Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist

Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist


Medical Cannabis for Chronic Muscle Spasms

Published June 22nd, 2017 by Sahil

Medical Cannabis can help chronic muscle spasms

Infrequent, isolated muscle spasms are normal. They become an issue when they are reoccurring, intense, and start to affect your everyday life. To understand muscle spasm, it's important to recognize their causes and physiology of spastic muscles.

A muscle spasm is when your muscles forcibly contract and do not relax like normal. Most only last for a couple of seconds and can be alleviated with light stretching, while some episodes can go for several minutes. Muscle spasms can affect one type of muscle or a group of interconnected muscles. Muscle spasms not only affect those who enjoy contact sports since it can also be a chronic problem with those leading a sedentary lifestyle.

There are several factors when it comes to spasms. As you age, you increase your chances of having a spasm and those who overuse a particular muscle group for an extended period. Chronic dehydration is also coupled with cramps, as the trace elements that replenish engaged muscles tend not to be as abundant. Some of these trace elements include low potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels.

Thankfully, the onset of marijuana has positioned it as a holistic, safe path to approaching muscle spasms. Compared to addictive opioids and muscle relaxants, the active ingredients can help alleviate discomfort without the risk of addiction.

What Is Florida Amendment 2?

Florida has finally passed legislation on the legality of marijuana. Even though the legalization of marijuana was primarily supported at the ballot box, with 6.5 million votes in November of 2016, the Department of Health wasn't too sure how it will implement written provisions.

Florida Amendment 2 directs the Department of Health to issue 10 additional permits for marijuana services and businesses. Out of those ten permits, several are for nurseries, and the Department of Health will issue the rest. The bill also requires that license holders keep up and implement seed-to-sale tracking for all of its products if it wants to keep its license. Marijuana will be tested for potency and other contaminants right before dispensing it to be public. The bill is also good news for patients - they do not have to wait a 90 day period to forge a relationship with a practitioner or doctor.

How Does Marijuana Help With Pain?

The science behind marijuana usage and pain relief have been well studied. But how tetrahydrocannabinol - or THC - interacts with your body's nervous system is sometimes overlooked. THC affects your endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system consists of a system in the body and brain that affects different functions, including how you feel and react to pain. Neurotransmitters communicate pain to your brain. Since cannabinoids act on the presynaptic cells between neurons, they have the ability to control what happens when a cell is activated. They function by limiting the number of neurotransmitters shooting messages to each other. THC connects to the receptors throughout your body and brain, subsequently nullifying pain.

Benefits of Marijuana For Spasm

The active ingredient in marijuana can also help with muscle spasms. Researchers at the American Academy of Neurology have found that the application of medical marijuana in the form of oral sprays or pills reduced muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.

THC acts relatively quick, with minimal side effects. However, before you start a rehabilitative regimen with the help of THC products, it's important that you contact a medical marijuana physician that is cognizant of Florida laws and legislation, as one of the covered conditions is muscle spasms.

For more information on medical marijuana in Miami, FL click here. Alternatively, call our office on 305.615.2440. We're standing by to help eliminate your pain.

How to Treat Acne

Published June 1st, 2017 by Sahil

Acne is not something that is reserved just for younger people. It is a condition that can affect anyone of any age, and the best treatment for acne is one that addresses the causes of the condition. Skin creams and ointments attempt to attack the problem, but many can fall short. The best acne treatment is one that targets the underlying causes and delivers the best results. Laser treatment for acne is the latest process available, and it is proving to be a very effective solution.

What Is Acne?

When you go to a dermatologist for acne treatments, they will always try to recommend solutions that address the core problem. Acne is formed when the pores and hair follicles in the body get clogged with dead skin cells and other materials.

The hair follicles are most common because they secrete a substance called sebum, which keeps the skin and hair soft and moist. But when the follicles get clogged with sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells, they grow to form acne. The most serious forms of acne are referred to as cysts, and they can get as large as a quarter.


Whiteheads occur when all of that material is trapped just below the skin's surface and can be seen through the thinnest layer of the skin. Blackheads are caused when the air oxidizes the materials secreted by the glands. It is important to note that people with larger pores sometimes get more blackheads because that is just the way their skin looks. But in many people, blackheads are acne.

What Causes Acne?

When the human body reaches puberty, the amount of sebum being produced increases. This occurs more in males than in females, which is why acne is more of a problem for young males. The rate of sebum production overwhelms the follicles and glands, and acne occurs all over the body.


Some people are simply born with larger sebaceous glands than others, and their acne will be a lifelong struggle for them. Instead of the sebum issue calming down as the individual gets out of their teens, the problem continues for the rest of their lives.

People who do not bathe regularly will also see more instances of acne. Bathing removes many of the dead skin cells and bacteria that contribute to the growth of acne, which means that not bathing on a regular basis gives your pores and follicles more materials to use to create acne.

