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

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

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August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

Published August 16th, 2018 by Sahil

August is psoriasis awareness month. It is a time to spread awareness and educate ourselves about a condition that affects almost 8 million people in the United States alone. There is a common misconception that psoriasis is merely a skin condition. While it typically presents itself on the surface of the skin, yes, it is actually a chronic and long-lasting disease that affects the immune system. Symptoms may range from mild to severe, but both require treatment as early as possible. This is why it is so important to raise awareness about this disease: early detection means more manageable symptoms and higher success rates for treatments. Psoriasis treatment options have grown in number and have improved remarkably over the years in the fight to treat the symptoms of psoriasis. A number of psoriasis sufferers (in the past) may have believed nothing could be done for them, or that they couldn’t afford treatments, or maybe they were too embarrassed about their condition to talk about it. But now there is hope.

What is psoriasis disease?

Psoriasis is considered an autoimmune condition that causes a rapid buildup of skin cells in the epidermis. So, what is psoriasis caused by? Normal functioning skin cells are typically born deep in the skin and eventually rise to the outermost layer before falling off the body, thus completing a cell’s lifecycle. The entire lifecycle of a skin cell should only last about one month. However, in patients who suffer from psoriasis, cell production is sped up drastically. As a result, the natural order of skin cell production and replacement is interrupted, and a buildup of skin cells may occur. This cell buildup can cause a few different complications that typically show up on the top layer of a patient’s skin when psoriasis is present. Affected areas are most often the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. It may also (less commonly) be found in the nails, mouth, and around the genitals. These are considered the hotspots to keep an eye on when determining what is psoriasis disease and what isn’t.

How do you get psoriasis, and what are the symptoms?

Before we discuss the symptoms of psoriasis, it is important to ask the question, “How do you get psoriasis?” While the exact origin of psoriasis remains up for debate, some of the suspected causes of psoriasis are: stress, injury to skin (such as cuts, scrapes, burns), infection (such as strep or thrush), and medications (such as lithium, antimalarials, quinidine, indomethacin). However, the most key factor in psoriasis diagnoses is the immune system. Although the immune system is meant to keep you free of infections and generally healthy, it is not an infallible system of the body. When a patient is diagnosed with psoriasis, they typically have an overactive immune system. This overactivity creates skin cells at a faster rate than what is needed as an inflammatory response to a threat (or perceived threat) from infection etc. As a result of the overproduction of skin cells, psoriasis may occur. So, what are the symptoms of psoriasis? Symptoms of psoriasis include:

  • Red, raised, and inflamed patches of skin
  • White or silver-white scales or plaques on top of red patches
  • Dry skin (cracking and bleeding may occur)
  • Soreness in the vicinity of patches Itching and burning
  • Thick, pitted nails
  • Swollen joints and joint pain

What are my psoriasis treatment options?

As we mentioned earlier, psoriasis treatments options have come a long way in terms of their efficacy and affordability. The first thing you should do is seek help from a licensed dermatologist as soon as you notice any of the symptoms of psoriasis. In order to help prevent skin diseases, such as psoriasis, yearly skin check ups are an essential practice. If your primary care physician does not do regular skin check ups, you should schedule a yearly exam with a licensed dermatologist. If you are diagnosed with psoriasis, one of the most effective treatments available to you is laser therapy. Laser therapy clears up patches of psoriasis on your skin faster than natural sunlight or artificial UV light. It also requires less therapy sessions than other treatments, and is considered one of the most popular psoriasis treatment options available today.

Psoriasis Treatment in Miami, FL

Schedule an appointment to learn more about psoriasis treatment at our office in Doral, Miami Beach, or Aventura, FL by clicking here. Alternatively, you can call our office on 305.615.2440.

Why are Annual Skin Checks Important?

Published August 3rd, 2018 by Sahil

Annual skin checks are a facet of maintaining our health that is often overlooked. Skin cancer can sometimes be a tricky disease to detect in its early stages; but, as with most diseases, early detection is can be crucial. There are a number of risk factors that can be more easily mitigated with annual skin checkups. Your annual checkups with your doctor may already include a skin check. If they don’t, you should ask your doctor about including skin checkups at your next visit, or schedule a visit to a skin care specialist. Annual skin screenings can help save you time & money down the road, and possibly your life. It is important that you are receiving an annual skin screening from your board-certified dermatologist.

Why Should I Get an Annual Skin Screening?

As we mentioned earlier, a dermatologist skin check may save your life, especially when you consider the importance of early detection. A dermatologist skin check will include a full body skin exam that covers the entirety of the outer layer of your skin, even the lesser visible places. Self-check ups can be important too; but a full body skin exam performed by a licensed practitioner is the best way to ensure that you have a clean bill of epidermal health each year. It’s very advantageous to have an objective and professional third party, who knows all the warning signs, give you a second opinion on any concerns you may have. They can oftentimes spot things that you may not.

What is an Annual Skin Screening?

