Pick Your Poison

Charleston is full of outdoor fun. Parks, trails, water activities and more fill our Lowcountry Summer days. However, with our tropical type climate comes a wide variety of beautiful foliage- and some are better seen from afar!
Poison Ivy, Sumac and Oak are abundant in our area. They each contain a resinous sap called urushiol that can cause a rash when it comes in contact with the skin. Without even direct contact some can form a rash from these plants.
When you know you’ve been in contact with any of these pesky plants, or a rash/itch develops, immediately rinse the area with warm water. Once the sap has soaked into the skin topical treatments, oatmeal baths and antihistamines can relieve the symptoms of contact.  

Poison Sumac
Poison Oak
Poison Ivy
Rashes between the three plants are basically the same. Showing in red bumps, red streaking hives and sometimes even blisters. Also, contrary to belief the rash is NOT contagious. So while gardening, letting kids play or just smelling the roses be aware of surrounding plants, and take precautions. Untreated rashes can become severe and rarely airways or eyes can become affected.

Know Who is Doing Your Proceedures

You may see a dermatologist each year for your annual skin check (and that is AWESOME!), but whom do you see for cosmetic needs? Do you have a favorite spa, Aesthetician or MediSpa?

For some procedures an experienced technician may be fine, but, cosmetic or not, any treatments can be dangerous and need to be handled with the utmost safety. It’s not always just the training/certification to be cautious about. You want to think of how much experience the practitioner has had, the environment of the treatment and any malpractice activity.

For instance, some aestheticians are very capable in injections (such as Botox) but their practice (such as a spa) is not capable of dealing with a medically allergic reaction or other complications that could occur. Also, understanding of the law is important. In most cases those preforming these procedures, under state law, must be supervised by a licensed medical professional.

Dr. Germain is proud to let all patients know that she personally performs all injections and oversees each procedure done in her office.  She personally makes sure each patient has the best, and safest, treatment Germain Dermatology can offer.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, consumers should ask the following questions:
Q: What are the doctor’s credentials and is he or she board-certified?A: Remember, dermatologists are physicians with extensive education, training and experience in keeping the skin, hair and nails healthy.
Q: How many of these particular cosmetic surgery procedures has the physician performed?A: The procedure should be one that the doctor performs regularly. Ask to see before-and-after photos of previous patients.
Q: What result can I expect and are there any risks?A: Because your results depend largely on the skill and experience of the person performing the procedure, it is important to select a board-certified physician. A dermatologist can tell you if the procedure will deliver the desired results, based on the condition of your skin as well as your age and health

Reminder of Your Past?

Many of us had a wild hair or two growing up- some are stuck with a rather permanent reminder- a tattoo. Tattoos have been dated back to 2000 B.C. on Egyptian mummies, but didn’t gain western popularity until the electric tattoo machine was invented in 1860. In the late 1950’s tattoos took a switch from lower class ideals to the creative, artistic and higher status cultures- being more socially accepted.

It has long been said that removing a tattoo is an intense procedure, but thanks to modern technology, and the correct environment, tattoo removal has become a much more simple task. Whether it’s stretched, faded or a spur of the moment choice you no longer love removing a tattoo is more of an option now than ever.
“There are many tattoo removal kits available online, but the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that it does not regulate these products. Some kits contain acid, which has caused permanent skin injuries,” AAD.org.
Tattoos can be safely removed, in office, with topical anesthetic and special lasers called Q-switched lasers.  These lasers can break up tattoo ink into small particles that the body can eliminate. With the Q-switched laser scarring is rare and there are many types of lasers covering a range of the color spectrum. Previously black ink was the easiest to remove. It, however, still takes many treatment sessions to remove a tattoo, and some still cannot be completely removed.

Bachelorette Vienna Girardi removing her tattoo.
Photo Courtesy of WetPaint.come
Contact us today to discuss your options of tattoo removal.
*Make sure when caring for your existing tattoo(s) remember to apply sunscreen to prevent fading, and check tattooed areas just as carefully for suspicious moles/marks.

Stairway to Smooth & ‘Sun’ Kissed

We’ve given you tips and tricks to avoid the sun, protect yourself from the sun and even how to care for your skin if you get too much sun… But do you know how to fake the sun? We can help! Get perfectly sun kissed, smooth, skin without the side effects!
Laser hair removal should be done in months where you don’t expose your skin to harmful UV Rays, and indoor tanning/outdoor tanning is a BIG NO-NO. Here is the professional lowdown on that perfectly sunless tan and baby smooth skin.
1- Exfoliate. Use a washcloth to exfoliate the skin prior to applying a self-tanner. Using an exfoliating product also will help remove dead skin cells. Spend a little more time exfoliating where your skin is thickest — elbows, knees and ankles.
2- Shave. Do this at LEAST an hour before you apply, 24 hours before if you have sensitive skin. Before you shave, wet your skin and hair to soften it. Taking a shower or bath is a great way to soften your hair. Next, apply a shaving cream or gel.
Be sure to shave in the direction that the hair grows.
*Change blades or throw away disposable razors after 5 to 7 shaves to help minimize irritation.

3- Dry your skin. Drying your skin before you apply a self-tanner helps it go on evenly.
4- Apply in sections. Apply the self-tanner in sections (such as the arms, then legs, followed by the torso). Massage the self-tanner into your skin in a circular motion.
Wash your hands after each section. You will avoid orange-colored palms by washing your hands with soap and water after you finish applying the self-tanner to each section of your body.
Tips for the best applications:

*Blend at your wrists and ankles. For a natural look, you need to lightly extend the tanner from your wrists to your hands and from your ankles to your feet.
*Dilute over your joints. Dilute the self-tanner on the knees, ankles and elbows, because these areas tend to absorb more self-tanner than the rest of the skin. To dilute, lightly rub with a damp towel or apply a thin layer of lotion on top of the self-tanner.

5- Give your skin time to dry. Wait at least 10 minutes before getting dressed. For the next three hours, it is best to wear loose clothing and try to avoid sweating.

Plan Ahead with Laser Hair Removal

It’s the season to bare all… well at least more than normal… and hairiness is an issue many woman (and some men) want to erase. However, many don’t know that summer is NOT the season to have hair removal procedures. Why? If it is your first procedure it can take anywhere from six to eight treatments to have the best results. You’re not popping in with unwanted hair and leaving ready for the beach. Secondly, you cannot have sun exposure (a tan or burn or sunless tanned skin) when getting the treatment. You also need to stay out of the sun for about a week afterwards or you risk discoloration.
The best idea is to receive the procedure in mid to late winter when you can successfully receive the treatment and safely remain out of the sun afterwards.   Also, dermatologists recommend getting follow-up treatments every four-to-six or six-to-eight weeks. If you finish your initial procedure late winter you will have a full two months to just enjoy!
For the full scoop on Laser Hair Removal visit our previous Blog Post.