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Optima Dermatology Welcomes Amy Polster, MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist

Meet The Derm - Dr. Polster

Optima Dermatology is excited to welcome board-certified dermatologist, Amy Polster, MD. Dr. Polster has been providing Northeast Ohio patients with a range of dermatology and medical aesthetics services for nearly two decades and is committed to delivering empathetic, quality care.

Dr. Polster received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School in Cleveland, OH, where she received the Stuart Blaine Fisher, M.D. prize in dermatology. 

Prior to joining Optima Dermatology, Dr. Polster delivered care at a private practice in Hudson, Ohio, and at the Cleveland Clinic Chagrin Falls Family Health Center, where she was also Associate Medical Director for a number of years. 

Dr. Polster comes to Optima Dermatology with a long list of qualifications and expertise. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and a member of the American Medical Association, the Ohio Dermatological Association, and the Cleveland Dermatological Society, where she has served on the Board of Directors for multiple years. 

Delivering the Highest Quality of Care

Dr. Polster’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. She is committed to delivering the highest quality of care to her patients. 

Patients who seek dermatology and medical aesthetics care from Dr. Polster will receive a personalized and comprehensive treatment plan that addresses their individual needs. Dr. Polster 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 Dr. Polster, her approach, and the path that led her to pursue becoming a board-certified dermatologist.

Where did you go to college?

Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for my undergraduate degree, and then Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio for medical school. I then completed an internship/residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland, the Cleveland VA Medical Center, and the MetroHealth Medical Center. 

What made you decide to pursue a career in dermatology?

I liked the opportunity to be specialized in a field where I could care for young through old patients and really make a visible difference in their lives.

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

Sun protection, including sunscreen, hats, and sun protective clothing. These measures will prevent skin cancer and keep you looking your best as you get older!  

What is your favorite aspect of being a dermatologist? 

Making a difference in my patients’ lives – from improving confidence with clearer skin in a teenage acne patient to diagnosing and helping treat melanoma in an elderly patient, and everything in between. I love getting to know my patients and their whole family. I have had some patients now for 20 years!

How would you describe your approach to treating patients?

I try to take care of patients as I would like my family and friends to be cared for.

If there’s one thing you want your patients to know about you, what would it be?

I care about helping you and will do my best for you. 

What to Expect From Dermatological Care From Dr. Amy and Her Team

If you’re seeking medical aesthetics or dermatological care, Dr. Polster 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. Dr. Polster offers general dermatology care with a focus on skin cancer prevention, and early detection and treatment to patients five years of age and older. 

She also provides medical aesthetic services including Botox®, Dysport®, and Restylane® dermal fillers. 
View a complete list of our dermatology services, and come in to learn more about our approach to patient care. Dr. Polster is accepting new patients, give us a call at 330-944-3727 to schedule your appointment today!

(855) 277–9689

Dr. Ryan Karmouta, MD, MBA, Provides Expert Medical & Surgical Dermatology Services for All Ages

Dr. Ryan Brings a Wealth of Experience to Optima Dermatology’s Salem, NH Practice

Optima Dermatology is excited to welcome Dr. Ryan Karmouta, MD, MBA, to our practice in Salem, NH. Dr. Ryan provides a range of medical and surgical dermatology services and is committed to delivering an exceptional patient experience.

Dr. Ryan is a graduate of both Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School, a published author of numerous dermatological research papers, and a trainee of world-renowned medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatologists. Dr. Ryan also completed his residency training in dermatology on the East Coast at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Dr. Ryan offers a wide range of dermatologic treatments for conditions of the skin, hair, and nails, including skin cancer treatment and surgery. 

A Commitment to Family-Style Care

Dr. Ryan’s approach to patient care mirrors Optima Dermatology’s mission: to treat patients as you would your own family. 

Patients can expect personalized, comprehensive care with skincare treatments tailored to their needs. Dr. Ryan is dedicated to making a positive impact on his patients’ lives using the most appropriate approach. 

We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Dr. Ryan, his approach, and the path that led him to pursue a career in medical and surgical dermatology.

