“Doctor Radio” interview with Dr. Richard Fried, MD PhD

Yardley Dermatology’s Richard Fried, MD PhD takes the microphone on ‘Doctor Radio’ – NYU Medical Center’s Health and Wellness Channel with Dr. Evan Rieder. They discuss cosmetic treatments, sunscreen, eczema, and more. Listen to a 1 minute clip or the full episode below.

Listen to a short audio clip (01:07) of Dr. Fried’s interview:

Listen to the entire episode (53:12)

Are you struggling with hair loss?

You may be a candidate for treatment with PRP, an innovative new therapy which uses your body’s own natural growth factors to stimulate hair growth. For more information read the article below, and feel free to schedule a consultation in our office (215) 579-6155).

Platelet Rich Plasma for Hair Loss

According to estimates from the National Institutes of Health, androgenic alopecia affects 30 million women and 50 million men in the United States.1 Oral finasteride and topical minoxidil comprise the currently approved non-surgical therapies for this condition. However, finasteride has been linked to undesirable adverse effects and is not indicated for female patients, and the long-term required daily use of minoxidil can become burdensome.2

These limitations underscore the need for additional treatment options for androgenic alopecia. Emerging research suggests that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) — an “autologous solution of plasma prepared from a patient’s own blood…. containing 4 to 7 times the baseline concentration of human platelets” — may be effective for this purpose.3 Some providers are already offering PRP in clinical practice and its popularity as a hair restoration therapy is growing.2

“The secretory α-granules within platelets release various growth factors…. [that] …induce tissue regeneration, collagen formation, re-epithelialization, and angiogenesis,” according to a 2018 review of PRP research.4 The investigators reported positive results for PRP as a treatment for androgenic alopecia, as have several other reviews and meta-analyses.,6

A 2018 meta-analysis by Gupta, et al, focused on studies in which PRP was directly injected into the scalp of human patients and that used quantifiable measures of treatment success (in this case, hair density).2The final analysis, based on 4 studies with a pooled sample of 60 participants, revealed an overall standardized mean difference of 0.51 (95% CI, 0.14-0.88; I2 = 0%) in favor of PRP compared with baseline.

In another meta-analysis published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2018, the investigators examined 6 studies (pooled N=177) describing quantitative outcomes of PRP vs controls in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia.7 Compared with the use of control treatments, PRP was associated with significant increases in hair number per cm2 (mean difference [MD], 17.90; 95% CI; 5.84-29.95; =.004) and hair cross-section thickness per 10−4 mm2 (MD 0.22; 95% CI, 0.07-0.38; =.005).

Across studies, PRP was linked to minimal adverse events and high patient satisfaction.2

Original article can be seen here

Yardley Dermatology Associates Treats Patients With An Equal Dose Of Compassionate Care And State-Of-The-Art Expertise

by Maryanna S. Phinn
Yardley Voice

People with skin and dermatologic disorders, from common to complex, chronic to rare, or cosmetic to age-related, often describe how the condition can negatively affect their daily life until it is successfully treated, managed or resolved.

Yardley Dermatology Associates and Skin Enhancement Center cares for patients of all ages with skin problems of any kind to greatly reduce or eliminate the impact skin conditions frequently have on a person’s emotional and psychological well-being.

“One of my areas of expertise is the interface between the skin and the mind,” explains Rick Fried, MD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical psychologist.

He founded the practice with his wife, Fern Fried, MD, who is board-certified in internal medicine and dermatology and specializes in acne treatment, cosmetic dermatology and skin rejuvenation.

“It has been known for many decades now that many common skin problems are made much worse by stress. Conversely, living with many common skin problems can be very stressful,” he notes. Examples of common skin problems may include acne, psoriasis, rosacea, hives, eczema, allergies, fever blister outbreaks or skin cancer. Other skin problems are categorized as” life spectrum” disorders such as wrinkles, brown spots, warts, spider veins, moles, unwanted growth, or changes in the skin’s feeling, appearance or sensation.

