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Meet Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner Chelsea McCraine, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Chelsea Delivers Expert Medical Aesthetics Services to Optima Dermatology’s Salem, NH Practice

Optima Dermatology is excited to welcome Chelsea McCraine, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, to our practice in Salem, NH. Along with her extensive experience in medical aesthetic treatments, Chelsea brings an exceptional approach to patient care.

Chelsea graduated from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and went on to receive her Masters of Science in Nursing in 2015. Since that time, Chelsea worked as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner for Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, as well as a medical aesthetics provider in Nashua before joining Optima Dermatology. 

Some of the medical aesthetics treatments Chelsea offers include neurotoxin injections such as Botox®, dermal fillers, microneedling, BroadBand Light (BBL™), HALO® Hybrid Fractional Laser, CoolSculpting®, Kybella®, HydraFacial®, and more. 

A Commitment to Patient-Centric Care

Throughout her entire career, Chelsea has approached patient care by providing a comfortable, informative, personalized environment, and is committed to building long-term relationships with her clients. 

Patients can expect customized aesthetic treatment plans developed through one-on-one consultations where Chelsea is able to understand your unique skin care needs. 

We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Chelsea, her approach, and the path that led her to pursue a career in medical aesthetics.

How and when did you know you wanted to be a Nurse Practitioner? Were you always interested in aesthetics, and what was your path to get here?

I was one of those kids whose dreams were all over the place. One week I would want to be a Disney princess and the next an astronaut. It wasn’t until I started to look at colleges in high school that I realized I wanted my life’s work to embrace my strengths of compassion and hard work with the desire to make lasting changes in the world. I have always had an innate desire to help people become the best version of themselves and pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner was the perfect way to do just that.

I spent the first five years working in Gastroenterology (GI) at Beth Israel Lahey Health, where I helped heal various GI ailments; mainly focusing on using food and exercise as medicine.  

The ability to assist patients on their journey to better their own health, sense of self, and overall well-being from the inside out was incredibly fulfilling. Naturally, I was inspired to pursue a career in aesthetics and I was elated to find a career path that combined my lifelong desire to help others in a medical setting that inspires positivity and artistry. I firmly believe that aesthetic medicine epitomizes the “art of nursing” because it enables me to fulfill my creative side while still using my clinical judgment. 

What is your number one tip when it comes to taking care of your skin?

Without a doubt, sunscreen! Wearing sunscreen is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your skin’s appearance and health at any age. When used regularly and consistently, sunscreen helps prevent sunburns, premature aging, and most importantly skin cancer.

What do you enjoy most about treating your aesthetic patients and what is unique about your approach?

There is nothing more gratifying than comparing before and after pictures with a patient. Photos are truly the foundation for communicating results because images and visuals often describe far more than words alone can. The result is rarely as impressive as the journey toward the result—before and after photos convey that journey perfectly. My approach to aesthetic medicine is unique because I pride myself on having the ability to interpret patient goals and skillfully tailor a treatment approach to provide an optimal aesthetic outcome, and in the process, cultivate a trusting clinician-patient relationship.

For someone who is interested in, but new to new to medical aesthetic treatments, how do you recommend they get started?

I would strongly encourage them to simply book a consultation. Our skin is the biggest organ we have and it deserves some pampering! The aesthetic world can be intimidating and consultations facilitate an open and honest conversation about specific concerns, budget, treatment options, and expectations. Consultations are the key to developing a customized treatment plan that will deliver measurable results!

Where are the most common areas you treat with dermal filler?

One of the most common areas I treat with dermal filler is the cheeks. It is also one of my favorite areas to treat because it is an effective and conservative way to correct aging. Loss of volume is a hallmark sign of aging, which starts in the mid-face—specifically, the cheeks.  Midface volume rejuvenation with dermal filler directly improves the appearance and contour of the cheeks but also has beneficial effects on neighboring areas of concern including the undereye, nasolabial folds, lines around the mouth, and marionette lines. Facial contouring with cheek filler is truly the key to restoring the triangle of youth!

For microneedling, which patients would you recommend this treatment for, and what should patients expect?

From reducing the appearance of wrinkles to improving the appearance of acne scars, pigmentation, skin texture, and large pores—microneedling is a versatile and effective treatment that can fulfill a diversity of needs. Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a process involving repeated puncturing of the skin with tiny, sterilized needles. Carrying out precise, controlled “micro-injuries” leads to skin rejuvenation and the treatment of fine lines, skin laxity, scarring, pigmentation, cell turnover, and increased collagen production through the process of dermal remodeling. 