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

I went to Harvard Medical School. I had no idea I wanted to focus on dermatology until I did my rotation!

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

I really enjoyed all the specialties I rotated through – from medicine to surgery to the emergency room. I had a mentor in my third year on my medicine rotation who told me I should consider dermatology. I listened to him and did a dermatology rotation. I absolutely loved it – in dermatology, you are the expert. I love the visual nature of the field and I love how specialized it is. 

In terms of practice, the diversity and breadth of dermatology are amazing. I get to see patients of all age ranges and practice medically, surgically, and procedurally. I am fortunate enough to treat medical conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema, which often can be very challenging to patients and require close medical management. I also get to work closely with patients in skin cancer identification from skin checks and treatment, whether that be surgical or medical. 

In addition, dermatology has a close association with cosmetics. Helping people look and feel their best is very rewarding! As a dermatologist, I can help patients medically, surgically, and procedurally, which is really rewarding as we can reach for many different options when designing a treatment plan.

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

It has to be sunscreen. So many skin cancer and cosmetic concerns could be prevented with regular sunscreen use. Look for broad-spectrum SPF30+ (I prefer 45+) sunscreen. The best kind is the one you will actually wear. My favorites right now have been tinted mineral-based (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide ) sunscreens.

What is your favorite aspect of dermatology? 

While skin is superficial, skin diseases are anything but! Seeing a patient’s confidence and quality of life improve as we’re able to help them is so rewarding.

What is your approach to treating your patients? 

I strive to really understand a patient’s goals to work as a team to create a treatment plan that works best. While we have evidence-based options for certain conditions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Understanding patients’ goals for treatment and bringing my expertise to the table helps us create a plan that works best.

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

I love being outside and spending time with those close to me. You can catch my dog Ella and me hiking, camping, surfing, and traveling often.

If there was one thing you wish your patients knew about you, what would it be? 

I am here to help! Skin exams or conditions can often feel embarrassing but they don’t need to be. I will always try to make you feel as comfortable as possible so please feel free to bring anything up.

What to Expect From Dermatological Care From Dr. Ryan and His Team

If you’re seeking medical dermatological care, Dr. Ryan and his 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. Dr. Ryan 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

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.

(855) 277–9689

Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics Relocating to New, State-of-the-Art Facility in Mentor, OH

New Practice Opens July 11th, 2022

MENTOR, OH – Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics is excited to announce its relocation to a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Mentor, expected to open on July 11th, 2022. The new practice is conveniently located at 7676 Reynolds Road, just off exit 215 from Route 2. With the new location, Optima Dermatology continues to support its commitment to increasing access to expert dermatology care in the Cleveland region, and to delivering an exceptional patient experience.

The 6,000 square foot ultra-modern facility is purpose-built to provide comprehensive medical and cosmetic dermatology care. Optima Dermatology has brought on additional equipment and technology to expand their scope of medical and cosmetic services. For conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo and actinic keratosis, Optima Dermatology in Mentor now has the XTRAC®, the BLU-U® Blue Light Photodynamic Therapy llluminator, and the Houva 4®. For medical aesthetics, Optima Dermatology has added best-in-class cosmetic devices with the addition of the Sciton® for laser and light treatments, INTRAcel™ RF Microneedling, HydraFacial®, CoolSculpting®, and more.

Optima Dermatology’s team of industry-leading, board-certified dermatologists and providers is comprised of Sara Lohser, MD, Randi Toth, MSN, NP-C, and Crosby Craddock, RN. Dr. Lohser and Randi Toth treat a broad range of medical dermatology conditions and diseases, including skin cancer, eczema, acne, and psoriasis, and offer cosmetic dermatology services including Botox® and dermal filler. As the Medical Aesthetics Nurse Injector, Crosby Craddock will be offering cosmetic services such as Botox®, chemical peels, HALO™ Hybrid Fractional Laser INTRAcel™ RF Microneedling, HydraFacial®, to treat conditions like sun damage and age spots, skin laxity, fine lines and wrinkles, and acne and acne scarring.