What Is Laser Acne Treatment?

The best acne treatment attacks the issue at the source, and that is what laser acne treatment offers. With laser treatment, Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL) is applied to the skin and kills existing bacteria. The IPLT can also kill excess pigmentation cells which can create blackheads and cause scars.


Laser acne treatment also helps to decrease the size of the sebaceous glands in pores and follicles, which would decrease the amount of sebum that is produced. With the bacteria cells gone and the amount of sebum reduced, the patient will see existing acne removed and a significant reduction in the amount of new acne that is formed. As a bonus, the scars associated with more intense acne formations are also eliminated for good.

Miami Skin Dr. Wants You To Try A Laser Acne Treatment

Miami Skin Dr. wants to be your dermatologist for acne laser treatments, and they are offering a special discount to help people experience laser treatments for the first time. Patients can purchase three laser treatments at a price discounted from $175 per treatment to $129, and then get the fourth treatment for 50% off. Now is the time to see how Miami Skin Dr. can help your acne problem using the latest technology that gets documented results.

How to Treat Skin Cancer

Published May 25th, 2017 by Sahil

In honor of skin cancer awareness month, we continue to educate and inform you about the causes, types, and treatments of this disease. Skin cancer, which is the abnormal growth of skin cells, is usually caused by skin overly exposed to the sun but there are some exceptions. There are three types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, with the latter being the less common but more likely to grow and spread.

Risks and Preventions of Skin Cancer

The most common risk of melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet rays which come from the sun, tanning beds and sun lamps. Another risk is moles which are larger than other moles and usually have an abnormal shape or color with some features of melanoma. People with fair skin, freckling, and light hair are at an increased risk of melanoma. There is no way to prevent melanoma skin cancer because risk factors such as age, gender, race and family history can't be controlled. The most important thing anyone can do is to limit your exposure to ultraviolet rays and watch out for abnormal moles.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Early signs of melanoma are usually symptoms of a change in an existing mole or the development of an unusual-looking growth on the skin. To help detect characteristics of an unusual mole, think of the letters ABCDE:

A is for asymmetrical shape such as two very different halves.
B is for irregular borders.
C is for changes in color or an uneven distribution of color.
D is for diameter larger than 1/4 inch.
E is for evolving over time.

Melanoma skin cancer is diagnosed by skin biopsy. A tissue sample will be examined under a microscope to complete the diagnosis. If tumor cells are present, treatment is required.

Treatments Options for Skin Cancer

Your treatment options will vary based on the stage of cancer and other factors that affect your treatment. Seeking treatment early on is very important because if the mole is left untreated, it will eventually penetrate the underlying tissues and can become disfiguring. Treatment is typically an outpatient procedure in a physician's office or at a clinic.

Surgery is the main treatment option for melanomas and usually cures early-stage melanomas. This procedure involves anesthesia and a small incision to remove the tumor.

Our surgery services include:

  • Skin Cancer Excision
  • Mole Removal
  • Growth Removal
  • Cyst excision

An option for patients for whom surgery is not advised or who have tumors that are hard to treat surgically is radiation therapy. Removal of the tumor will require a series of treatments several times a week and sometimes months.

If you find anything that concerns you, contact Miami Skin Dr. Early detection of melanoma or skin cancer, in general, is key to being free of the tumor. Check out Miami Skin Dr to find out more.

What is Melanoma Skin Cancer

Published May 16th, 2017 by Sahil

It's Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it's time to take care of our skin, our most massive and exposed organ. Many of us work or live in conditions that put our skin in the cross-hairs of sunlight, heat lamps, and carcinogens that are known to contribute to the chances of developing skin cancer. In fact approximately 40% to 50% of those who make it to 65 well develop basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma once in their life. Though these kinds of cancer are less likely to be fatal, melanoma is a form of cancer that is less liable to be contracted but dangerous. According to estimates from the American Cancer Society, about 52,170 men and 34,940 women will be diagnosed with melanoma for a total of 87,110 new cases in 2017.

Understanding Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a more dangerous form of cancer than basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. It's the result of damaged DNA in skin cells typically caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds. The radiation causes a mutation that grows into tumors on the skin. Melanomas are often mistaken for moles, so a medical diagnosis is required to correctly identify the growth as cancerous.

Melanoma Symptoms

Spots on the skin which change in shape, size, and color are the best signs to identify melanoma. You should also look for the ugly duckling signs when examining the spots on your skin. These spots will look different and misshapen when compared to other spots on your body, and they will stand out. When you see these warning signs of melanoma, it is best to mention them to your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

The ABCDE Rule

As you check the growth use the ABCDE rule as a guide and let your doctor know if you notice the following:


A for Asymmetry: The halves of the growths don't match.

B for Border: The edges are odd, ragged, knobby, or jagged.

