Age and Dermatology: Dr. Tim Ioannides on Elderly Skin-Care

As skin is the body’s largest organ, with the average person carrying roughly eight pounds of skin, it is also one of the most vital organs. Exposed to the elements, protective of all internal organs and systems, and consistently acting as the first line of defense against pollutants, skin plays an integral role throughout life’s daily operations, and is responsible for various aspects of wellbeing. With such a pivotal role in providing, fostering, and protecting long-term health and wellness, skin must be treated with care throughout all of life’s stages.

During older adulthood, the human skin essentially suffers the consequences of a lifetime of poor decisions, unhealthy habits, and lack of care. Childhood sunburns return in the form of sun damage, scars bear the weight of trauma, and unique skin conditions develop from a lifetime of poor environmental conditions. Thus, older adulthood remains a crucial age to take proactive care of the skin, and its’ continued manifestations of conditions.

In addition to the negative effects developed throughout youth, skin naturally ages, as does the individual. During older adulthood, skin loses elasticity, and ages in a manner consistent with the remainder of the body. Thus, it is also important for older adults to care for the skin’s changing states, unique to aging. Attempting to counterbalance the potentially negative effects of skin’s aging, older adults must be increasingly vigilant in self-care efforts related to skin.

Finally, with all of these factors at play, self-awareness, education, and proactive care can be vastly beneficial for older adults. By gaining confidence in their individual ability to recognize skin’s changes, utilize remedies correctly, and engage in safe skin behaviors, older adults can maintain optimal skin health.

With knowledge being a key factor for such proactive measures, older adults benefit greatly from developing, and maintaining, positive relationships with their Dermatologists, who act as wonderful educators in the realm of skin self-care. Dermatologists can educate patients, giving them the confidence to recognize changes in their normal skin behavior and aesthetics, and foster a relationship conducive to reporting these perceived changes without worry. Through the development of a positive long-term relationship with a Dermatological provider, said specialist can essentially become a lifelong purveyor of health and wellness, being able to accurately provide care as a result of this long-term relationship.

Within the ever-changing field of medicine, with technological advancements sometimes replacing face-to-face communication, it can sometimes be difficult for older adults to garner the information, confidence, and wherewithal needed to proactively care for their skin. With doctors spending less time with patients, and relying more on support staff for routine examinations, it may be difficult to foster this ideal patient-provider relationship.

For Florida’s leading Dermatologist, Dr. Tim Ioannides, maintaining these proactive relationships with patients on a long-term timeline remains at the forefront of his focus. With many of his patients receiving expert care from Dr. Ioannides for multiple decades, he has built a solid reputation within the local community as a healthcare provider dedicated to educating patients, especially within the senior community. For the CEO of the ever-growing Treasure Coast Dermatology practice, there lies a purposeful mission in leading the battle against the most common medical skin concerns for the older adult community. Dedicated to spreading awareness of the importance of medical dermatology, Dr. Ioannides has devoted his professional practice to providing medically driven treatment, education, and awareness for all communities, including the geriatric population.

Excelling within his formal education from a young age, Dr. Ioannides garnered his medical degree from the University of Miami’s School of Medicine. Upon the completion of a coveted internship at the University of Florida School of Medicine Health Science Center, Ioannides completed his residency at the University of Miami School of Medicine in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital. In addition to succeeding within his education, Ioannides garnered various community accolades, and joined various continuing-education groups. Dr. Ioannides became Board Certified in Dermatology by the American Board of Dermatology. Additionally, he became a fellow member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the American Society for Mohs Surgery,  the American Medical Association, and the Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery.

Entering the field post-matriculation, Dr. Ioannides garnered employment within an already-established dermatological practice. While he perfected various pertinent skills within this introductory position, Dr. Ioannides was left with a continued desire to focus on providing medically based dermatological treatments, interventions, and solutions. With his employer focusing on providing predominantly beauty based dermatological procedures, Dr. Ioannides’ passion remained within the treatment of various skin conditions, development of treatment for life-threatening skin related illnesses, and the spread of prolonged skin health within the local community.

Upon gathering pertinent experience, and confidence in his professional motivations, Dr. Ioannides combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his passion for medical dermatology, and spearheaded an independent venture. Touting his newly formed private practice Treasure Coast Dermatology, Dr. Ioannides began his practice with the mission of developing long-term relationships with clients, focusing on medical interventions related to skin conditions, and serving the local community, with a large population of aging adults serviced in the counties of Martin, Port St. Lucie, and Indian River.

Ioannides’ daily operations remain conducive to the unique needs, learning styles, and communication patterns of the elderly population he serves. Choosing to avoid “medical extenders”, or the utilization of support staff for routine appointments, Dr. Ioannides personally sees each patient throughout their appointment. This important facet allows Dr. Ioannides to instill confidence in his patients, develop a long-term positive relationship, and build the trust needed for patients to actively express concerns, changes, and other factors that will aide in their continued treatment.

For this same reason, Treasure Coast Dermatology remains devoid of computer use throughout patient appointments, which is a practice difficult to come across throughout the predominantly tech-driven modern medical field. While many practitioners spend the majority of an appointment time looking at a computer screen, Dr. Ioannides identifies this practice as being largely detrimental toward the patient-provider relationship, and even detrimental to the care provided, as the Dermatologist literally cannot observe a patient’s body while preoccupied with inputting data. For many older adults receiving dermatological care, the ability to garner their doctor’s full attention may mean the difference between showcasing a changing mole, and feeling as though the doctor is “distracted”. For many older adults, who did not experience the rampant personal tech boom throughout their professional years, this face-to-face interaction is crucial.

