Safely Prolong Your Summer Glow

Spray Tan? Tanning Beds? Bronzers? Selfless Tanners?
Which is the best venue to prolong your glow?

With Kids back in school, schedules busier than ever and beach season coming to an end we all are starting to lose our beautiful sun-kissed glows that we’ve so proudly earned (Only after applying the proper amounts of sunscreen of course.).  It’s a fact that sun lightened hair and bronzed skin tones are a signature for being a Charlestonian, and it is a beautiful sight, only when earned safely; and like all great things this too does fade.
This is the time of year people used to start flocking the tanning beds desperately grasping onto every last bit of that summer touched look. Today most of us know how dangerous the fake-and-bake trend of the past is, however tanning salons everywhere are still opening and thriving. Thankfully advancements such as not allowing minors (under 18) to use indoor tanning salons, and explicit warning labels, have helped spread the word of their hazards.  These precautions may seem small but they seem to be a step in the right direction. “Prohibiting use of indoor tanning for all minors under the age of 18 is critical to preventing future skin cancers,” said Judith Knox, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Springfield Clinic, Springfield, IL. “For years, minors with parental permission have been allowed to visit tanning salons, and research shows that the incidence of melanoma has increased. These trends indicate a problem that is too great to ignore.”
Luckily in today’s beauty market there are thousands of items claiming to do help you achieve, accelerate and prolong your glow without UV exposure. You have bronzing powder, sunless lotions, creams and the ever more popular spray tan options.  Are all of these healthy and as safe as we are told?
The main thing to note is the ingredients. The most common ingredient in most of these products is “dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a color additive that darkens the skin by reacting with amino acids in the skin’s surface”.  DHA is approved and regulated for use in imparting color to the human body, but only for external application.  Therefore, According to the FDA most bronzing powders, tinted make-up, sunless lotions, etc are approved for external use and safe as long as used in this way.
Spray tan is an ever increasing trend, and other than not being a cancer risk most people don’t know much about it. The product used for spray tan usually contains the same DHA color additive that the other products we use has. However, when receiving a spray tan, or misting tan, the product has access to your mouth, eyes and your lungs through inhalation.

The FDA provides some great questions to ask about these spray tan sessions:

-Are consumers protected from exposure in the entire area of the eyes, in addition to the eyes themselves?
-Are consumers protected from exposure on the lips and all parts of the body covered by mucous membrane?
-Are consumers protected from internal exposure caused by inhaling or ingesting the product?
“If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” the consumer is not protected from the unapproved use of this color additive,” says the FDA.  No noted serious injuries or illness has been reported from the unapproved use, but it’s not 100% proven to be safe.  Long-term testing is still being done and reports are still unclear as to what this chemical can actually do.
It looks like the best option is currently at home self tanners or bronzers.  As spray tans are continually rising in popularity we ask that you consider the risk and take the necessary precautions if you decide to go this route (don’t be afraid to ask questions at your salon or to your dermatologist).  
Want to opt for an at home version? Try our Germain recommended, and sold, Jane Iredalesunless self tanners or bronzers for a flawless sun kissed look.

Here’s to your safe, beautiful, FALL glow!

Hydrating is not just for the Heat

Can you feel that cool breeze in the air? Have you had your first Pumpkin Latte? Yes, it’s Fall. Maybe the season isn’t showing it’s colors so much here in the Lowcountry yet, but we all know it’s that time of year… how? It’s football season!! Whether you are cheering on Carolina or Clemson, pulling for the Panthers, or your own home team, everyone has a case of Football Frenzy this time of year.

With the weather cooling down and tailgate tents going up one thing that is easy to forget is to HYDRATE. We don’t mean with your favorite cocktail, but with actual water. You would be amazed at the effects dehydration, not only has on your health, but also for your skin!
Dehydration occurs when a person loses more fluid than they take in. The common rule of thumb is to drink 8 glasses of water a day… but we also all know we aren’t made from cookie cutters and that doesn’t simply work for each of us. The standard to go by is to drink half of your body weight in ounces per day (If you are 150 pounds you should drink 75 ounces of water daily, or about 9.5 cups of water). We mentioned that your favorite cocktails don’t count, what about your daily tea or coffee? Unfortunately, no. Due to acidic levels and caffeine content water is actually used by your body to metabolize and digest these tasty goods.
Without water most organs cannot function properly: think liver and kidneys. Your skin is the largest organ on your body it needs hydration as much as the rest of you, even from the inside out. Healthy skin contains up to 20% water (dehydrated skin and dry skin are two different ailments, inside vs outside). If you are seeing uncommon signs of acne or unusually dry, worn, wrinkled skin, check your hydration… you could be not getting enough water in your daily diet. Increasing your water intake can simply reduce these symptoms and others as well (such as aches & pains, headaches, and fatigue).  If you feel like adding additional water to your diet doesn’t help visit your dermatologist to eliminate any serious conditions.

