Facts about Women: 
Women comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018. 
Of the 122 million women age 16 years and over in the U.S., 72 million, or 59.2 percent, were labor force participants—working or looking for work.
Percent of women 18 years and over in fair or poor health: 14%
Percent of women 18 years and over who engaged in regular leisure-time physical activity: 32%
Percent of women 18 years and over who currently smoke: 18%
Percent of women 18 years and over who had 5 or more drinks in 1 day at least once in the past year: 14%
Women aged 39 and under have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer except breast cancer.
Between 1980 and 2004, the annual incidence of melanoma among young women increased by 50 percent, from 9.4 cases to 13.9 cases per 100,000 women.

Ladies, take a moment to take care of yourself!