Patients can expect mild short-term swelling, redness, and skin flaking, which can last a few days post-procedure. Most people can return to wearing regular makeup within a day of treatment. A series of three to five monthly treatments are generally recommended to achieve desired results. 

What do you like to do when you are not treating patients?

When I am not in the office treating patients, I love to spend time with my husband and our two dogs. Being born and raised in New England, we love to be outside no matter what the season!  You can always find us outdoors—at the beach, hiking the White Mountains, or simply relaxing in the backyard.

Answer this question:  If you knew me you would know…

If you knew me you would know that I give one hundred percent to my patients each and every day.  When you put your heart and soul into your work, you cannot help but make something beautiful.

What to Expect From Dermatological Care From Chelsea and Her Team

If you’re seeking medical aesthetic treatment or want to know more about your options, Chelsea offers a wide range of services and has advanced training and experience to ensure the highest quality of care. 

View a complete list of our medical aesthetics services, and come in for a free consultation to learn more about our approach to patient care. Chelsea is accepting new patients at our Salem, NH location. Give us a call at 844-756-0898 to schedule your consultation today!

(855) 277–9689

Holly Morris, MSHS, PA-C, Joins Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics in Scarborough, ME

Optima Dermatology is excited to welcome board-certified physician assistant Holly Morris, MSHS, PA-C, to our practice in Scarborough, ME. Holly brings 12 years of experience in dermatology and medical aesthetics to our practice and is committed to delivering an exceptional patient experience.

Holly earned her Master of Science degree in Physician Assistant studies at Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, during which time she had hands-on training at teaching facilities including New York Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Columbia University. Holly also served as a Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins University.

Prior to joining Optima Dermatology, Holly provided dermatological care to patients of all ages in New York, treating a range of conditions both medical and cosmetic.

Dedicated to Excellent Patient Care

Holly’s approach to patient care reflects Optima Dermatology’s commitment to treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated. Holly is dedicated to providing a comprehensive and personalized experience for each patient.

Drawing on her years of research and training, and a passion for continued education into the latest aesthetic procedures and technology, Holly brings a wealth of knowledge to each patient. Holly regularly participates in trainings with industry leaders and has advanced training and experience performing a variety of medical aesthetic treatments; including BOTOX®, Dysport®, dermal fillers like Restylane®, microneedling, and more.

We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Holly, her approach, and the path that led her to pursue dermatology care as a physician assistant.

How/when did you know you wanted to be a Physician Assistant? Were you always interested in dermatology and aesthetics, and what was your path to get here?

At the start of my career in medicine, I was initially interested in research. I served as a Research Assistant at Johns Hopkins University. During my time in research, I quickly learned that my favorite days were clinic days. This is when I realized that I wanted to be patient-facing and interact with patients rather than research. I became interested specifically in dermatology when completing my rotation with dermatologists in New York City. I had the opportunity to participate in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology. I loved being able to address an array of issues across each of these service lines. The skin is our largest organ, it is what the world sees. I am driven to help patients address their skin concerns, feel healthy in their skin, and be confident in putting their best face forward.

What is your number one tip when it comes to taking care of your skin?

Without hesitation, sunscreen! Practicing sun protection throughout the entire year, no matter the season, is my number one skin care tip.

What do you enjoy most about treating your aesthetic patients and what is unique about your approach?

I love that one day is never the same. Each patient has their own aesthetic goals or skincare concerns, and I enjoy having the opportunity to positively impact how my patients feel about themselves. My approach to treatment is to collaborate and work closely with my patients and develop custom treatment plans to meet their goals.

Where are some unexpected areas you treat with filler that produce great results?

My personal favorite area to treat with dermal filler, is the mid-face. Patients do not always come in asking for this area specifically because they do not realize that correcting this area can help to improve other areas lower down in the face. The mid-face acts as the framework of the whole face. Addressing this area with dermal filler often helps indirectly improve other areas that may be of concern for patients. It really is the building block of addressing volume loss in the face.

For which patients would you recommend a microneedling treatment, and what should patients expect?

Microneedling is great for all patients, it rejuvenates the skin, can improve overall skin tone and texture, and address fine lines and wrinkles. INTRAcel RF Microneedling is specifically great for patients who experience acne scarring. It helps stimulate collagen to repair scarring on the skin, addressing scarring in a way that other treatments cannot. Patients can expect a quick and noninvasive treatment with minimal downtime!