Continuous dehydration can also cause premature aging in the skin. When dehydrated skin loses its ability to retain moisture it affects the flow of fluids and nutrients within the skin’s cells, eventually, if not treated, these cells can become damaged. Without proper hydration your skin looses collagen- it literally dries out. Want the best kept anti-aging secret? Drink more water! Many of the latest beauty treatments and creams have collagen, which is a great ingredient (especially if you’ve neglected your hydration for too long), but the best way to replenish and sustain your natural collagen is to stay hydrated.

While cheering on your favorite teams this season, enjoying the cooler weather and all year round remember to carry that water with you (even if it’s between the cocktails)… it will do wonders.
Happy Fall from all of us at Germain Dermatology!

CoolSculpt® Your Way to Lower Body Fat and a Better Looking Body

CoolSculpt® Your Way to Lower Body Fat and a Better Looking Body
 “Wow!” “Seriously?!” you may be thinking…  Well, Yes!
In a one-hour procedure without pills, supplements, special diets or intense workout regimes, an innovative non-surgical treatment is available to remove those trouble spots that seem impervious to healthy changes in diet and solid workout programs.
Developed by two Harvard scientists who observed that cold can be applied to remove fat, criolypolysis or, CoolSculpting®, is a technology used to cool fat cells to temperatures that trigger their natural death.  As lipids and fats crystallize faster than other cells and are more vulnerable to cooling than the surrounding tissues, there is no damage to skin, nerves or other tissue.  When delivering prolonged, controlled cooling to an area, fat cell death and elimination will be produced naturally over time.  Over the following weeks and months, the fat cells begin to shrivel and die until the patient’s own metabolism eliminates them from the body.  The patient’s fat layer will be reduced significantly, giving the patient visible and measurable results in the targeted area.

Whether stubborn inches around the abdomen or leg area is simply a result of genetics or lifestyle habits, CoolSculpting® is an effective way to get rid of fat for good.  It is especially appealing to those who would not normally consider a cosmetic procedure or for those who don’t want the downtime and risks associated with surgery.
Each treatment cycle lasts for one hour and does not require local or other anesthesia. Patient’s may feel slight discomfort for the first five minutes of the treatment as the cooling device comes into contact with the skin and begins to freeze the tissues.  After about ten minutes, the patient may feel slightly numb as the treatment continues.  Patients are able to resume regular activities or go back to work upon leaving the office.  Results are generally seen within a few months of treatment.  CoolSculpting® by Zeltiq is clinically proven and FDA approved.

Ideal candidates are generally those with stubborn pockets of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise – love handles, muffin tops, spare tires, inner or outer thigh bulges – problem areas that are difficult to exercise away without extreme fitness or diet programs.
“I have my body back – the body I had in my 20’s!”
Patients who have undergone CoolSculpting® tend to talk about what they have gained, rather than the fat they have lost.  From “I finally look good again; It’s the real me,” to “My clothes fit better,” patients report an increase in personal confidence, Keep in mind, once fat cells are eliminated, they are gone forever.  However, attention will still need to be taken in regards to a healthy diet and fitness program as to not generate new fat cells or increase the size of those still there.  Fortunately, most patients find their amazing results the impetus to continue taking care of themselves in order to retain their new look.
If you’re struggling to lose body fat from particular areas of your body, please set up a consultation with us to learn whether CoolSculpting® by Zeltiq is right for you. We are proud to be South Carolina’s first and most experienced practice to offer CoolSculpting®.


The joys of summer are here!  Protecting your skin with daily use of sunscreen is the easiest and most obvious way to maintain healthy skin and prevent skin cancer.  However, did you know that other factors, inside and out, might affect your skin’s natural radiance as well?  Be good to your skin and you will love what you see.  Here are some great tips to keep your skin glowing this summer, and all year long!      
Here are a few tips we love on keeping your skin looking it’s best:
Use daily on your face and exposed areas.  We love Germain Rx Anti-Aging Sunscreen SPF 45.  Germain Rx has four sunscreen products to choose from, so please consult with us to determine the right one for your skin type. 
What about your make up?  While some make up lines offer facial foundation products that contain sunscreens, most powders and lighter products may not offer enough protection for you.  To be certain, always be sure to wear a true sunscreen underneath your make up.
Hitting the beach or pool?  Apply 15-20 minutes before going out into the sun and re-apply every two hours and after swimming or perspiring.
 Germain Rx Anti-Aging Sunscreen SPF 45
Enjoy the fruits of summer!   Summer is a great time to enjoy antioxidant rich foods   such as cherries, blueberries, cantaloupes, melons, pineapple, tomatoes, spinach, and other leafy greens, just to name a few.  Along with salmon and other Omega-3 rich fish, Vitamin C rich foods are great additions to a healthy diet, which can be like a mini makeover for your skin. 
In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that an increase in Vitamin C rich foods is associated with a less wrinkled appearance and less dryness.  The study concluded that healthy dietary behaviors might provide additional benefits in skin appearance.
Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Aug;88(2):480.

