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

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


Psoriasis Medication: 5 Things that Will Keep Psoriasis Under Control

Published September 30th, 2019 by Thepracticeagency

Did you know that the skin accounts for 16% of our total body weight? It's not too surprising when you think about it—after all, it’s the largest organ!

As it is, however, it’s susceptible to a variety of conditions. Take contact dermatitis, for instance—it can be caused by a number of things from plants to jewelry.

Psoriasis is another common condition that affects the skin. To give you a better idea, it affects more than 8 million individuals in the United States!

Are you one of them? Interested in learning about the various psoriasis medication options? If so, you’re on the right page!

We’ll be going over everything that you need to know below. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Psoriasis? 

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that causes thick patches to develop on the skin. More often than not, there will be inflammation in addition to silver scales.

While they can appear anywhere on the body, these rashes usually develop on the elbows, knees, or scalp. Some of the most common types include plaque psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, erythrodermic psoriasis, and guttate psoriasis.

Duration of Symptoms 

For most people, psoriasis symptoms appear in “cycles”. For instance, the condition may be severe for a few weeks before clearing up. If there are no symptoms, you are considered to be in “remission.”

At any time, however, the condition may flare up again. Typically, this occurs if someone is exposed to certain things such as stress or injury. Other triggers include alcohol and certain medications.

Causes of Psoriasis 

The exact cause of psoriasis is unknown. However, it’s established that the immune system plays a role.

In healthy individuals, white blood cells fight off infections by destroying bacteria. In those with psoriasis, however, they attack skin cells instead.

As a result, the cells go into overdrive, which causes them to reproduce too quickly. From there, they are forced to the skin’s surface, where they accumulate.

Genetics has something to do with it as well—that is, your chance of developing the condition is much higher if you have a family member with psoriasis.

5 Different Psoriasis Medication Options 

While there’s no cure, it’s possible to manage symptoms with proper treatment. Here are some of the drug options that are available:

1. Topical Corticosteroids

Topical corticosteroids are commonly prescribed for mild to moderate psoriasis. Not only do they reduce inflammation, but they also relieve itching.

Generally speaking, mild creams are for sensitive areas such as the face whereas stronger ointments are reserved for tougher-to-treat areas.

It’s important to note, however, that there are potential side effects. For one thing, long-term use of corticosteroids can thin the skin. There’s also a chance that they'll lose their effectiveness over time.

2. Vitamin D Analogues 

These medications contain a synthetic form of vitamin D, which slows down skin growth. Similar to topical corticosteroids, they are applied directly to the skin.

While effective at soothing symptoms, however, they aren’t the best at preventing recurrences. Because of this, they're often combined with other active ingredients.

3. Topical Retinoids 

Topical retinoids are creams and ointments that contain vitamin A derivatives. How do they work? They slow down the growth of skin cells.

More specifically, they bind to DNA receptors, which regulate cell division. Not only does that slow down skin production, but it also reduces the size of plaques. 

Aside from psoriasis, these drugs are also effective for other skin disorders such as warts and wrinkles.

4. Calcineurin Inhibitors 

Calcineurin inhibitors are a type of immunosuppressant that's effective for treating psoriasis. More specifically, they reduce inflammation and plaque buildup.

Due to significant side effects, however, they are not recommended for long-term use. With that said, they may be a good option for sensitive areas such as the skin around the eyes. 

5. Biologics

Biologics are medications that alter the immune system. Most if not all are given by injection. Generally speaking, doctors will only prescribe these drugs if an individual has not responded to traditional treatment.

Why? They come with strong side effects. For instance, they can put an individual at risk for life-threatening infections.

Light Therapy For Psoriasis 

Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, treats the skin using ultraviolet light. For instance, doctors may suggest UVB therapy for those with mild to moderate psoriasis. Side effects include itching, redness, and dry skin.

Similarly, exposure to sunlight may help with symptoms. The key, however, is to keep it brief. The last thing that you want to do is to get sunburnt when your skin is already damaged!

Other Treatment Options 

Aside from medications and phototherapy, there are other things that you can do to treat the symptoms. For instance, you might want to avoid fragrances as they tend to irritate the skin.

Eliminating refined sugars and saturated fats from your diet may also help to reduce flare-ups. Consider taking omega-3 supplements as they're known to reduce inflammation. Avoid alcohol as well as it can worsen psoriasis symptoms.

On top of all that, it's important to relieve stress whenever possible. After all, it can contribute to psoriasis, in addition to other chronic conditions.