What do you like to do when you are not treating patients?

After years in New York, I am happy to be back on the coast of Maine where I grew up! Outside of treating patients, I love to spend time with my family. You can find us outdoors and on the water with any free time that we have.

What to Expect From Dermatology Care From Holly and Her Team

If you’re seeking medical dermatological care, Holly and her team at Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics offer a wide range of services and have advanced training and experience to ensure the highest quality of care.

View a complete list of our dermatology services, and come in for a free consultation to learn more about our approach to patient care. Holly is accepting new patients at our Scarborough, ME location. Give us a call at 855-277-9689 to schedule your consultation today!

(855) 277–9689

Gretchen Shull, PA-C, Joins Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics in Mentor

Gretchen Delivers a Wide Range of Medical Dermatology Services to Patients in the Cleveland, OH Area

Optima Dermatology is excited to welcome our newest board-certified physician assistant Gretchen Shull,PA-C, to our practice in Mentor, OH. Gretchen has been providing patients with a range of medical dermatology services since 2017, and is committed to delivering an exceptional patient experience.

Gretchen received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry Studies and a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Marietta College in Ohio, and went on to complete her clinical training in dermatology at medical facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Prior to coming on board at Optima Dermatology, Gretchen worked at Butler Health System in Pennsylvania, where she had completed her first elective rotation in deramatology. Gretchen is a member of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants and is skilled at treating patients of all ages for a wide variety of dermatological conditions. 

Delivering the Highest Quality of Care

Gretchen’s approach to patient care reflects Optima Dermatology’s commitment to treating every patient the way we would want our friends and family to be treated. Gretchen is committed to delivering the highest quality of care to her patients. 

Patients who seek medical dermatology care from Gretchen will receive a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan that addresses their individual needs. Gretchen is committed to going above and beyond to ensure each of her patients has the best experience possible.

We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Gretchen, her approach, and the path that led her to pursue becoming a physician assistant in medical dermatology.

Q: Where did you go to school? Did you know you wanted to focus on dermatology from the start? 

A: Marietta College in Ohio. I was always interested in dermatology, but it wasn’t until my clinical rotations during PA school that I fell in love with the specialty and realized there was no other specialty that I wanted to work in.

Q: Why did you choose dermatology? What did the path to get there look like for you?  

A: I chose dermatology because I enjoy the variety of services that it offers. On a typical day I am seeing patients from all ages with conditions ranging from acne to melanoma. I also enjoy the mix of clinical time with procedures. Every day in the office is different. I love knowing that I’ll never get bored with the unexpected nature of what each new day will bring.

During PA school I chose to do my elective rotations in dermatology with Butler Health System in Slippery Rock, PA and Dr. Wagamon in Warren, OH. I fell in love with the specialty during my time spent on these rotations and started applying for dermatology PA jobs while in school. I was lucky enough to be hired by Butler Health System where I developed the skills and knowledge I have today. I’m excited to continue growing and learning as a dermatology PA during my next chapter with Optima Dermatology in Mentor.

Q: What is your number one tip when it comes to taking care of your skin? 

A: Wear sunscreen and visit a dermatologist for annual skin exams. Prevention and early intervention is much easier than trying to fix years of damage!

Q: What is your favorite aspect of dermatology? 

A: There are so many aspects of dermatology that I enjoy, but I think one of my favorites is the ability to get patients 100 percent clear from their conditions – whether that be skin cancer, psoriasis, acne, hair loss, etc. Through the incredible medications and medical interventions available, many of the issues in dermatology can be completely treated and patients’ lives are transformed.

Q: What is your approach to treating your patients?

A: I like to work collaboratively with my patients to diagnose and treat them in a way that makes them feel comfortable and confident. I never would want my patients to leave a visit questioning a diagnosis or being uncomfortable with a treatment plan, so I strive to ask a lot of questions and form connections with each one of my patients.

Q: What do you like to do when you are not in the office? 

I love to spend time with my family. My husband Brock and I just welcomed our first baby in April. I also have a golden retriever who I love like a second child. I also enjoy traveling, spending time outside, and relaxing after a long day with some Netflix and a good glass of wine!

Q: What is one thing you want your patients to know about you? 

A: I think it’s really important for patients to remember that their doctors and healthcare providers are people just like them. I may not know everything and have all the answers right away, but I will always do my best to help each one of my patients and treat them the way I’d want my family to be treated.