First, let’s cover how to perform a self-checkup. Self-checkups should be performed once a month, in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Facing the mirror, thoroughly examine the entire outer layer of your skin that you can see. Carefully inspect each mole, blemish, freckle and any other mark on your body for irregularity in shape and/or color. Then, with a handheld mirror, check the areas of your skin that are more difficult to see, such as the backs of your thighs. You may want to enlist the help of a spouse or close family member for the harder to see areas, such as your backside and scalp. Remember the ABCDE rule when performing self-checkups. These letters are the protocol for determining potential danger in all types of skin blemishes:

A.) Asymmetry: Benign moles should be symmetrical. If you have a mole that is not symmetrical, it could potentially be skin cancer.

B.) Border: An irregularly shaped border around the edges of a spot may also be cause for concern.

C.) Color Variation: Does the mole have patches of different colors such as red, white or blue? These may be red flags.

D.) Diameter: Watch out for spots that have a larger diameter than a normal-sized pencil eraser.

E.) Evolving: Has the spot/mole/birthmark changed in any way recently or since you first noticed it? If so, it could potentially be cancerous.

An annual dermatologist skin check will be much more thorough, however. Your skin specialist will give you a full body examination from head to toe, and cover the more “hidden” areas of your skin. An annual skin checkup should include examinations: between the toes, on the scalp, inside the ears, behind the ears, under fingernails, between the glutes, on the backs of your legs, and beneath all hair (especially thicker hair).

See a Board-Certified Dermatologist in Miami, FL

It is important that a board-certified skin doctor examine you not only annually, but in the event you discover any spots on your skin that could potentially be malignant. Early detection is always a priority when it comes to your health, and your skin is definitely not an exception to that rule. This is why annual checkups with a board-certified dermatologist are the minimum recommended care suggested in the prevention of skin cancer. Call to make an appointment in Doral, Miami Beach, or Aventura at 305.615.2440 or click here today to find out more!

When Should I see a Dermatologist?

Published June 28th, 2018 by Sahil

There are a number of different reasons you might seek the help of a licensed professional, and your skin is no exception. So many different things can go wrong on the outer layer of the epidermis. As a result, it is best to get a second opinion and treatment from an expert in the field. Identifying skin problems early is paramount in preventing a complication from spreading further, and before any damage becomes irreversible. A board-certified dermatologist can help alleviate any concerns you may have, and render the most effective treatments available with the greatest degree of efficiency and effectiveness, compared to home remedies etc.

What is a Dermatologist?

A dermatologist is a medical practitioner who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions affecting not only the skin, but hair, nails, mucous membranes, sweat glands and oil glands as well. Their range of specialty in skin coverage also includes the skin inside the mouth, nose, and eyelids. Exposure to the sun is one of the most common reasons patients suffer from a particular skin disease. As a result, dermatologists can spend a great deal of their time treating skin conditions that arise from overexposure to sunlight such as melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. Skin conditions may also arise from the use of some cosmetics, industrial compounds, and pesticides as well. However, not all skin conditions are created equal, and not all of them are caused by our environment. According to a 2014 study, genetics may also play a key role in the advent of skin conditions. This makes the spectrum of expertise of each dermatologist much broader, and much more important. What is a dermatologist? They are a medical doctor who is expertly trained on how to recognize and treat any skin condition you may have, the proper way.

When Should I See a Dermatologist?

Your family doctor may refer you to a dermatologist if their initial treatment has failed, or if a treatment has caused a new skin condition to arise. This can cause a lot of patients to miss out on opportunities to save money and receive the best care possible the first time around. Time and money can be saved by not waiting to visit a board-certified dermatologist. Deciding when to see your dermatologist has one simple rule to remember: see your dermatologist if you notice any new blemishes, bumps, itchy patches of skin, or discoloration that should not be there.

Why Should I See a Dermatologist?

A board-certified dermatologist is an expert in their field. They can provide you with the most professional analysis, diagnosis, and treatment of any skin condition you may have. Some of the most common conditions people see their dermatologist for treatment are: skin cancer, acne, cold sores, dandruff, hair loss, nail issues, skin rash, eczema, psoriasis, skin aging, skin lesions, skin discoloration, rosacea, eyelash thinning, excessive sweating, and warts. As we mentioned earlier, it is best to begin treatment for skin conditions as soon as possible. Visiting your dermatologist will help your chances of making a full recovery much sooner, if you suspect you may have a skin condition.

Dermatologist in Miami, FL

Schedule an appointment with our dermatology office in Doral, Miami Beach, or Aventura, FL by clicking here or call us on 305.615.2440.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Published May 23rd, 2018 by Sahil

May is skin cancer awareness month. Most everyone is aware that exposure to the sun may have some impact on the probability of developing skin cancer at some point in their life. The sun is often times a scapegoat when it comes to the disease. However, in reality, sunlight exposure is not the only risk factor associated with skin cancer. Genetics also can play a role, and traits making someone more susceptible to it can be passed on. Knowledge and early detection are key in identifying types of skin cancers, and may even save your life. This month we will cover some of the important things you need to know about skin cancer and treatments that are available.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