“Our practice has maintained from day one a more holistic approach. We don’t see the ‘rosacea patient.’ Rather, we see the person who happens to have rosacea. What distinguishes us from other dermatologic practices is that holistic philosophy. In our practice, the person matters and what matters to that person is important to us too. We’ve been enormously fortunate in that all of the clinicians that have joined us are like-minded,” he says.

The clinical staff includes eight board-certified dermatologists providing medical and surgical treatment for most skin, hair and nail disorders. The practice also has two certified physician assistants specializing in dermatologic conditions and two licensed medical estheticians trained in skin care and cosmetic treatments including laser. The medical staff and physicians regularly participate in formal peer presentations, equivalent to “Grand Rounds” at major medical centers, as an interactive approach for sharing expertise and emerging treatment options and as an added benefit and service to their patients.

Yardley Dermatology Associates is a major outpatient surgical center in Bucks County for patients requiring Mohs Micrographic Surgery, an advanced surgical technique for treating skin cancers including squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas.

As an active clinical trials center, Yardley Dermatology Associates participates in ongoing research studies for acne, psoriasis, rosacea and cosmetics such as injectable fillers and Botox. The physicians and clinical staff also train medical students from local academic medical centers.

“We incorporated clinical trials and clinical teaching into our practice as a way to stay well-informed and experienced with the latest medical and surgical treatments, advanced technologies and therapeutic approaches,” Dr. Fried says.

Yardley Dermatology Associates was recently recognized by the Bucks County Courier Times as “The Best of Bucks” Dermatology Practice in 2018.

“It is a very comfortable place for us to work together because we all do what we are passionate about. It is an exciting time right now with the major advances being made in treating skin cancer, psoriasis, rosacea, eczema and skin rejuvenation. We love our work and we love caring for our patients and their families. We’ve cared for several generations of families here. Our patients are just wonderful people,” Dr. Fried adds.

Yardley Dermatology Associates is located in Yardley at 903 Floral Vale Professional Park.

The Mohs Surgery Center is located at 803 Floral Vale Professional Park. Office hours are Monday and Tuesday 8:00am to 7:00pm, Wednesday 8:00am to 4:00pm, Thursday 8:00am to 6:00pm, and Friday 8:00am to 3:00pm.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 215-579-6155. To contact the Mohs Surgery Center for information and appointments call 267-759-6240.

Tips for Helping to Alleviate the Psychosocial Issues of Psoriasis

Both clinicians and patients living with psoriasis know that the chronic and capricious disease can have deleterious effects on the psyche. The literature is replete with studies that substantiate the contention that psoriasis has negative effects on the way patients feel and function. Depression, anxiety, anger and feelings of futility and helplessness are commonly reported by those afflicted with psoriasis. They are often sad, mad and anxious about the way their skin looks, feels and behaves. Pruritus, burning, pain and other dysesthetic symptoms are frequently reported. The unpredictable nature of flares leaves patients feeling vulnerable and lacking in control, a combination fraught with opportunity for psychological pain. In addition, from a functional perspective, psychosocial and vocational impairment are more commonplace among psoriasis patients. New research elucidating the medical comorbidities including coronary artery disease and diabetes further burden those with psoriasis with a Damocles-like harbinger of future medical illness.

The utility of an article on the negative psychosocial issues associated with psoriasis is not simply to substantiate their existence. In some ways that would be akin to validating the assertion that a group of patients have debilitating pain with ambulation but offering no suggestions for intervention or amelioration. This article provides several concrete suggestions to help clinicians and patients to enhance their emotional well-being and clinical outcomes.

Therapeutic Alliance-Mutual Development Agreement

There is little doubt that a therapeutic alliance characterized by patient belief that their clinician is competent, caring, understanding and compassionate increases the likelihood of medication adherence, positive therapeutic outcome and patient satisfaction. This is quite a tall order to accomplish in the brief minutes allotted in the typical patient encounter.