“This new facility gives me and other Optima Dermatology providers the opportunity to really enhance the breadth and depth of medical and cosmetic services we’re able to offer to patients in the Ohio area,” said Dr. Lohser. “It’s just one more way we ensure that the quality of care we provide is equal to how we want our friends and family to be treated.”

Patients visiting Optima Dermatology’s new facility can expect custom treatment plans tailored to their needs. Dr. Lohser, Randi, and Crosby are dedicated to making a positive impact on their patients’ lives, and this exceptional team will continue to expand with new providers.

Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics looks forward to continuing to build strong partnerships with the local medical community and strives to take a collaborative approach to patient care and to provide a seamless referral process. If you are a healthcare provider interested in learning more about Optima Dermatology, please contact our medical community team at MedicalCommunity@OptimaDermatology.com. You can also call the Mentor practice at 440-740-3828, or fax at 440-283-3010.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lohser, Randi Toth, MSN, NP-C, or Crosby Craddock, RN, please call 440-740-3828. The Patient Support Team is available Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For more information, including a full list of services, please visit https://optimadermatology.com/locations/oh/mentor-oh.

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About Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics

Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics is revolutionizing skincare. Our mission centers on creating greater access to expert dermatology care and delivering an unparalleled patient experience. With a focus on excellence and innovation, our world-class team is highly engaged, mission-driven, and inspired to set the new standard in dermatology. Our guiding principle is to treat each and every patient as we would want our friends and family to be treated, and we are committed to being your trusted experts in all aspects of skincare.

Media Contact:

Brianne Baker

Director of Marketing

(203) 240-5865

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(855) 277–9689

All About Warts and Wart Treatment

Learn What to Do and What to Expect if You Have a Wart

July is Wart Awareness Month, a perfect time to learn more about what warts are, what types of warts you can have, and wart treatment options. 

In this post, you’ll learn what to expect during an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist if you decide to see a professional for wart treatment.

What is a Wart?

A wart is a benign growth on the skin caused by a viral infection with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the hands and feet. 

While warts are contagious through direct or indirect contact and can cause some discomfort, such as pain or itchiness, they are generally not a significant concern. Many will go away on their own, and if they are a bit more stubborn, can be treated with medication or removed. 

How Do People Get Warts?

HPV is a virus that attacks skin cells when they are exposed through a cut. Once inside the skin, the virus causes the skin cells to grow rapidly, forming a wart.

Warts can be spread through skin-to-skin contact or contact with a towel or clothing that has been exposed to a wart. If you have a wart, you can also spread it to other parts of your body. For these reasons, personal hygiene and exercising caution in certain public settings are extremely important to prevent the spread of warts. 

Some warts, which you’ll learn about below, are commonly spread in locker rooms or gyms and among athletes – all activities where direct or indirect contact is more frequent and in moist, wet environments where the virus can thrive. 

Different Types of Warts and How to Identify Them

The following are warts that are most commonly seen in our practice, and each type manifests, behaves, and is treated differently. 

Common Warts

As the name suggests, these warts are the most common among individuals. They typically appear on the fingers and toes and can be rough to the touch or feature tiny, black dots where blood vessels have clotted around the wart.

Flat Warts

A flat wart is smooth and flat-topped and appears most often on the face, backs of the hands, arms, and legs. They are also most commonly found in children and young adults.

Plantar Warts

This type of wart grows on the bottoms and soles of the feet and is often painful. Plantar warts are commonly contracted by walking barefoot in moist, wet, communal environments such as a locker room or in a gym shower. For this reason, we recommend always wearing some type of footwear when in those settings to protect your feet. 

Filiform Warts

Filiform warts are unique in appearance and are characterized by long, narrow projections that grow out from the skin. They are often yellow, brown, pink, or skin-toned and most often manifest on the face, neck, lips, or eyelids. 

Periungual Warts

These warts are typically found in the grooves of nail beds, making them difficult to treat. They can also be located underneath the nail, in which case they are classified as a subungual wart. Subungual warts can be more difficult to treat because of their location under the nail. 

