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Putting Patients First

In the midst of the pandemic, Dr. Michael Steppie and the experts at Associates in Dermatology remain committed to providing the utmost care.

Dr. Michael Steppie is not your average dermatologist. As president and medical director of Associates in Dermatology, founded in 1989, he has an unrivaled passion for serving Central Florida’s community through clinical, general and cosmetic dermatology. A board-certified physician who has completed residencies in internal medicine, dermatology and dermatologic surgery and is a highly qualified Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgeon, Dr. Steppie has made it his mission to educate the community about life-saving dermatologic solutions.

“My focus is on healthy lifestyle habits and raising awareness and prevention,” he says. “Our patients are loyal and love the dedicated care from our skilled dermatology providers and I feel my most important goal is to help patients in any way I can. Fortunately, for our Central Florida communities, we’ve now been established in 16 clinics within six counties for their convenience of care.”

Besides being a widely recognized leader in skin cancer treatment, Associates in Dermatology provides an array of dermatological services, including treatment of common conditions such as allergic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, eczema and disease of the hair and nails. Many rejuvenating cosmetic procedures ranging from Botox to dermal fillers are also offered in addition to chemical peels, electrocautery, acne treatments and more.

Because of Dr. Steppie’s extensive expertise—he has been voted a Top Physician by the readers of Orlando Family Magazine for three consecutive years—we wanted to get his advice and tips on proper skin care now that wearing a face mask has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help flatten the curve of coronavirus. Many know that Florida’s intense summer heat can exacerbate skin conditions so those with underlying issues need to take added precaution when wearing a mask to not worsen their problems.

“When you blend together trapped breath, sweat and oil, you end up with a hot and moist environment under your mask, especially in the hot and humid Florida summer weather,” he says.

To help combat these issues, Dr. Steppie says it’s important to choose a face covering with a soft, breathable fabric. Patients should steer clear of synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon or rayon. “Those fabrics will cause you to sweat more, which can cause irritation as the material becomes damp,” he adds.

With cloth masks, even something as simple as the laundry detergent you use could have unintended consequences as several detergents are known to irritate the skin.

“If the entire area your mask covers becomes irritated, it’s a good indicator that the brand of detergent you are using is the root of your problem and not the mask itself necessarily,” he says.

Other simple tips like washing your face and applying a small layer of oil-free moisturizer before wearing your mask can also help matters. Women should avoid applying heavy makeup that can clog pores and cause breakouts.

Your best chance for a proper diagnosis and an individualized treatment plan would be to schedule an appointment with a professional at Associates in Dermatology’s 16 area locations, including Celebration, Dr. Phillips, Hunter’s Creek and Ocoee. Each practice office is following strict sanitizing guidelines and have put patient safety as its No. 1 priority.

And for the high-risk population and those who care for them, the practice is still able to provide the high-quality and compassionate care that patients have become accustomed to with a virtual telehealth consultation. The most vulnerable are considered to be: people 65 and older; those with a compromised immune system; anyone who suffers from a chronic medical condition like heart disease; diabetes or lung disease; or someone with cancer, an organ transplant, an immune deficiency or who is currently on medication to suppress their immune system.

Telemedicine has made it possible to stay connected with our patients, which is very important during these uncertain times,” says Dr. Steppie. “We want to make sure our patients are treated like family members,” he says.

While adjustments have been made due to the pandemic, Associates in Dermatology remains dedicated to exceeding patient expectations and Dr. Steppie looks forward to continuing to be the name that Central Floridians trust when it comes to your dermatology needs.

“We will continue to provide the utmost care for our loyal and valued patients during these hard times,” he says. “We will get through this because we are all in this together.”

Associates in Dermatology
Multiple locations in Central Florida
including Celebration • Dr. Phillips Hunter’s Creek • Ocoee
800-827-7546 |

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s August 2020 issue.