Keeping your skin healthy or enhancing its appearance can be challenging, but the medical and aesthetic professionals of PHDermatology (formerly known as Palm Harbor Dermatology) provide state-of-the-art skin care at four locations, all within a reasonably short drive from New Tampa: Westchase, Brandon, South Tampa and Palm Harbor.
PHDermatology’s Board-certified doctors treat skin diseases and disorders, including skin cancers, and its State-licensed aestheticians provide personalized skin guidance and permanent cosmetic procedures to help you look your best.
Visitors to the South Tampa office, located on S. MacDill Ave. (at the intersection of Azeele St.), may recognize Margaret Rinker, M.D., who treated patients at Tampa Palms Dermatology from 2004 until 2014. Dr. Rinker earned her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Her dermatology residency was through the University of South Florida (USF)’s College of Medicine in Tampa and she is Board-certified in dermatology.
According to Dr. Rinker, treating skin diseases, particularly cancers, is the primary focus of PHDermatology.
“Skin cancer is the biggest thing we do here,” says Dr. Rinker. “Being in Florida it is extremely prevalent, especially in our elderly population.”
She adds that there are many other conditions that warrant dermatological attention, such as acne, rashes, eczema and psoriasis.
When it comes to treating skin cancer, PHDermatology offers screenings, biopsies and treatments. The medical professionals at all four offices use Mohs Micrographic surgery to treat patients with both basal and squamous cell cancers, the most common forms of skin cancer. Dr. Rinker says it is the most thorough and convenient way available to treat skin cancer patients. “It’s all done in the office, under local anesthesia.”
If cancer cells exist too close to the margins of the excised material, more skin is removed from the patient to be sure all cancer is removed.
Dr. Rinker says the procedure is rarely useful for melanoma cancer, as it does not work effectively with those kinds of tumors, and melanoma has a greater tendency to metastasize, or spread quickly.
Mohs surgery differs from usual skin cancer surgery in that a doctor can determine if all the cancer has been removed while a patient is still in the office. The alternative is to send the removed specimen out to a lab for analysis and, if it is determined that not all of the cancer was removed, another surgical procedure would need to be scheduled and performed. “This allows you to wait until you know it is clear before you close it up,” Dr. Rinker says. “It also offers a cosmetically better outcome and a smaller scar.”
All four of PHDermatology’s offices are set up to perform Mohs surgery. The determination of whether or not to use Mohs surgery is decided on an individual basis, depending upon the size and location of the cancer.
Patients with melanomas can be treated in the office, if it is caught early enough. If not, patients are referred to the Moffitt Cancer Center, which is located on the USF Tampa campus.
Precancerous lesions, such as actinic keratoses, can be treated with photodynamic therapy (PDT). A photo-sensitizing solution is applied to the affected area, which is then exposed to light. Patients need to completely avoid the sun for two days after treatment. PDT also is used to treat acne and sun damage.
Other Available Treatments
In addition to treating skin diseases and disorders, PHDermatology offers a variety of treatments, services and products that can enhance an individual’s appearance. Dr. Rinker says there is nothing superficial about the benefits these options offer.
“Skin conditions, because they’re visible to everyone else, can cause a lot of stress, anxiety and even social isolation,” she says.
M22 IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Rejuvenation is used to treat blemishes like freckles, uneven pigmentation, birthmarks, age and sun spots, as well as rosacea. The pulsing light penetrates the skin tissue of the targeted area, creating heat. The body’s healing process removes the treated skin while collagen and elastic fiber are produced. Sessions typically last less than one hour and depending upon the need, the treatment may be administered from one to six times over a period of a few weeks. Patients can resume their normal activities immediately after the treatment in most cases, although it is recommended to stay out of the sun for a few days and apply sunscreen as well.
Dr. Rinker also notes that loose skin, such as around the waist, under the chin and on the arms, is often the result of fatty deposits. CoolSculpting is a method that eliminates that fat by freezing it with a device that applies targeted cooling. The fat is then reabsorbed and eliminated by the body.
Also available at PHDermatology is the Silhouette InstaLift, which is an alternative to traditional face lifts, whereby sutures are inserted into the cheek area to reposition and elevate facial skin, contour the face and give a more youthful appearance. As the body absorbs the sutures, collagen is produced as part of the healing process. Most activities can be resumed following the treatment, with benefits generally lasting about 18 months.
Skin Care From A Familiar Face
People interested in a personalized skincare program using selected products from manufacturers such as SkinCeuticals, ClearChoice, Obagi and Avene, among others, can get guidance from onsite, licensed aestheticians. One of them is Leanne Carter, who joined PHDermatology’s South Tampa office six months ago, after working in New Tampa for 20 years, first at the old Bostonian Hair Salon in Tampa Palms and then at her own business, Facial Accents by Leanne. Carter says being part of the PHDermatology team gives her the opportunity to better serve people’s needs.
“The level of skin care I can offer clients is highly elevated working in a dermatology practice,” she says.
Carter also provides permanent eyebrow and eyeliner cosmetic solutions, as well as postsurgical skin care, chemical peels and dermaplaning treatments. She is also trained in reconstructive techniques, such as areola restoration following a mastectomy.
Some of the other aesthetic services available at PHDermatology include Botox and filler injections, a variety of facials and hair removal.
Dr. Rinker notes that providing aesthetic care, as well as medical treatments, enables PHDermatology to accommodate a greater range of needs. “My number one priority is medical care,” she says. “We are the experts in skin care, so we want to make it (aesthetic care) available for people who want it.”
PHDermatology patient Ethel Murphy says that Dr. Rinker has been her skin care specialist for the last 15 years. “Anything from Botox to laser skin treatments, skin cancer treatments, PDTs and photodynamic therapies/blue light treatments,” Ethel says. “I have also had two types of skin cancers, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. Her treatment is customized, specialized, and very individual to each patient. Dr. Rinker knows my skin sensitivities. My outdoor lifestyle needs (which include playing tennis and boating regularly) have to be met in conjunction with my skin cancer.”
She adds, “My treatments go beyond what happens at her office. She will send me the latest research about the treatments from medical journals that she subscribes to. I do not have to do the research on my own and I always trust her medical judgment. The treatment and care I received at the office is wonderful. It’s all about preventive measures in the fight against skin cancer.”
Another PHDermatology physician who might be familiar to Neighborhood News readers is Isabel Valencia, M.D., who worked at Tampa Palms Dermatology from 2008 until 2013. She treats patients at the Westchase PHDermatology office on Sheldon Rd., one mile north of Linebaugh Ave.
Dr. Valencia also is Board-certified in dermatology, earning her Medical Degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. She completed her dermatology residency at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, FL.
PHDermatology was founded in 2008 by Dr. Amy Ross, who earned her M.D. degree at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, where she also completed her dermatology residency, followed by a dermatologic surgery fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. She, too, is Board-certified in dermatology. Dr. Ross opened her practice in 2008 as Palm Harbor Dermatology, reflecting the office’s Pinellas County location. As the practice grew to four offices, it was renamed PHDermatology.
To learn more about PHDermatology, visit PHDermatology.com or call toll-free, (855) 743-4968. PHDermatology’s offices are located at: 310 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa; 4197 Woodlands Pkwy., Palm Harbor; 11601 Sheldon Rd., Westchase; and 621 Medical Care Dr., Brandon.