Wart Treatment Options

There are different treatments for warts depending on the type of wart you have, where it is located, and how long you’ve had the wart. Some warts, like Plantar Warts, become harder to treat the longer you have them because they root deeper down into the skin over time. 

While there are home remedies and over-the-counter topical treatments for smaller warts that don’t cause symptoms. If you have painful warts or notice several warts on your skin, it’s best to seek treatment from a board-certified dermatologist.  

Your dermatologist will be able to recommend the best treatment for your specific wart. Some common treatments can include cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart, or remove it using lasers or surgical removal. 

At Optima Dermatology & Medical Aesthetics, our expert, board-certified dermatologists create a welcoming environment to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Schedule an appointment today to discuss wart treatment plans.

(855) 277–9689

Derm Deep Dive: Acne Awareness Month

What You Should Know About Acne and How to Effectively Treat It

We’re back with another Derm Deep Dive, a series where we provide expert advice from one of our board-certified dermatologists about common skin conditions or treatments. June is Acne Awareness Month, so we’re speaking with Dr. Brian Connolly, MD, about acne, to understand what it is and what causes it, who is at risk, and how to treat it. 

What Is Acne and What Causes It?

Acne is a disorder of the oil glands and hair follicles, and while it can be caused by many different factors, there are 4 key events that lead to acne formation: 

  1. Plugging of a hair follicle with oil and dead skin cells. The skin produces oil and sheds skin cells regularly, which can sometimes build up in the hair follicle and clog the follicle. If the clogged follicle becomes infected, it forms a pimple.
  2. Excess oil production. The areas of the body that produce the most oil include the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders, and excess oil production can block or clog hair follicles, creating bacteria and a resulting infection that causes pimples to form.
  3. The proliferation of a normal skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P acnes). P acnes are a slow-growing bacterium that is involved in the development of acne on the skin.  
  4. Inflammation. Excess oil or dead skin cells that plug or block hair follicles can cause them to become inflamed, and when inflammation occurs deep inside the hair follicle, a cyst-like bump forms beneath the skin. When this happens across an area of the body, it results in acne.

Acne has no cure, but there are many different medications that work to effectively treat it. In most cases, anyone with acne can achieve clearer skin with the right treatment and skincare routine. 

What Are the Different Types of Acne?

There are many different types of acne that can affect individuals in different ways. However, there are three main types:

  1. Comedonal: Characterized by small, light or dark-colored bumps called comedones, and is most common on the forehead, nose, or chin. Sometimes, these comedones stay in this stage, or progress to a more serious type of acne.
  2. Inflammatory: This type of acne is characterized by bumps that are bigger than comedones and are often surrounded by redness. They may or may not possess a white head in the center.
  3. Nodulocystic: Characterized by acne bumps, called nodules, that are larger than comedones and inflammatory acne bumps. With nodulocystic acne, the bumps are deeper in the skin and may hurt or leak fluid. 

What are Common Triggers That Cause Acne Flare-Ups?

There is no single factor that causes an acne flare-up. Frequently, hormones are a major driver of acne, and hormonal changes that occur during puberty or during a menstrual cycle can have a significant effect on the skin’s oil production and the severity of acne.

Diet is a controversial topic. Although chocolate and dairy have long been thought to contribute to acne flare-ups, studies are mixed. Newer research has suggested that eating foods with a high glycemic index, such as white bread, white rice, and processed foods like crackers, sugary snacks, and soda or other sugary drinks may exacerbate acne more than chocolate or dairy.

Who Is at Risk of Getting Acne?

Everyone can expect to get acne in varying degrees once they have started puberty. In fact, mild acne with comedones can be the first sign that puberty has begun. 

Prior to puberty, acne is also common during the neonatal and infantile stages (birth to 1 year of age). Acne at this age is related to hormonal changes occurring after birth. During the mid-childhood stages (ages 1- 6 years old) acne is very rare. Women can also have a reoccurrence of acne in the peri-menopausal years (around age 40 and up).

Are Certain Skin Types More Acne-Prone?

