Friday, September 28, 2012

FDA warns L’Oreal over “anti-aging” claims

For those of you using over-the-counter “anti-aging” products, you may be interested to hear a recent warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

L’Oreal has been warned by the FDA to adjust the claims they are making about some of their anti-aging products.  Statements like “boosts the activity of genes” and “stimulate cell regeneration to reconstruct skin to a denser quality” indicate that the products “are intended to affect the structure or any function of the human body,” classifying them as drugs that would require FDA approval under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The products in question include items from L’Oreal’s Genifique, Absolue and Renergie lines. Because these products have not been tested by the FDA for safety and effectiveness, consumers are dependent on the manufacturer for information about their products. If that information is inaccurate, they are left without a trusted source for knowledge.

This is where Greenville Dermatology can help. We carry a wide selection of cosmetic products that are proven to be effective for your skin care needs. I carefully hand-select all of the products offered at our office to ensure the utmost quality and safety for our patients. Schedule an appointment with our office, and we would be happy to provide recommendations tailored to meet your skin care needs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Are Sunless Tanners Safe?

Many patients ask if self-tanning products are unsafe due the color additive dihydroxyacetone – better known as DHA. Generally, dermatologists consider this way of achieving a tan very safe when compared to alternative tanning methods.

DHA, a sugar molecule that bronzes just the top layer of the skin, is the only coloring agent that has been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has been a common ingredient in cosmetics for many years. Self-tanning products are available as lotions, creams, sprays and wipes and typically contain 3-5% DHA. Results generally occur within a few hours, and the color will fade in 7-10 days as you naturally shed skin cells.

There is no hard evidence that DHA is harmful or carcinogenic to humans when applied topically and in the small, recommended doses. When applying or administering spray tanners, be sure not to ingest or inhale the product. Protective gear should be worn to cover the eyes, mouth and nose.

I recommend maintaining your natural complexion, but if you prefer a darker skin tone, self-tanners are the safest route. The scariest option is undoubtedly a visit to a tanning salon. Nearly 30 million people use tanning beds each year in the US; of those, 2.3 million are teens. Below are some alarming facts on indoor tanning, which can also be found at

·         Those who make just four visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk for melanoma by 11 percent and their risk for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma by 15 percent.

·         Indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.

·         Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Think Before You Ink

If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, it could come with an unwanted side effect: a skin infection. Recently, health officials linked an increase in skin infections caused by tuberculosis-related bacteria to contaminated ink – not dirty needles or unsanitary tattoo parlors. While cases of infection caused by the contaminated ink have been confirmed across the United States, Fox News reported that the largest outbreak was in Rochester, N.Y. There, 19 people showed the same raised, bumpy rash covering their tattoos.

Historically, the health risks associated with getting a tattoo were infections such as hepatitis, staph or tetanus. These were typically caused by unsanitary conditions or unsafe practices. The recent infection outbreaks caused by ink used at otherwise sanitary tattoo parlors is an additional cause for concern. "Even if you get a tattoo from a facility that does everything right, it's not risk free," said Dr. Byron Kennedy, deputy director of the health department in New York's Monroe County. Health officials advise tattoo artists and ink makers to use only sterile water to dilute ink to prevent contamination.

As a dermatologist, I recommend thinking twice before making any permanent alterations to your skin; however, if you do decide to get a tattoo, be sure to ask what type of ink is being used and make sure that the parlor you choose takes all necessary precautions to prevent infections. Furthermore, if you are concerned that your tattoo may be infected, seek immediate medical attention.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Adult Acne – It Can Happen to You

Acne does not discriminate by age, gender or race. Anyone can get acne, and for adults, blemishes can be very embarrassing. The first step to managing and preventing breakouts is to understand their primary cause. Acne develops when pores become clogged by the oil in our skin. This oil is called sebum, and our bodies make more of it when our hormones surge, which is why acne is so common among teens. In addition, it explains why women may get breakouts right before periods or in the years leading up to menopause.

Today there are many effective acne treatments. No treatment works overnight, so it is imperative that you stick with a regimen for 4-8 weeks to see significant improvement. If non-prescription cleansers are not giving you your desired results, it is time to see a dermatologist.

Doctors can prescribe a variety of treatment options, such as antibiotics to kill bacteria and reduce inflammation; birth control pills to help balance hormones; or in extreme cases, isotretinoin may be prescribed.  In-office procedures may also be included in your treatment plan. Light therapy, chemical peels and acne removal are among the treatments that may be recommended.

Without treatment, acne can lead to scarring, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. No one should have to deal with those struggles when a dermatologist can offer relief from skin irritations and breakouts. If you are an adult with problem skin or are interested in improving your complexion, call us today for a consultation.  Greenville Dermatology wants to help you feel your best!