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Prevention is the Best Protection

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


Those words famously pronounced by historical icon Benjamin Franklin all those years ago still ring true today in so many ways, especially when it comes to proper skin care. With Florida’s year-round abundant sunshine drawing more folks outside to soak up the rays, it’s become more important than ever to protect the largest organ in the body in order to avoid potentially dangerous outcomes.

Whether you’re spending the afternoon on the golf course, dipping your toes into the sand at the beach or enjoying any of the other number of outdoor activities the region has to offer, it’s wise for Central Floridians to protect and not neglect their skin. And with kids soon trading in their pool floats for pencils and heading back to school, now is actually the perfect time for the whole family to get an annual skin examination.

Thankfully, Central Florida is blessed with a dermatology practice committed to offering experienced providers, cutting-edge treatment and the latest technologies. For almost 35 years, Associates in Dermatology has been synonymous with high-quality dermatological care in the local community. As the president and medical director of the practice, Dr. Michael Steppie has built a strong reputation thanks to his unrivaled passion for serving the community through clinical, general and cosmetic dermatology.

A board-certified physician who has completed residencies in dermatology and dermatologic surgery, he is renowned for his years of service in the field and is an accomplished surgeon with vast experience in the highly specialized treatment known as Mohs surgery, which is used for the removal of skin cancer tumors. Thanks to his extensive training and expertise, Dr. Steppie has been able to continually remain at the forefront of skin care services.

As the leader of the award-winning practice, Dr. Steppie’s commitment to the community goes well beyond routine dermatological care. “I feel my most important goal is to help patients avoid the effects of overexposure to the sun, premalignant growths and skin cancer,” he says.

To that end, Dr. Steppie has been particularly vocal in giving the area’s many golf lovers some words of wisdom as they head out to their favorite courses. He advises setting tee times for closer to sunrise or later in the afternoon as to avoid the periods of the day when the sun’s UV radiation is most intense. Additionally, during the brutally hot summer months, golfers are encouraged to wear a hat with a three-inch brim all the way around; wear clothing with a seal of recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation, choose wraparound sunglasses that provide UV protection; and to regularly apply—and reapply—a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

“Excessive sun exposure is the single greatest cause of skin cancer—the most common form of cancer in the United States—and the game of golf can involve hours and hours of sun exposure. As a result, avid recreational golfers can receive more than five times the amount of UV rays needed to cause sunburn. And while it may sound unbelievable, the fact is that people who have more than five sunburns over the course of their lifetime are at a heightened risk to develop melanoma,” says Dr. Steppie.

Compounding the problem is that adults over the age of 40, especially men, have the highest annual exposure to UV.

“Some excellent ways exist to prevent much of this exposure on the course, but many golfers, especially men, tend to skip them. That is a major problem,” says Dr. Steppie. “If you are a male baby boomer, you have twice the risk of dying from melanoma than women. So having that self-awareness can go a long way in preventing skin cancer from forming. Ultimately, just because you’re not going to the beach doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using sunscreen.”

With skin cancer, like most forms of the disease, earlier detection usually leads to better outcomes. That’s why throughout his career, Dr. Steppie’s highly influential work and unparalleled effort to educate patients about life-saving dermatologic solutions has earned him a mantle full of prestigious awards and recognitions, including being named a Top Physician by Orlando Family Magazine for the last six years.

To further display his commitment to caring for the local community, Dr. Steppie and some of his skilled team recently took part in a special two-day event to provide free, onsite skin cancer screenings when The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Destination Healthy Skin mobile RV rolled into Orlando. It was the third time that Dr. Steppie volunteered to help the cause and during the course of the two days, he and his providers performed nearly 80 screenings. As a result, a large amount of pre-skin cancers and some skin cancers were discovered, which opened up some eyes.

“It further illustrates the importance of seeking professional care,” Dr. Steppie says. “At the end of the day, it’s important to regularly go for routine skin checks because the results can be more surprising than you might expect.”

And now with the kids getting ready to head back to the classroom, it’s important to know if their skin is ready for school. After spending long hours outside enjoying the final days of summer vacation “we tend to see more skin conditions flare for kids and teenagers during this time,” says Dr. Steppie.

Whether dealing with a family history of eczema, contact dermatitis or bouts of acne, lots of children head into the school year lacking self-confidence due to their physical appearance. While there are many over-the-counter treatments available, Dr. Steppie affirms there is no “one-size-fits-all” remedy and so professional guidance is vital.

“Scheduling an appointment with a professional is your best chance for a proper diagnosis and individualized treatment plan. After all, that’s what we are here for: to keep your family’s skin healthy for all the seasons to come.”

It’s no wonder then why so many area residents entrust Dr. Steppie and Associates of Dermatology with their skin care needs. And the unrivaled level of care is never too far away thanks to the practice’s 17 convenient area locations, including in Celebration, Clermont, Dr. Phillips and Ocoee. This allows patients to visit any number of centers that are close to home, work or otherwise.

“Being accessible to our patients is a hallmark of the practice and it gives them comfort to know that they don’t have to travel great lengths to receive the expert care they are accustomed to,” says Dr. Steppie. “I’m honored that so many patients have relied on Associates in Dermatology for their various skin care needs.”


Associates in Dermatology
17 locations in Central Florida including:
Celebration | Clermont | Dr. Phillips | Hunter’s Creek | Ocoee
(800) 827-7546