A few key ingredients necessitating little elongation of the actual encounter can often be efficacious in achieving this therapeutic alliance coveted by most patients. A smile, a few seconds of eye contact and the physical touch of a handshake are crucial elements to initiate the cascade of acceptance and warmth desired by both clinician and patient. Simple and clear empathic statements such as “I know living with psoriasis can be very difficult” or “I am sure it must be very frustrating and upsetting at times to deal with the demands and intrusions of psoriasis” can be extremely effective in exhibiting to patients that you are sensitive and understanding and that you are one of those doctors who “get it.”

A very brief explanation of the pathogenesis of psoriasis accomplishes several things. It substantiates for the patient that you are indeed an up-to-date psoriasis expert and also that you view them as intelligent enough to be offered an explanation of their disease. Quickly explain that it is known that psoriasis is a condition where molecules called cytokines are released in the skin causing the skin cells to turn over at a much more rapid rate than normal causing elevation, redness and flaking.

The clinician might say, “These molecules with odd sounding names such as tumor necrosis factor, interleukin 17, interleukin 23 and many others specifically instruct your skin to misbehave in this fashion. We have learned so much about psoriasis, but still have to figure out why it is happening in these spots in your skin. The good news is that we have so many effective, new and emerging treatments for psoriasis that alone or in combination are better than ever.”

This can help provide a better understanding of what is happening in their skin together with an optimistic outlook for their future. Mission accomplished! When well-rehearsed, this entire process takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes. To borrow an advertising slogan from a clothing retailer, “an educated consumer is our best and most satisfied customer.”

Addressing Self-Talk

Cognitive behavioral psychologists and psychiatrists contend that “self-talk” is a more important determining factor of how we feel then the actual objective events in our life. Self-talk is the ongoing internal dialogue or what I call the “background noise” that is ever-present throughout our waking hours.

“Catastrophizing” self-talk such as “it would be awful,” “I can’t stand it when,” “it is horrible” and “it is the most horrible thing that could happen to me” are the cognitive perpetuators of negative feelings, negative interpretations and psychosocial impairment. These “awfulizing” and “catastrophizing” proclamations are repeated over and over internally and often become integrated as mantras leaving no room for other interpretation. Specifically, a common internal mantra of “I can’t stand it when I have psoriasis on my elbows, it is awful, it controls my every moment and ruins any chance at happiness that day” is indeed a rigid prescription and near guarantee that the occurrence of psoriasis for that individual will “ruin” their likelihood of experiencing happiness or pleasure. This can be an unrecognized self-imposed punishment.

While I recognize that the dermatologic clinician is not a cognitive behavioral psychotherapist in the usual structured and organized fashion, I do believe that we do have the power to modify the severity of this “self-defeating self-talk.” Most of us recognize that actions can speak louder than words. For example, gently touching or stroking a psoriatic plaque while examining the patient is a huge psychocutaneous intervention. Simultaneously, explaining that the vitamin D analog or topical corticosteroid that we are prescribing will slow their skin cells down and reduce inflammation conveys a powerful message of acceptance and can help diminish the patients’ feelings that they are ugly or even repugnant to others. Providing samples or a prescription for higher potency corticosteroid for “angry skin days” can enhance feelings of control and decrease anxiety. Telling patients that they have the opportunity to schedule an “emergency visit” for intralesional triamcinolone injection provides additional feelings of control and hope that can be used to internally refute the pessimistic and doomsday self-talk.

Encouraging dialogue and sensory exchange through “skin talk” can be an interesting idea for the patient and therapeutically useful. Application of topical medications is often distasteful for patients. It is a time intrusion, sometimes cosmetically messy and most of all forces patients to face their psoriasis plaques. “Out of sight out of mind” is often a preferable strategy (albeit ineffective unless receiving ultraviolet (UV) light or systemic therapy). Skin talk during topical application involves asking patients to silently repeat a new mantra consisting of 3 words: allow, restore and refresh. Using an analogy of rebooting the computer when it is misbehaving, the gentle strokes and effective ingredients within their topical preparation can allow the skin cells within a given plaque to restore and refresh their proliferative activity to a more normal rate. I have often asked patients to be a bit less judgmental and be a bit nicer to their skin. The few seconds of gentle touch during application do in fact allow for some degree of therapeutic touch and self-acceptance.