Photo courtesy of Lifestyle Medicine Institute
Almost all major systems in your body depend upon water.  Skin included!  Water helps dissolve and carry nutrients, along with oxygen to cells, lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver by helping to flush out waste products, lubricate joints, keep tissues moist and regulate body temperature.  Water helps toxins leave via the skin and allows for perspiration to cool the body.  The end result of a well-functioning body fueled by proper nutrition and water intake is clean, glowing skin!
To function properly, the body must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.  Water is your best source along with fruits and vegetables.
How much water to drink each day depends on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.  We’ve all heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.”  That’s about 1.9 liters, which isn’t that different from the Institute of Medicine recommendations.  Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember.  Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: “Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total.
Time in the pool, the ocean or even showering can dry and dull your skin’s appearance.  Hot water, chlorine, and harsh skin cleansers can strip oils from skin.  Your body continuously needs moisture, especially on these hot days.  If your skin is feeling stressed, use warm water instead of hot, apply a gentle cleanser and moisturize face and body right after shower or bath to trap water in the skin.  
For the body, we love Germain Rx Tranquility Body Crème.  Your skin will drink it in, soothing any redness and softening any dry or cracked areas.  For face, please consult with us to find the best product for your skin as well as for other detailed facial care.
Source: American Association of Dermatology

Germain Rx Tranquility Body Crème

Charleston’s Best Time of Year

It may not yet be beach weather everyday, but we’re steadily approaching the time of year when you can’t avoid outdoor events even if you tried! From the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament to the Bridge Run, Flowertown Festival and more, early spring offers Lowcountry residents and visitors alike, every opportunity to get out and enjoy everything our beautiful city has to offer.

But before we’re in the midst of the outdoor season, it’s a great idea to get a skin checkup. Make sure you’re skin is ready for the inevitable sun onslaught and let us help you find the best ways to protect your skin to keep you looking great! 

While we recommend a checkup yearly, call us to set up your appointment at 843-881-4440. Find out why Dr. Germain has been voted Charleston’s Best Dermatologist for 7 years in a row! 

Also, check out our shopping cart at for the best ways to keep your skin healthy and dazzling this season. Our Germain Rx Anti-Aging SPF 45 sunscreen and the Appearance Enhancement Kit are great places to start. Check out all of our Germain Rx sunscreens to see which one is right for you. 

The Ins and Outs of Contact Dermatitis

If you’ve ever experienced irritated and inflamed skin you have probably experienced a condition called contact dermatitis. There are two main causes for contact dermatitis; allergic reaction or contact with an irritant chemical. We know these conditions are uncomfortable and often times unsightly so we’re here to help. 

Let’s start by explaining the two types of contact dermatitis:

Allergic Contact Dermatitis– We are exposed to more chemicals then we could ever imagine each day. From the soap and shampoo we clean ourselves with to the dyes and materials in the clothes we wear. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused when your skin is exposed to a chemical that you’ve previously become sensitized to. The skin exposed to the chemical will appear reddish in color, feel irritated and appear scaly. If you feel this allergic reaction is happening to you, a doctor can easily test you with a patch test. With over 3,000 environmental allergens known to cause this reaction, you’re bound to experience contact dermatitis at some point in your life. 

Irritant Contact Dermatitis– The basics of Irritant contact dermatitis is chemical exposure to the skin that causes damage to the skin. It can be acute exposure such as strong solvents or non-corrosive acids to cumulative exposure meaning repeated exposure to irritating chemicals to 3rd degree chemical burns. The severity of the irritation is based on the individual’s skin. Those in contact with chemicals frequently, such as cleaning professionals often experience red, scaly, blotchy and irritated skin known as Irritant contact dermatitis. 
If you ever experience either one of these contact dermatitis conditions please call us at 843-881-4440 for a consultation. Dr. Germain has many years of experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of skin allergies and rashes. We will work together to help you find skin relief and make you as comfortable as possible in your skin! 
Dr. Germain also may introduce you to her Germain Rx Body Regimen, Smooth As Silk or other products to help you. To purchase Germain Rx products, click here

Don’t Be a Worry Wart

Warts…These skin growths while not cancerous or super dangerous are contagious and their appearance annoy most. Warts appear when the HPV virus infects the upper layer of the skin usually through in open cut or wound. It’s pretty easy to spot a wart on your body because they are typically skin colored but rough and appear raised. Dr. Germain will be able to determine if a marking on your skin is a wart by simply looking at it. 

While most of you know what warts look like you might be asking who, what and why?

Anyone can be exposed to the wart virus but there are a few demographics that are more prone. Those who have weakened immune systems, children and teens as well as those who bite their nails or pick hangnails are more likely to have warts. Children are more prone to have cuts and scrapes making it easier for the HPV virus to infect them, causing warts. 

Sometimes warts go away without treatment, especially for children patients. It does typically take longer for warts to disappear in adults so treatment from a dermatologist is usually the best course of action. It is important to treat your warts since they spread so quickly by touch or by touching any object that’s been in contact with the wart. There are multiple ways to treat a wart such as freezing it, with cantharidin and burning it are just a few common treatments. 

To read more about warts, go to the American Academy of Dermatology’s site here. 

The next time you see a small growth on your skin and think it’s a wart, don’t worry just give us a call at 843-881-4440 for a consultation and we’ll help you out!