Living With Psoriasis

There may be no cure, but that doesn't mean that you have to live with the symptoms. After all, there are various psoriasis medication options that are effective at managing the condition!

Looking for a dermatologist in the Doral, Florida area? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment!

5 Essential Reasons to Visit a Dermatologist

Published August 16th, 2019 by Thepracticeagency

Chances are, you've spent a lot of time in the sun this summer. Americans love the sun.

But the sun doesn't always love us.

There are over 3.5 million people diagnosed each year with skin cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. This is more than the combination of all other cancer types.

The key to beating skin cancer? Early detection.

While we are starting to realize the effects of spending too much time in the sun and the benefits of sunscreen, for some, the damage is already done.

Most people know to see a dermatologist when they find a suspicious mole. However, they fail to realize just how important a dermatologist is to your comprehensive medical care.

You don't have to suffer from problems with your skin, hair, or nails. Keep reading for 5 essential reasons to visit the dermatologist. 

1. For Your Annual Skin Cancer Screening

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer.

As is the case with all types of cancer, prevention, and early detection is extremely important for successful treatment and a good prognosis.

It's recommended that adults visit the dermatologist each year for an exam and skin cancer screening. At this appointment, your dermatologist can detect the prescience of any skin cancer early on and even offer help with prevention. 

Don't forget to examine your own skin throughout the year and between your appointments. If you see any changes to your skin, schedule an appointment right away.

Don't wait until your annual appointment. This is especially true if you notice any scaly rashes, markings, discolorations, or changes in the size, shape, texture, or color of spots or moles on your skin. These signs warrant a visit to the dermatologist as soon as possible. 

2. If You Have a Chronic Condition

If you find yourself experiencing chronic difficulties with your skin, a visit to the dermatologist may be in order.

If your skin is dry, red, itchy, or flaky, you might think you are just sensitive, have bad genes, or it's just the weather. If you experience these symptoms and have tried over the counter products like creams and lotions but aren't getting relief, you might have an actual skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema.

These conditions and many others can be treated or managed by a dermatologist. Your doctor can manage your condition with prescription-strength products like lotions and steroids that can calm your skin, reduce redness, and relieve itching.

Usually, these types of conditions aren't curable, but a dermatologist can help you feel better in your own skin. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can go away without treatment, but there's no reason to suffer in the meantime. 

3. To Improve Scarring

If you are struggling with scarring on your skin, whether from acne, popping pimples, or injury, a dermatologist can help.

Scars can ruin your quality of life and can be hard to look at. You don't have to live with your scars thanks to advancements in medical technology.

Your dermatologist can significantly improve the appearance of your scars. Book a consultation with a dermatologist to find out what kind of procedures might be right for you.

Options include dermal fillers, skin grafting, laser treatment, and microdermabrasion. Whether your scars are severe or mild, your dermatologist can improve your skin and your confidence.

4. When You're Losing Hair

Most people think that hair loss is a normal part of getting older. The truth is, hair loss and scalp disorders can be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist.

If you have noticed an increase in the amount of hair you're losing, consider visiting a dermatologist. For men with receding hairlines or who are just beginning to lose hair on the top of their head, visiting the dermatologist can mean the difference between losing more hair or not.

The same goes for women who are experiencing thinning on the top and front of their scalp. A dermatologist can fix these issues using procedures like hair transplantation or laser therapy as well as with injectable and topical steroids.

Hair loss can also sometimes be caused by underlying medical conditions. Your dermatologist can determine if that is the case and refer you to any other specialists you might need. 

5. If You Still Have Acne as an Adult

Suffering from acne as a teenager is bad enough. But for some people, it doesn't go away as they get older.

Adult acne can seem embarrassing, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. Don't hold out for your adult acne to go away on its own or blame it on random factors such as your diet or stress.

For those with adult acne, natural remedies and over the counter solutions probably won't cut it. A dermatologist can provide expert treatment to improve your skin and your life.

Dermatologists can prescribe advanced strength solutions ranging from oral medications and antibiotics to topical gels and creams. As mentioned above, they can also help minimize the appearance of acne scarring. 

Visiting the Dermatologist

Dermatologists are medically trained experts when it comes to skin, hair, and nails.

If you are experiencing any of the conditions described in this article, don't put off making an appointment. If you haven't been to the dermatologist this year for your annual skin cancer screening, book your appointment today.

Don't assume your symptoms are purely cosmetic. Your dermatologist is a medical doctor who should be a part of your care team.

Click here to book your consultation. 

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.

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