Concrete, reality-based self-talk regarding emerging therapies and improved efficacy of existing treatments can further diminish negative self-talk, negative emotional reactions and decrease inflammatory physiologic stress reactions.

Explanatory euphemisms for psoriasis also can be helpful for both the patient as well as others who are unfamiliar with the disease. “Fast skin, runaway skin, excited skin, happy skin, too comfortable to flake off skin and snowflake skin” are a few of the explanatory euphemisms I have heard patients use to alleviate the anxiety of others. I used to believe these were only helpful for children, but am now convinced they can be helpful for adults as well.

When suggesting these euphemistic descriptors to patients, I make it clear to them that I am not minimizing nor diminishing the seriousness of their skin problem. It does both directly and subliminally reinforce that psoriasis is not a premalignant, malignant, infectious skin disease and they are entitled and need human touch (their own and ideally others).

Modulation of Dysesthesias

Troubling, subjective dysesthetic symptoms accompany the clinically objective lesions of psoriasis in some patients. These dysesthesias are intrusive in their own right, but also represent a source of anxiety for some patients; they are fearful or interpret them as signs of infection, infestation or malignancy. Asking patients about the presence, type and severity of dysesthesias is important. Assuring them that they are common and not harbingers of illness can sometimes diminish the severity and intrusiveness of the symptoms by simply allowing them to become less preoccupied and defocus their attention from the sensation.

Further, providing topical or oral agents to ameliorate this instance such as topical corticosteroids, topical calcineurin inhibitors, lidocaine cream, topical doxepin, topical amitriptyline, oral antihistamines, oral doxepin, oral amitriptyline, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and antiseizure medications can be important and helpful.

Stress-Inflammation Modulation

Stress management techniques and interventions have been shown to benefit psoriasis patients. Improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life have been consistently demonstrated. Specifically, they are believed to diminish the inflammatory response via both central and peripheral effects. These interventions can be conceptualized as “steroid sparing” and “UV sparing” modalities because studies have demonstrated decreased steroid use and reduced total UV exposure when modalities, such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, yoga, tai chi and biofeedback have been used as concomitant complementary therapy.

In previous decades, these interventions were believed by many simply to be “feel good interventions” making patients feel better and thus, have the focus, energy and sufficient degree of optimism to adhere to their medical regimens. However, their usefulness and efficacy is now better understood to be a combination of self-regulation, insight, cognitive restructuring and physiologic training, together with the direct modulation of the inflammatory cascade.

Exploring the Landscape

Many patients are confused, overwhelmed and cynical regarding their short- and long-term prognosis. They are frequently fearful of treatments and tired of the emotional roller coaster of elevated hope and expectation followed by clinical disappointment or recurrence. Leaving the therapeutic encounter with 2 prescriptions can be daunting. Suppose they are minimally effective or even make the psoriasis worse? Is the patient then left with the assumption that this was the last hope and they are now doomed to a lifetime of worsening and crippling psoriasis? This scenario can be easily avoided with a simple brushstroke painting the landscape of therapeutic opportunities. Assure them that this landscape is replete with effective, gentle and new treatments that can be used to help them reach their satisfaction threshold of clinical control.

For some, that threshold is a Psoriasis Area and Severity Index 75. For others, it is control of pruritus or minimization of visible lesions on the dorsum of the hands. This assurance of options and adequate control of disease is a significant gift for many patients. The heartfelt belief and reassurance that we will be there to hold and guide their hands through the plethora of therapeutic choices is a powerful intervention in its own right.