C for Color: Look for discolored patches including hues of black or brown or even blotches of red, white, pink, or blue.

D for Diameter: Check if the spot is 6 millimeters or as big as a pencil eraser.

E for Evolving: Check and see if the mark changes shape, size, or color.


Of course, not every case of melanoma falls under these rules. Consequently, you should contact Miami Skin Dr if you notice new spots, changes on your skin or growths that you think stand out from your moles.

Treatment for skin cancer

There are a variety of treatments that can eradicate skin cancer:


In cryosurgery, doctors destroy tumors using frigid temperatures. The growth is frozen using liquid nitrogen, applied in spray form or using a cotton-tipped applicator. Because there is no cutting involved and no bleeding doctors don't use anesthesia.


The physician uses X-ray beams to break down the tumor meaning no anesthesia or cutting is required. Destroying the tumor typically takes and few treatments over the course of a week, and in some cases daily over a month.

Excisional Surgery

In Excisional surgery, a scalpel is used to remove the growth, along with some buffer skin for a margin of safety. A local anesthetic is used, and the wound is closed with stitches.

This Skin Cancer Awareness Month, be kind to your skin and be on the lookout for any strange, ugly duckling growths. If you find anything that concerns you, contact Miami Skin Dr. Early detection of melanoma or skin cancer, in general, is key to being free of the tumor. Check out Miami Skin Dr to find out more.

The 3 Main Types of Skin Cancer

Published May 5th, 2017 by Sahil

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month


While we’re big advocates of skin cancer protection, we realize skin cancer is a reality that affects 1 in 5 Americans in their lifetime. At Miami Skin Dr, your Miami dermatologist, want to raise awareness that this month (May) is skin cancer awareness month!


For the next 4 weeks, we will be sharing valuable information about skin cancer, signs and symptoms of skin cancer to watch for, treatment options for skin cancer, and melanoma skin cancer and treatment. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any skin cancer treatment questions.


There are 3 main types of skin cancer: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer (BCC):

The most common but least dangerous type of skin cancer. BCC develops after years of frequent exposure to UV-rays through sun or indoor-tanning. It looks like a pearl-like, flesh-colored bump or a pinkish patch of skin. It’s most commonly found on the head, neck, and arms but can be formed anywhere on the body. BCC is most often develop by people with fair-skin but can occur in people with darker skin. Although BCC is the least dangerous, early detection and treatment can prevent the cancer from growing into the nerves and bones, causing disfigurement and damage.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer (SCC):

People with light-skin are most at risk of developing SCC. It tends to form on skin that gets frequent skin exposure such as the neck, arms, and face. SCC most often looks like a scaly patch, a red firm bump, or a sore that heals and re-opens. If not detected and treated early on, SCC can cause damage and disfigurement by growing deep into the skin.

3. Melanoma Skin Cancer:

Melanoma is the rarest and deadliest skin cancer type. It develops as a mole on the skin. Use the ABCDE warning signs of melanoma to help detect melanoma:


  • A: Asymmetry

    • One-half of the mole will differ from the other half

  • B: Border

    • Irregular, poorly-defined, or scalloped border

  • C: Color

    • The mole will not be an even color. It will vary in shades of black, brown, or tan or sometimes will be red, white, or blue.

  • D: Diameter

    • Melanomas are usually bigger than 6mm, which is the size of a pencil eraser.

  • E: Evolving

    • The mole will change in shape, color, or size and will look different than benign moles.

So what are the treatment options for skin cancer?

Skin cancer excision treatment (or skin cancer resection) is a surgical treatment used to treat skin cancer quickly, with little pain, if the skin cancer is caught early.

Depending on the size of the cancer, treatment can be done in the doctor’s (or dermatologist’s) office as an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia.


The cancerous area is removed during excision along with some healthy skin tissue surrounding the area (margins). After the cancer is removed, the incision is sealed together by stitches (sutures). The stitches remain in place for one or two weeks depending on the size of the area, and patients are advised to not aggravate the incision by avoiding heavy lifting or anything else that may cause stress to the stitches. The skin cancer excision may leave a small scar that will heal over time. All types of skin cancer can be cured using a surgical excision with great success.

Medical Cannabis for Skin Cancer

Besides the options of surgery and radiation, topical forms of medical marijuana can be used to treat skin cancer. Topical forms of cannabis, such as creams, gels, and oils, do not give the “high” that marijuana is commonly associated with.


The combination of THC and CBD triggered the death of melanoma cells in recent studies by facilitating autophagy and apoptosis, two natural processes of cell death. Medical marijuana is a safe, noninvasive, and natural treatment option for patients suffering from not just skin cancer but other skin disorders as well.

For more information about skin cancer treatment or melanoma cancer treatment in Miami, book an appointment here or call us on 305.615.2440.