Skin Cancer: Checking for Signs and Symptoms

Skin cancer is a disease that involves the uncontrollable, accelerated growth of mutated cells in the top layer of skin. This form of cancer is caused by damage to the DNA, especially by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. While effective treatments are available, minimizing risk of developing skin cancer in the first place is ideal. When it comes to preventing skin cancer, Charleston’s Germain Dermatology emphasizes the importance of regular self-checks and routine screenings with your dermatologist.

Skin cancer usually appears on sun-exposed skin, but can also sometimes be found on areas that are normally covered up or hidden from view.

However, in addition to prematurely aging the skin, too much UV radiation—from natural or artificial sources—can also make skin more susceptible to developing skin cancer, which can manifest as lesions and tumors.

Though there are many types of skin cancer, it can be divided into three primary groups of general concern: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. The more aggressive and deadly form, melanoma, can be fatal if left untreated, giving it the opportunity to spread to other organs.

Melanoma is closely linked to a history of intense sunburns experienced early in life and tends to show up as irregular-looking moles. Discovering and identifying such moles early is critical to maximizing cure rates.

Cancerous spots tend to have specific characteristics. In particular, watch for moles that are asymmetrical, have undefined borders, are strangely colored (red, brown, blue, or white), are larger than average, or are continually changing.

Fortunately, due to its typically highly visible nature, skin cancer can often be identified early. In that regard, monthly self-assessments are critical. Be sure to physically examine yourself from head to toe—and have someone look over parts that are difficult to see, such as the back. If you notice suspicious changes that concern you, a dermatologist can perform a total body skin cancer screening. This typically lasts between 10 to 15 minutes. If cancer is suspected, a further skin biopsy may be necessary for diagnosis.

Learn more about skin cancer screenings from Germain Dermatology. For general inquiries or to request a consultation, call the Charleston-area practice at (843) 881–4440 or fill out a contact form.

What is a Vampire Facial?

Halloween may be over, but it’s now that time of the year when cooler, drier weather sets in and the days become darker. Currently, the natural look is in and more women are opting to ditch heavy makeup in favor of showing off their actual skin. If your own skin is looking a little dull and lackluster, microneedling combined with platelet-rich plasma (PRP)—sometimes referred to by patients as a “vampire facial”—may be just the thing to revitalize your complexion.

Microneedling with PRP is one of the many services offered in Summerville and Mt. Pleasant at Germain Dermatology. The treatment is effective when used on its own, but patients can enjoy even more benefits when it is combined with PRP or hyaluronic acid treatments. Patients with enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, uneven texture, and lax skin may see improvements after a single session.

The microneedling device, which is rolled across the skin, consists of needles that are just right for puncturing it at the perfect depth.

There are two primary benefits associated with microneedling. Since fine lines and scars can be more noticeable in dehydrated skin during the colder months, microneedling facials give your skin a much-needed pick-me-up by taking advantage of the body’s natural healing process to promote collagen production. The tiny injuries encourage generation of collagen and can be useful for the thinner, more delicate areas of skin, such as around the eyes, which some other cosmetic treatments aren’t designed for.

Additionally, the hundreds of micro-channels this facial creates in the epidermis help to better prepare it for topical products that may be applied afterward—like PRP. By some counts, up to 70 percent of the ingredients in a topically applied product can penetrate and be absorbed by the skin.

In a “vampire facial,” a small amount of the patient’s own blood, containing a high concentration of platelets, is reintroduced to the facial skin. This can result in a more youthful-looking, glowing complexion, as well as boost and enhance the outcome from a microneedling session.

Ready to kickstart your pre-winter beauty routine with microneedling with PRP, or other cosmetic treatments available from Germain Dermatology? Don’t hesitate to give the practice serving Mt. Pleasant and Summerville a call at 843-881-4440 for more details or schedule a consultation.

Post-Summer Skin Renewal: Microdermabrasion with SilkPeel® Dermalinfusion

Fall is finally here, and along with it comes cooler, windier weather, changing colors in the leaves, and everything pumpkin spice flavored. As you bundle up and prepare to spend a lot more time indoors, this is the perfect time to give your skin some much-needed extra TLC—especially after months of intense summertime sun and heat. For those hoping to revitalize the appearance of their skin, the Germain Dermatology team offers SilkPeel® Dermalinfusion as an option for microdermabrasion in Charleston.

Summer activities can be exciting, but there’s no doubt they can put your facial skin through the ringer. In addition to blistering sunburns that can leave your skin flaky and scaly, spending a lot of time in chlorinated water can result in dry, cracked, irritated skin. Over time, UV radiation from the sun’s burning rays penetrates and even warps the DNA of skin cells.

In other words, sun exposure can accelerate premature aging—in addition to increasing your risk for certain health problems.

Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive cosmetic technique for enhancing skin tone and texture, good for treating everything from sun damage, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles, to fine lines, age spots, acne scarring, and melasma. SilkPeel® Dermalinfusion, a specific type of microdermabrasion, is particularly helpful for addressing typical symptoms of summer skin damage, like oily skin, dryness, wrinkles, and sunspots on the face, neck, and other sun-exposed areas.

During treatment, the pen-shaped, diamond-plated device performs three functions: exfoliating the outer skin layer, removing the dead skin cells and debris, and infusing the pores with customized treatments. This helps nourishing serums to penetrate the deeper layers of skin for increased efficiency. Just one treatment, lasting around half an hour, results in a more radiant complexion, visible virtually as soon as the session is over.

Make summer skin damage a thing of the past with SilkPeel® Dermalinfusion, so you can embrace fall with a bright and vibrant face. To find out more about microdermabrasion alternatives available at our Charleston, SC, practice, don’t hesitate to contact Germain Dermatology. Request a consultation online or call us directly at 843-881-4440.

EMSCULPT® for Firmer Thighs and More

Smoothing out bulges on “trouble areas” of the body is often about more than simply targeting excess fat. Muscle toning also plays a major role in determining body contours. One of the newest innovations in nonsurgical fat reduction, EMSCULPT®, has rapidly grown in popularity in the last year, among both physicians and patients throughout the country. At Germain Dermatology, our team based in Charleston, SC, offers EMSCULPT® to transform the shape of the abdomen, butt, and more with a series of 30-minute sessions.

EMSCULPT® is not designed to reduce large amounts of fat—and it’s not a substitute for regular exercise. Rather, patients who are close to their ideal weight but who haven’t been able to improve some bulging areas or excess fat deposits can benefit from EMSCULPT®. Patients who choose the body contouring treatment can return to their regular activities right away without downtime, and there are much fewer risks involved than with surgical procedures.

The EMSCULPT® applicator works by emitting high-intensity radiofrequency energy, which triggers thousands of rapid muscle contractions as it moves through the skin and tissue. For optimal results, patients often choose to schedule multiple treatments.

EMSCULPT® is most often used to tone the abdomen and as a non-invasive butt lift, but it also has off-label applications for the arms and posterior thighs. The lower body is often a problem area for women, as fat tends to accumulate in that area. When used on the thighs, EMSCULPT® can create a longer, leaner appearance, as well as more balanced contours.

However, unlike the fat freezing technique used for CoolSculpting®, which simply destroys adipose tissue, EMSCULPT® does more than eliminate fat. The electromagnetic energy promotes supramaximal contractions to develop muscle fibers, thereby increasing muscle mass. This creates a more toned appearance, instead of a simply leaner look.

EMSCULPT® can enhance the results of regular workouts by strengthening and stabilizing the muscle areas in a way that would be difficult to accomplish even with the most intense strength-training sessions. The muscles are activated at a much higher level than they are during traditional squats, lunges, sit-ups, or other strengthening exercises. The treatment increases muscle development by about 16 percent in isolated areas, according to some estimates.

Want to learn more about EMSCULPT® from the Charleston, SC-based Germain Dermatology? For more details, call 843-881-4440 or visit our main website and submit a consultation request.

Choosing the Right Treatment for Facial Wrinkles

While certain signs of aging are common to everyone, each person’s skin shows those signs in a unique combination of ways. One or two spots may form on the forehead, or many may develop across the face. Sagging may be minimal or significant. Wrinkles may appear as faint, superficial lines or deeper furrows.

Those wrinkles, in particular, are changes to the skin that many people want to address. When choosing an aesthetic solution, however, getting the most satisfying results requires awareness of which cosmetic techniques work best on the types of wrinkles being targeted. This is one of the reasons the Germain Dermatology team provides personalized consultations in the Charleston area. BOTOX®, for instance, has steadily become the world’s go-to solution for wrinkle reduction, but it only works on certain types of wrinkles in specific areas.

Dynamic Wrinkles/Expression Lines

There are around 43 different muscles in the face, all of them working together to help people convey emotions like anger, sadness, and surprise. BOTOX® and its similarly structured botulinum toxin-based counterparts DYSPORT® and XEOMIN® are good for addressing these dynamic wrinkles, which form due to repeated muscle movements.

Wrinkle-smoothing botulinum toxin temporarily relaxes the muscles that contract to form lines and creases. The effects typically last for a period of about three to four months. There are three types of dynamic wrinkles that are most commonly cited as the reason for a patient choosing this treatment: crow’s feet (crinkles around the outer corners of the eyes), horizontal forehead lines, and elevens (furrows between the eyebrows).