The negative psychological sequelae of psoriasis are well-recognized and appreciated. The reciprocal interaction of skin and psyche is better understood and support the incorporation of psychocutaneous techniques into clinical practice. It can be argued that all clinician–patient interactions have psychocutaneous components and repercussions. Using simple behaviors, targeted comments and specific treatment recommendations can improve subjective symptoms, clinical expression of psoriasis and quality of life.

Dr. Fried, who is a psychologist and dermatologist, is clinical director at Yardley Dermatology Associates in Yardley, PA.

Disclosure: The author reports no relevant financial relationships.

Sidebar: Doctor–Patient Relationship Impacts Psoriasis Outcome

Sabrina Skiles, 30, of Houston, TX, talked to The Dermatologist about her psoriasis journey. “I was diagnosed with psoriasis in 2001 when I was a junior in high school. I knew a little about the disease because my mom had it. She was diagnosed at the same age I was,” she recalls.

When psoriasis first appeared on her elbows, Sabrina researched dermatologists who specialized in psoriasis in Houston and then went for her appointment. “It was great to have the dermatologist sit down with me and explain the disease and how it was affecting my immune system. She explained the current treatments that were available at the time,” she says.

Soon after seeing the dermatologist, the psoriasis spread to about 90% of Sabrina’s body. On her doctor’s recommendation, Sabrina began using tar baths for her entire body. “Although it was messy, it was very helpful and it worked. It cleared my entire body and it is very rare to find something that works this well,” she says.

Remission lasted for several years, with periodic flare-ups brought on by the stress of college. “My dermatologist then suggested biologics. I educated myself and I wasn’t too crazy about the side effects. I tried it for about 5 months and it pretty much cleared me. Then I stopped using them because of a change of insurance,” she explains.

While Sabrina experienced a period of remission, she moved to Maui, HI, in 2009 with her husband. “I had known that the environment has a lot to do with psoriasis, and so I was encouraged to know that the sun and environment would hopefully be helpful and it was. I didn’t see any flare-ups or triggers in Maui,” she says noting that she did not use many treatments while on the island.

In 2012, the couple moved to Seattle, WA. “Within 2 months of living in Seattle, I had a flare-up. I was stressed. I didn’t have a job. It was cold and rainy and I started making notes that environment was a big effect for me,” she says.

Sabrina located a Seattle dermatologist who specialized in psoriasis and she suggested light therapy for her severe scalp psoriasis. “Within a few weeks of the light therapy, I was almost 90% clear of the scalp psoriasis. I was a completely different person and it was just great to talk to her,” she says.Sabrina now lives in Houston and her most recent dermatologist has suggested she restart light therapy. “I am excited to try that again,” she says.

Overall, Sabrina explains that it was key that the dermatologist took the time to ask what treatments she had been on before, how happy she was with the treatments and what she wasn’t happy with. The dermatologist asked about quality of life. “I realized it is important to be really open with my doctor — what kind of stress I am under, any big event in my life and quality of life,” she says.


1. Kimball AB, Jacobson C, Weiss S, Vreeland MG, Wu Y. The psychosocial burden of psoriasis. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(6):383-392.

2. Scharloo M, Kaptein AA, Weinman J, Bergman W, Vermeer BJ, Rooijmans HG. Patients’ illness perceptions and coping as predictors of functional status in psoriasis: a 1-year follow-up. Br J Dermatol. 2000;142(5):899-907.

3. Han C, Lofland JH, Zhao N, Schenkel B. Increased prevalence of psychiatric disorders and health care-associated costs among patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. J Drugs Dermatol.2011;10(8):843-850.

4. Vanaclocha F, Belinchón I, Sánchez-Carazo JL, et al. Cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular diseases in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis under systemic treatment. PSO-RISK, descriptive study. Eur J Dermatol. Published online ahead of print October 21, 2014.

5. Gelfand JM, Neimann AL, Shin DB, Wang X, Margolis DJ, Troxel AB. Risk of myocardial infarction in patients with psoriasis. JAMA. 2006;296(14):1735-1741.

6. Takeshita J, Wang S, Shin DB, et al. Effect of psoriasis severity on hypertension control: A population-based study in the United Kingdom. JAMA Dermatol. Published online ahead of print October 15, 2014.