Acne isn’t necessarily related to skin type as all skin types can suffer from acne. It is more related to hormonal changes and genetic predisposition. If your parents had mild acne, it is likely you will also have mild acne. If your parents suffered from moderate or severe acne, it is likely you will as well.

What Does Acne Treatment Look Like?

Treatment generally involves combinations of topical and oral medications designed to treat specific elements of acne formation.

For acne-prone skin, the easiest place to start is with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid washes, which are available over the counter. Anyone with acne should wash their face and/or body with these washes 1-2 times per day.

Avoid aggressive moisturizing of the skin as that can clog pores and promote acne development. Use light moisturizers that say “non-comedogenic” on the label. Non-comedogenic sunscreens are also good for acne-prone skin.

What Does a Home Remedy Look Like?

Everyone should try the following at-home regimen:

The skin will dry out a bit, which is necessary to make improvements to acne. Increase this regimen as tolerated to 5 nights per week, and continue for 3 months. There might be an initial flare for the first month as the skin “purges”, but keep going! We don’t declare anything a treatment failure until it has been done for 3 months. If you experience worsening of your acne or no improvement after 3 months, it’s time to seek medical help.

How Will a Dermatologist Treat My Acne?

Treatment options you can expect from your dermatologist may include:

A Good Skincare Regimen Goes a Long Way

We work with our patients to identify the right treatments and help establish lifestyle changes that can promote clearer skin. I’m currently accepting new patients – schedule an appointment with me at Optima Dermatology’s Exeter, NH clinic to discuss your questions and concerns, and begin a healthier approach to skincare!

(855) 277–9689

Jill Bickford, BSN, RN, is Optima Dermatology’s Newest Medical Aesthetics Nurse Injector

Medical Aesthetics Expertise and a Comprehensive Range of the Most Effective Medical Cosmetic Treatments Available 

Optima Dermatology is excited to welcome our newest Medical Aesthetics Nurse Injector, Jill Bickford, BSN, RN to our practice in Portsmouth, NH. Jill has been caring for patients in the New Hampshire Seacoast region for two decades and has expertise in a range of medical aesthetic treatments including neurotoxin injection treatments, dermal fillers, microneedling, laser treatments, chemical peels, and more. 

Jill’s medical background includes 14 years working in critical care at Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire before transitioning to medical aesthetics. Jill received training from the Esthetic Skin Institute, is trained as a Coolsculpting Master Provider, and routinely trains with industry leaders to stay on top of the latest aesthetic procedures and technologies. 

A Commitment to Excellent Patient Care

Jill’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. 

Jill’s patients can expect individualized aesthetic treatment plans tailored to their needs. She is passionate about making a positive impact in her patients’ lives and strives to build long-term relationships with her patients.

We recently had the opportunity to learn more about Jill, her approach, and the path that led her to pursue aesthetic dermatology.

How and when did you know you wanted to be a nurse? Were you always interested in aesthetic services, and what was your path to working in aesthetics?

I wrote a report about wanting to be a nurse back in the eighth grade and still have it to this day. I was a critical care nurse for many years before being introduced to aesthetic nursing. I used to joke that I would give up nursing and become a professional makeup artist if I ever left the ICU. I am so fortunate to have found aesthetics and to be able to use my nursing knowledge in combination with my passion for artistry and balance.

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

I enjoy the reaction from my patients when we compare before and after photos. I take that opportunity to point out that even the slightest changes can have a massive impact on creating a well-rested and rejuvenated appearance. My approach is distinctive because I build respectful and trusting relationships with my patients while providing safe care that results in high satisfaction. I think that can be a challenge to find in today’s world.

Which patients would you recommend a VI chemical peel treatment for? What kind of results can patients expect to see?  

VI Peels can help a variety of skin concerns, including sun damage, melasma, uneven skin texture, enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles, active acne, and acne scarring. These chemical peels can be used on all skin tones, and a series of treatments can genuinely transform the skin and create a refreshed glow to the skin. Patients also love these treatments to help maintain their radiant appearance over the course of the year!

Which patients would you recommend a microneedling treatment for? What are the benefits of incorporating PRP into the treatment? 