To understand the symptoms of skin cancer, we must first ask, “What is skin cancer?” According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is a growth of abnormal skin cells that occurs when unrepaired damage to DNA in skin cells (often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form tumors. So what are the symptoms of skin cancer? Common belief is that skin cancer only occurs on skin that is most normally exposed to sunlight. There is a good deal of truth to this notion, but skin cancer can actually occur anywhere on your body’s epidermis. It most often takes the form of red or shiny white nodules, dark colored or crusted lesions, or brown colored spots that have recently appeared on your skin for seemingly no reason.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are actually a few different types of skin cancer; and each has a different behavior and appearance to watch out for. Actinic Keratoses (AK) appear as dry scaly patches or spots that are considered precancerous growths, and can progress into squamous cell carcinoma. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It appears as a flesh colored bump that resembles a pearl. Early diagnosis is important as it can spread to the surrounding tissue very rapidly. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) often appears as a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and reopens, and can grow very deep into the skin and cause disfigurement. Lasty, Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It appears as a new dark spot on the skin (usually brown in color) and early diagnosis is very important to reduce risk of fatality as much as possible. Self-diagnosis and type of skin cancer are best ascertained by following the skin cancer ABCDE guide:

A: Asymmetry – Is the growth symmetrical or asymmetrical? If you draw a line through the center do you get two equal halves? If not, this could be an indicator of melanoma and you should consult your dermatologist as soon as possible.

B: Border – Benign moles are evenly bordered and often very rounded in shape. Malignant moles have more random borders and nebulous shape.

C: Color – Benign moles are often a uniform color, a single shade of brown. Malignant moles tend to contain multiple shades of brown and melanoma may even show red, white or blue colors.

D: Diameter – Benign moles are often smaller in diameter, whereas malignant moles are generally larger.

E: Evolving – Benign moles maintain the same shape and color over time. If a mole starts to change color, elevation, shape, or size or take on new symptoms such as bleeding, it is most likely a sign of a malignant mole.

Visit your Dermatologist in Miami, FL

As with any disease, early detection and treatment is critical. Skin cancer is often an unwanted surprise to the patients who suffer from it, so it is important to know your body. Give yourself regular examinations at home, while also keeping annual checkups with your dermatologist for full body examinations. Skin cancer signs should not be ignored. If you are suspicious of a mole for any reason, then it is better to have it checked out as soon as possible to ensure that, if it is malignant, it has as little time to spread as possible. Call our Doral, Aventura, or Miami Beach, FL location on 305.615.2440 or click here to schedule an appointment today!

5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Skin

Published December 26th, 2017 by Sahil

Taking care of your skin is one of the most important things you can do to retain a vibrant, healthy-looking tone and prevent skin disease. There are so many ways to safeguard your skin against potentially harmful conditions with only minor lifestyle changes; here are five tips that will help get you on your way to beautiful, healthy skin.

1. Be gentle

One of the simplest things you can do to take care of your skin is to treat it with kid gloves. This sounds like a no-brainer, but would you believe many of us are doing it wrong? Sometimes a long hot bath or hot tub session sounds like just the thing you need after a long day work or a stressful day right? While soothing, it is best to enjoy such creature comforts in moderation, or with cooler water. Hot water and strong soaps can remove the oil from your epidermis which can cause dryness, and, as a result, damage to your skin. Afterwards, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel thus leaving the remaining oil on your skin generally undisturbed. Once your body is completely dry, apply lotion to remoisturize your skin, leaving it revitalized and rejuvenated.

2. Stop smoking and drinking

We all know the oft-touted reasons to curb or eliminate smoking and drinking from our daily lives and diets. But did you know that these two things can also be really detrimental to your skin over time? Wrinkles tend to happen at earlier ages and run deeper in people who smoke and drink. Perhaps you have heard of smoker’s face? It is a condition in the facial skin where heavy crow’s feet develop around the eyes and droopy skin forms around the eyelids, generally attributed to long term smoking. Alcohol tends to rob nutrition from your body and cause dehydration, which can also cause many of the same symptoms in your skin. Eliminating alcohol and smoking from your routine (or all together) will dramatically help you to protect your youthful glow much farther into your adult life than those who continue an unhealthy frequency of these bad habits.

3. Eat a healthy diet

While OK in moderation, junk food is harmful to your skin as well. Since it is constantly repairing and regenerating itself, you’re skin needs all the nutrition it can get. Junk food typically lacks in things like: antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and vitamin B7 (biotin). 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day are recommended for you to get sufficient amounts of these nutrients.

4. Stay Hydrated

As we mentioned earlier, keeping your skin properly lubricated is one of the most important things you can do to keep it healthy. Many of us don’t drink adequate amounts of water in our day-to-day lives, and that (as much as anything) can cause dry unhealthy skin as well. The latest guidelines for daily water intake indicate that women should take in about 91 ounces, and men, 125 ounces of water.

5. Manage stress

Last but not least, managing your stress does wonders for nearly every aspect of health. Your skin is no exception to this rule! Find ways to relax such as decaffeinated herbal tea, massage therapy, float spas, or relaxation music.

Skin Care Treatment in Miami, FL

We have trained professionals standing by to ensure that your dermatology needs are met with the utmost safety and professionalism! For more skin care tips contact us on 305.615.2440 or click here for a free consultation.

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