Static Wrinkles

Static wrinkles appear as a result of sun damage, smoking, age-related loss of collagen and other skin components, and long-term dynamic wrinkling. Dermal fillers and, to a lesser extent, resurfacing techniques like microdermabrasion and chemical peels, are highly effective on static wrinkles. JUVEDERM® is a dermal filler that contains a form of hyaluronic acid (a gel-like, transparent substance naturally produced in the body) that helps to regulate moisture levels in the skin. When injected, it adds volume to “fill in” wrinkles.

Treatments that exfoliate the face soften the appearance of these lines by taking away the dry, less flexible layers that make lines especially visible.

Gravitational Folds

Over time, gravity tugs on skin and fat, leading to sagging, which can disrupt the overall symmetry and contours of the face. Cheeks and temples may become sunken, and aging skin loses its strength and springiness. Ultherapy® can boost collagen production to lift skin, while dermal fillers add volume to plump and round out the areas where they are injected.

Which treatment is best? Again, it all depends on the patient—and how his or her skin has changed over time. The Germain Dermatology team is ready to help with any questions about wrinkle-reducing treatments like BOTOX® in the Charleston area. Call directly at 843-881-4440 or send a message online for more details.

Body Contouring to Get Your Best Summer Body

The official start of summer has come, which means for many of us that the countdown to get that perfect beach body is on. In addition to maintaining a successful workout program and healthy eating habits, having some subtle cosmetic “work” done can give anyone who is self-conscious about some physical aspect or another an extra boost of confidence. To that end, Germain Dermatology offers personalized options for women and men interested in CoolSculpting® in Charleston, SC.

The April to June period is an ideal time to get your body ready for bathing suits and parties, while perhaps shedding any extra pounds gained over the holidays. The weather is still cool enough to conceal any problem areas with heavier clothing.

Unfortunately, even with overall weight loss, it isn’t always easy to burn fat from more resistant areas (for example, a double chin). In our childhood and teenage years, we all develop a fairly set number of fat cells in certain body areas. The pattern of how fat tends to be distributed and stored is unique to each of us. That means, come summer, a bulge or two may remain despite months of effort put into slimming down.

Whether your goal is to create a sleeker silhouette or more balanced proportions, FDA-approved CoolSculpting® is one of the most effective, non-surgical ways of contouring your body into the shape you’ve wanted. The treatment can get rid of pesky, unwanted pockets of fat, whether below the chin, on the flanks, or in the form of a spare tire, muffin top, or love handles.

During the treatment session, adipose tissue is essentially frozen, irreparably damaged, and marked for removal from the body. The CoolSculpting® device zeroes in on fat in the targeted area, precisely cooling fat cells to a temperature they are unable to survive in while leaving surrounding skin and tissues unaffected. Up to 25 percent of fat cells in a specific area may be eliminated over time. Even better, there is little to no pain or down time required.

Summer has started, but it’s not too late to start shaping your body. After all, with proper care, the results will be around by the time next swimsuit season starts.

To learn more about CoolSculpting® in Charleston, SC—as well as other cosmetic fat reduction techniques—arrange a private consultation with Germain Dermatology online or call (843) 881-4440.

How Does Microdermabrasion Work?

Is it possible to buff and polish your skin to retain a youthful look? Microdermabrasion may be a buzzword in beauty circles, but aside from the most skin care-savvy among us, many people are unaware of how this treatment actually works on the complexion.

An excess of dead cells can accumulate on the surface of the skin, leading to a dry, flaky texture and a lackluster appearance. Microdermabrasion offers results that are more effective than a basic facial but less dramatic than laser resurfacing.

Patients of all skin types and tones who have acne scars, sun spots, age spots, dullness, uneven pigmentation, and clogged pores may benefit most from this cosmetic dermatological procedure. It can also have a positive impact on sensitive skin types, or patches of skin that have shown to be resistant to other forms of topical or cosmetic treatments.

Microdermabrasion sessions typically last about 40 minutes and offer a high level of precision when it comes to targeting skin cells. The treatment involves exfoliating dead skin to reduce the appearance of lesions and blemishes while generating an even, clear, and smooth complexion. People of all ages, from 20-somethings to those approaching their 50s or 60s, can benefit from its brightening and revitalizing effects.

There are several approaches used for microdermabrasion. Germain Dermatology offers SilkPeel®, which employs a diamond-tip handpiece. The tip gently scrubs the skin to abrade it, then suctions away loosened dead skin cells from the stratum corneum (the superficial layer of skin). The suction also serves to clear out pores. SilkPeel® simultaneously infuses the skin with hydrating serum, which penetrates into the deeper layers and gives the skin a fresher, plumper look.

While some patients may notice a difference after a single procedure, others may find they want to undergo multiple sessions to achieve their cosmetic goals or to maintain their results.

For more information about microdermabrasion and other available exfoliating treatments, contact Charleston, South Carolina’s Germain Dermatology directly by calling (843) 881-4440 or fill out an online contact form.