What to Expect From Dermatological Care From Gretchen and Her Team

If you’re seeking medical dermatological care, Gretchen and her team at Optima Dermatology offer a wide range of services and have advanced training and experience to ensure the highest quality of care. 

View a complete list of our dermatology services, and come in for a free consultation to learn more about our approach to patient care. Gretchen is accepting new patients at our Mentor, OH location. Give us a call at 440-530-9580 to schedule your consultation today!

(855) 277–9689

Derm Deep Dive: Psoriasis Treatment and Awareness

How to Identify, Treat, and Manage Psoriasis

We’re back with another Derm Deep Dive, a series where we provide expert advice from our board-certified dermatologists about common skin conditions or treatments. August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, and this month we sought input from our team of expert dermatologists to share information and guidance about psoriasis treatment and awareness.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that can affect any part of the body but is most often found on the knees, elbows, or scalp. This skin condition is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system in which the growth of skin cells occurs very quickly.

Normal skin cells take about a month to finish growing and be shed from the body, but psoriasis causes skin cells to finish growing every few days, and instead of shedding, they pile up on the skin’s surface and cause irritation.

In most cases, psoriasis is characterized by raised areas called plaques on the skin that are typically red, itchy, and can burn or sting. It is a lifelong disease that causes flare-ups of inflammation affecting the skin, but it can also affect the joints and other organs in the body.

Who Most Commonly Suffers from Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is not contagious and is not always hereditary. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes psoriasis in a certain individual, but we do know that it occurs when the immune system is reacting to a triggering event, which can include illness, stress, exposure to hot or cold temperatures, contact with an allergen, or even trauma to the skin, such as a burn or scrape.

About 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from psoriasis, and 125 million globally, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. While psoriasis can occur at any age, it first appears most commonly in individuals between the ages of 15 and 35.

There are five different types of psoriasis, and many individuals suffer from more than one; however, the types of psoriasis vary widely in how they affect people and can be milder or more severe depending on the flare-up and other physical or environmental factors.

What are Different Types of Psoriasis, and Which is the Most Common?

The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which affects 80-90 percent of individuals diagnosed with psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis manifests as raised patches of skin called plaques, which are itchy, red, inflamed, and often appear to have silvery scales or even a dark coloration, depending on skin type.

Other types of psoriasis include:

Less common forms:

Additionally, psoriasis can affect your joints:

Psoriatic arthritis, which can occur as a result of having any type of psoriasis and causes symptoms of arthritis in the joints. This affects about 30% of patients.

What Does Psoriasis Treatment Look Like?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder, so the goals for psoriasis treatment are to reduce the occurrence and minimize the severity of flare-ups.

Psoriasis treatment includes:

Within the last few years, different systemic  drug treatments have come available to help people manage their psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis when topicals and other lifestyle changes are not controlling the condition. New oral medications and injectable medications, called biologics, are available with very good success.

Treatment options that are also beneficial:

What are Some First Steps For Someone Newly Diagnosed with Psoriasis?

The most important step is to work with your dermatologist on a skincare plan to manage your psoriasis. Getting to the bottom of what may be causing your psoriasis flare-ups is essential for managing this condition.

Additionally, keep an open mind about your psoriasis management. This is a chronic and often lifelong condition, and while there are treatment options, it may take time to find the right one for you. If you’re working with the right dermatology professional, you will feel confident that your symptoms are being treated as effectively as possible.

What is the Biggest Misconception About Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is often confused with eczema, another very common skin condition that causes red, itchy, and sometimes flaky patches on the skin. While individuals with psoriasis report more burning and stinging associated with their flare-ups, eczema can look and feel very similar, making it difficult to self-diagnose, and emphasizing the importance of seeking a diagnosis from your board-certified dermatologist.

Additionally, we find that the emotional impact for individuals with psoriasis – and really any skin condition – is often misunderstood. Those who struggle with visible skin issues, or experience painful flare-ups, often experience significant emotional impacts such as depression, anxiety, self-consciousness, and difficulty being in public. These conditions can be extremely disruptive to everyday life, so we work with every patient to help manage symptoms and get them back to feeling confident. 

Think You Have Psoriasis? Have a Dermatologist Take a Look.

Psoriasis can cause significant discomfort but can be controlled through a skincare routine developed between you and your board-certified dermatologist.

Schedule an appointment today with an expert Optima Dermatology provider to begin your path to psoriasis management.