Microneedling brings a multitude of benefits to patients, including the softening of fine lines and wrinkles, minimizing the appearance of pores, improving overall skin tone and texture, and softening the appearance of scars. Causing an injury to the surface of the skin helps the body to create more collagen and elastin. Not only does this help hasten the appearance of aging skin, but it works wonders on scars. I have seen everything from deep, pitted acne scarring to thick, raised scars from a dog attack that have dramatically improved from microneedling. 

For added benefit, platelet-rich plasma can be used with this treatment. Otherwise known as PRP, this technology involves drawing a tube of blood from the patient and spinning it down in a centrifuge until the whole red blood separates from the gold-colored plasma that is concentrated with platelets. When applied to the skin after microneedling, or even when injected underneath the surface of the skin, PRP can accelerate the skin’s healing and overall rejuvenation process.  Additionally, PRP has other benefits, such as restoring hair growth to those experiencing hair loss.

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

I love spending my free time with my family and friends, watching my kids play sports, and going cycling, hiking, and camping. Summers in New England are the best. I also enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and staying up to date on everything related to aesthetics!

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

If you know me, you would know that I take pride in everything I do! I am working hard on my graduate degree to become a nurse practitioner. After 20 years as a nurse, I’m eager for this next step in my professional path with Optima. Their guiding principle is to treat every patient like a friend or family member, which aligns perfectly with my approach to patient care.

What to Expect From Dermatological Treatments From Jill and Her Team

If you’re considering an aesthetic treatment such as a neurotoxin injection or dermal filler, it’s important to understand your options and explore the best treatments for your specific goals. 

Our expert team of specialized medical aesthetic providers, like Jill, have advanced training and experience for a range of procedures and treatments. These include:

Come in for a free consultation to learn what will work best for you. Jill is accepting new patients at our new Optima Medical Aesthetics location in Portsmouth, NH. Give us a call at 603-942-2026 to schedule your consultation today!

(855) 277–9689

Discover the Benefits of PDO Threads by V Soft Lift®

Why PDO Threads are an Excellent Alternative to a Facelift

Looking for a light lift to your face or tightening but unsure about pursuing a facelift procedure? PDO threads are a great, less invasive alternative to a facelift to help the appearance of sagging skin.

At our Macedonia, Ohio practice, Optima Dermatology is now offering PDO thread lifts by V Soft Lift®, an FDA-cleared company that provides a trusted and effective palette of threads for facial rejuvenation, lift, volume, and support.

What Are PDO Threads?

PDO refers to polydioxanone, a polymer used in medical sutures that the body safely absorbs over time. PDO threads have been trusted to both lift and smooth skin on the face and neck for many years. And because the threads are biodegradable and dissolvable, they will break down naturally in the body, leaving behind new production of collagen and elastin that gives skin a firmer, more lifted appearance.

How Do PDO Threads Work?

PDO threads work by causing an increase in blood flow to the area in which they are placed , creating collagen, elastin and hyaluronic production and, in turn, rejuvenating the firmness and radiance of the skin.

PDO threads serve two primary purposes – to lift and to smooth. Each outcome requires a different technique depending on your skin condition and the results you are looking to achieve.

Below, we explain both the lifting and smoothing techniques and how the threads and the treatments differ in order to create the desired effect.

How Do PDO Threads Create Lifting and Smoothing?

For the lifting technique, the needle, called the cannula, is inserted under the skin. The PDO threads are inserted  and released once the needle is removed. The thread then causes an increase in blood flow to that area and begins to produce collagen and elastin. After 6- months, the thread is fully absorbed leaving new collagen in its place, and leaves skin with a firmer more lifted appearance.

For the smoothing technique, several smaller PDO threads are inserted under the skin in a hashtag pattern to ensure uniform collagen production. The thread will increase blood flow to the area and create new collagen and elastin production. The thread is then absorbed over 3-6 months leaving a new production of collagen in its place and skin is left with a noticeably smoother and more radiant appearance.

The smoothing threads can also be used in conjunction with other treatments such as Botox or dermal filler for even stronger results.