You Don’t Have to Settle for Just One Type of Laser Treatment

Life is full of either/or choices. You either get up when the alarm goes off or you hit snooze. You either turn left or you turn right. You either have that second cup of coffee, or you don’t. At Germain Dermatology, we believe that in some cases, you shouldn’t have to choose just one thing or the other. That’s why we offer Sciton® Halo™ for the Charleston, SC, area.

Most laser treatments fall into the same either/or mold. Either you get an ablative treatment that removes the outermost skin cells for a dramatic improvement with healing required, or you get a non-ablative treatment that goes below the surface to stimulate collagen production. Sciton® Halo™ is a laser treatment that does both.

The intensity of the treatment—and therefore the necessary recovery time and the scope of the results—is up to you. Sciton® Halo™ blends ablative and non-ablative technology for a customizable treatment that treats skin from the top down and the inside out.

Want more immediate results and have down time for recovery? Ask for a dialed-up treatment. Looking for more gradual improvements and not keen on recuperation? Back off the intensity for a milder session.

The rejuvenating effects can impact everything from spots and other signs of sun damage to tone irregularities. Sciton® Halo™ can reduce the appearance of certain scars and the size of overly large pores.

If you have a cosmetic concern, chances are good that there’s a mix of laser treatments that can help to address the problem. Find out more by calling Germain Dermatology at (843) 881-4440 or sending a message online.

Charleston Agrees: Dr. Marguerite Germain is the Best!

Looking for the best dermatologist in Charleston? Look no further than Germain Dermatology, where Dr. Marguerite Germain is still celebrating the April 24, 2019, announcement that she was named Best Dermatologist in City Paper’s annual readers’ poll.

And that’s not all! Germain Dermatology itself—serving Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, and all of South Carolina—was named Best Dermatology Practice.

The whole team decided to don fancy black dresses and delightfully vibrant pink wigs to socialize at City Paper’s celebratory shindig the day the issue hit the streets. In addition to marking this year’s win with the coordinated costumes, Dr. Germain and her staff were also celebrating the fact that the number of times the board-certified dermatologist has won this title now totals 14. That’s more than a dozen honors handed over with regularity.

That said, there is nothing regular about the accolades. Dr. Germain treats each year’s ballot as a fresh start, taking nothing for granted. Recognition is never her motivation. She maintains a professional and welcoming atmosphere no matter what. Each day, she focuses on helping patients with her extensive background in the field and on leading a team of like-minded professionals to provide advanced care with compassion, discretion, and skill.

Voters obviously recognize that commitment to care, which is why Dr. Germain and Germain Dermatology can be found in the Recreation, Health, and Beauty section of City Paper’s “Best” issue.

In honor of taking the title once again, Germain Dermatology is offering a 50 percent discount on any single full-price Germain Rx product. To find the coupon, which must be presented in order to get the deal, visit the Germain Dermatology Instagram feed. Note that it is limited to one per person, and must be used by June 30, 2019.

For more information about the “Best Dermatologist in Charleston” for 14 years in a row, and Germain Dermatology in general, call (843) 881-4440 or send a message online.

Why Does Laser Hair Removal Require Multiple Sessions?

Though the thought of long-term results from a single session of laser hair removal at Charleston, SC’s Germain Dermatology is a lovely one, it’s not a realistic one. Like most good things in life, ideal results come to those who wait—or at least those who complete multiple treatment sessions.

This process is not due to the strength of the laser or the skill of the operator, but to the nature of the hairs themselves.

First, an explanation: Laser hair removal works by sending light into the skin, which causes pigmented cells to heat up. They get so hot, in fact, that they become damaged. When this happens to the pigmented cells in a follicle, the damage inhibits the follicle’s hair-growing ability.

Unfortunately, this only works on follicles that are in the “actively growing” phase, known as anagen. Essentially, the heat damage disrupts the follicle’s normal cycle, which would typically continue from anagen to catagen (which gets the follicle ready to grow a new hair by shutting down the blood supply to the current hair) to telogen (which allows the follicle to rest before the new hair grows). By throwing a wrench into anagen, the current hair falls out—and the cycle does not resume for a significant amount of time.

Approximately 85 percent of a person’s hairs are in the anagen phase at any given time, so a laser hair removal session should catch the majority of hairs in an area. Subsequent sessions are necessary to get the remaining 15 percent. This can take a couple more sessions, since only about 85 percent of the hairs that are left will be in anagen next time.

Eventually, after an average of five sessions spaced weeks apart, the targeted region will be smooth—with no need for a razor or waxing or any other hair-removal method you used before.

Yes, the treatment requires some patience, but our patients agree the results are worth the effort—and the wait!

Learn more about laser hair removal in the Charleston, SC, area by calling (843) 881-4440 or sending a message to Germain Dermatology.