While this method may be deemed less streamlined for the practice, Dr. Ioannides utilizes a swift transcription service, taking voice notes post-appointment, which are then transcribed swiftly into notes. For Dr. Ioannides, the benefits provided by this practice far outweigh the small loss of streamlining, and he has developed a system that allows the practice to appropriately document appointments, without sacrificing face-to-face contact.

With a growing population of individuals over the age of 65, Dr. Ioannides regularly focuses on the unique dermatological needs of older adults within his practice. As individuals, and their skin, continue to age, their chances of developing skin-related issues continues to increase. Thus, older adults experience higher rates of skin cancers, where education, early detection, advocacy, and swift treatment may be the difference between successful treatment, and the spread of said cancer.

As the geriatric population develops the most skin damage, healthy moles can become cancerous. Thus, at Treasure Coast Dermatology, Dr. Ioannides takes great care in providing proactive education for older adults, teaching each patient to perform routine skin examinations, looking for changes in existing moles, as well as the development of new moles. Dr. Ioannides stresses the importance of older adults taking proactive measures to be their own advocate, as these patients see their skin more often than any doctor, and can recognize more nuanced changes. He works to actively dispel misinformation related to skin cancer, and to instill the confidence needed for patients to receive care for all perceived skin changes.

In terms of skin cancer treatment, Dr. Ioannides is a leader within the field, providing highly-specialized Mohs Surgery, which is considered the most concise, and effective way of totally removing cancerous tissue, while keeping the surrounding skin intact. Having received the specialized education required to perform this renowned surgery, Dr. Ioannides successfully performs this “root-removing” specialized procedure for a multitude of elderly patients, as skin cancer continues to be an epidemic within this population. At Treasure Coast Dermatology, elderly patients who qualify for Mohs Micrographic Surgery are provided with educational tools, explanation of the procedure and what to expect, and are left feeling confident in their aggressive treatment solutions.

For elderly patients, skin cancer continues to be the single-most skin related condition. With the death rate from melanoma continuously on the rise throughout the last 35 years, the importance of raising public awareness is a matter of national importance. For Dr. Ioannides, educating older patients, who may not have previously received extensive and proactive education within this field, is an effective way to limit the deaths related to melanoma in the geriatric population.

In terms of successful melanoma treatment, time is of the essence. Generally, medical dermatologists are able to predict the curability of melanoma tumors based on their size. While malignant melanoma tumors that are less than 0.75 of a millimeter in thickness are almost always cured, tumors that exceed this size remain less and less curable. Thus, being able to identify melanoma in its earliest stages is crucial for timely treatment, and an important aspect of skin self-care for all geriatric patients. At Treasure Coast Dermatology, professionals provide effective tactics for elderly patients to identify potential melanoma, including identification of risk factors from various biological concerns, environmental factors, and lifestyle based factors.

In addition to treating skin cancers within the elderly population, Dr. Ioannides also cares for various skin related complications that occur as a result of other diseases that often progress within late adulthood. Congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other diseases can contribute to the breakdown of skin in older patients, rendering it difficult to control without eliminating the root cause of the skin condition. With skin conditions like psoriasis sometimes linked to arthritis, Dr. Ioannides provides medical care for these conditions for the elderly community, focusing on eliminating, or decreasing, symptoms of these conditions, for the purpose of maintaining healthy skin. With psoriatic conditions also activated by certain medications, and older adults being more likely to take multiple medications that may trigger these flare ups, older adults require active care for conditions like psoriasis, which are the result of extenuating circumstances. For Dr. Ioannides, psoriasis care is individually based, and causology often plays a pivotal role in selecting the most effective treatment options.

Herpes Zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a viral infection that remains dormant within the body for an extended period of time, and can become active later in life. Though the exact cause of this re-awakening of the viral infection remains somewhat unclear, it is thought that events that weaken the immune system can be the catalyst for shingles to emerge. Thus, individuals over the age of 50 are vastly more susceptible to experiencing shingles. As the first common side effects of shingles are highly visible, early detection is a pivotal tool for successful, timely treatment. With side effects like severe tingling on one side of the body, the emergence of a red rash, and groups of blisters, the emergence of the virus is highly physical. As a part of a proactive self-care regimen for the elderly, Dr. Ioannides educates older adults at risk for the development of shingles in terms of recognizing early symptoms, and determining their potential risk for shingles.

As the skin begins to age, various unique conditions, illnesses, and concerns may become apparent. As with all healthcare related issues, an educated, proactive approach to self-treatment provides a solid background for self-advocacy, and receiving timely medical intervention. Thus, for Dr. Ioannides, and many other medical professionals serving the growing elderly population, developing public education efforts remains at the forefront for this unique population. By purposefully engaging with his elderly patients, Dr. Ioannides maintains long-term trust-based relationships with his loyal patients, creating an open atmosphere, ideal for sharing skin-related changes, concerns, or insights that can eventually become life-saving.

With unique needs to be taken into consideration by individuals, as well as their medical professionals, the niche field of elderly medical dermatology remains growing, evolving, and based on the continued desire to assist older individuals with prolonging their health, and overall wellness. For Dr. Ioannides, this particular calling is the basis of his passion for medical dermatology. A leader in the field, Dr. Ioannides continues to serve the elderly population, and works tirelessly to aide in the skin health of this population. With increasing numbers of individuals living longer, healthier lives, elderly dermatological care is a growing field that will continue to gain importance in terms of maintaining overall health and wellness.

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