What Can I Expect From a PDO Thread Lift Treatment?

A PDO thread treatment typically takes less than an hour with minimal downtime. For a lifting treatment, the effects of a thread lift are visible immediately and continue to improve over time. The results from a smooth thread treatment take more time, about 4-6 weeks after treatment. For a smooth thread treatment, a series is usually recommended for best results.

Recovery varies by patient and treatment. You may experience some bruising or swelling, and most patients are able to return to normal activities right away. We do recommend avoiding rubbing your face or any activities that involve tightening the face, as well as vigorous activities.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a PDO Thread Lift?

Because PDO threads are versatile and can be used for a variety of skin smoothing, rejuvenation, and tightening, many patients are excellent candidates for this treatment.

Some common areas/reasons for PDO thread treatment include:

In order to determine if PDO threads are right for your skin condition and goals, please schedule a consultation with Shelley Plescia, our Medical Aesthetics Provider in Macedonia, OH.

Our team of expert dermatologists and medical aesthetic providers are highly skilled, with advanced training and experience in a range of procedures and treatments. Our team also values exceptional patient care above all else, so you’ll know you’re in good hands.

(855) 277–9689

Derm Deep Dive: Skin Cancer Awareness

What You Should Know About Skin Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

We’re back with another Derm Deep Dive, a series where we provide expert advice from one of our board-certified dermatologists about common skin conditions or treatments. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re speaking with Dr. Meredith Reimer, MD, about skin cancer, including early detection and prevention, and treatment.

The Importance of Skin Cancer Awareness

I have always been a proponent for greater skin cancer awareness – what it is, how and how often to check your skin, what to look for, and when to visit a dermatologist.

Early detection of skin cancer is key to making treatment more effective. While skin cancer is usually visible, it often goes undetected, leading to annual increases in skin cancer diagnoses. Did you know…

1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Anyone at any age can be diagnosed with skin cancer and should take precautions to prevent or identify skin cancer.

9,500 people in the U.S. are estimated to be diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and rates are only increasing, especially among women and individuals under the age of 40.

3 million Americans are diagnosed each year with nonmelanoma skin cancer. This type of cancer is the most common and includes ​​basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

62,260 invasive melanoma cases occurred among men in 2021, and 43,850 occurred among women, making it the fifth most common cancer among males and the sixth most common among females.

What You Can Do to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer

To ensure you’re in tune with your skin and able to notice any new, changing, or unusual areas, I recommend a thorough self-exam once each month, in addition to seeing a board-certified dermatologist regularly for skin checks.

A self-exam requires a mirror and a bright light so you can see your skin well, and you should be sure to check areas you don’t see each day (or ever!) like your scalp, back, under the breasts, the buttocks, and the backs of your legs.

You should also keep an eye out for:

The more regularly you conduct a self-exam, the more likely it is that you will notice a new or different spot on your skin and be able to intervene. There are elements of our skin that naturally change over time, but you should always err on the side of caution and see a board-certified dermatologist with any concerns.

At-Home Skin Checks Don’t Replace the Dermatologist

National Skin Care Awareness Month is important for reminding individuals of the importance of visiting a dermatologist for a skin check. However, I try to remind all my patients that a skin check with a dermatologist should be done at least once each year to complement self-exams.

As with any medical visit, your provider is more likely to notice something you may overlook or not see at all. I know many patients may feel hesitant to come in for a skin check, or simply feel that it isn’t necessary, but I’m hoping to dispel any concerns with a breakdown of what you can expect when you come in for a skin check.

As with any medical visit, it’s so important to vocalize any concerns or questions! Even if it is in a sensitive region of your body, or you think it’s not significant, never ignore something on your skin that concerns you. I’m here to help and I’ve seen it all!

Think of Every Month Is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

When it comes to skin cancer, awareness is critical and leads to prevention and greater success rates for treatment. I’m currently accepting new patients – schedule an appointment with me at Optima Dermatology’s Macedonia, OH clinic for a skin check, to discuss your questions and concerns, and begin a healthier approach to skin care!