7. Sommer DM, Jenisch S, Suchan M, Christophers E, Weichenthal M. Increased prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in patients with moderate to severe psoriasis. Arch Dermatol Res. 2006;298(7):321-328.

8. Hunter HJ, Griffiths CE, Kleyn CE. Does psychosocial stress play a role in the exacerbation of psoriasis? Br J Dermatol.

How psoriasis triggers depression – and how to stop it

Many people with psoriasis know from personal experience that depression, anxiety and other mental health issues often go hand in hand with this inflammatory disease.

For many years, explains dermatologist and psychologist Rick Fried, M.D., Ph.D., both clinicians and patients thought they understood why.

“People are living with a condition that is often very physically uncomfortable, limits physical activities and intimacy, and can result in sufferers being stigmatized, bullied, and otherwise discriminated against. So, it makes intuitive sense that the potential for anxiety and depression are much higher because of the realities of living with the social and physical burden of the illness,” says Fried, clinical director at Yardley Dermatology Associates and Yardley Clinical Research Associates in Pennsylvania.

Mounting evidence points to an additional reason, a “second hit to the psyche,” Fried says that underscores how critical it is to get adequate treatment for psoriasis, a disease in which under-treatment is “epidemic.”

Inflammation is the culprit

“In people with psoriasis, certain inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor and various interleukins, are elevated; we see a remarkably similar increase in these inflammatory cytokines in depression,” says dermatologist and psychiatrist John Koo, M.D., professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

Cytokines are proteins involved in the inflammatory process of the immune system.

Koo and his colleagues reviewed the raft of evidence for this “cytokine theory of depression” in a 2017 Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (JEADV) article. They concluded that ongoing systemic inflammation likely causes physiologic and biochemical changes that drive the development of depression and other mood disorders.

“These inflammatory cytokines cross the blood-brain barrier,” explains Fried. “In the brain, they send biochemical messages that deplete neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are intimately involved in our ability to think, to act, to feel, and to function.”

Treatment is the answer

Biologics, which target and block specific inflammatory cytokines, may have a direct biochemical effect on depression.

“By blocking these inflammatory cytokines and calming inflammation, you are changing the cytokine profile for the better – not just in the skin, but in the brain,” says Koo. “In clinical trials of biologics, investigators commonly report that participants with severe psoriasis often experience significant improvements in mood even before you can see any visible difference in their skin.”

A 2015 JEADV review found treatment with biologics significantly decreased depressive symptoms in people with moderate to severe psoriasis. Similarly, a study published in Medicine in 2016 found people with psoriasis experienced lowered rates of depression and insomnia after treating with biologics. Participants also decreased their rate of antidepressant use by 40 Percent after two years.

Therapies such as phototherapy and conventional systemic medications also decrease body-wide inflammation.

“As long as the treatment is adequately treating the person’s psoriasis – so that they have minimal to no symptoms – it should help the mind as well as the body,” says Koo. “When people are treated adequately and aggressively for psoriasis, their depression often goes away.”

Treating “adequately and aggressively” is the goal of NPF’s Treat to Target initiative, which aims to reduce psoriasis to no more than 1 percent of body surface area after three months of treatment. But this goal remains a challenge for far too many.

“Topicals are overused for psoriasis patients, many of whom need potent systemic therapies, not only to treat their skin disease, but also to lower the risk for the many conditions that occur more often in people with untreated chronic inflammation, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and obesity, as well as depression,” says Koo.

Koo and Fried advise psoriasis patients who aren’t satisfied with their treatment to discuss more aggressive therapeutic options with their dermatologist. “Many dermatologists are still uncomfortable using biologics despite their effectiveness and safety. If you encounter this, you should seek a second opinion,” says Koo.

“There are safe and effective medications for psoriasis that will make you feel and function better on a day-to-day basis and will decrease the likelihood of some of the real and potentially devastating and life-threatening effects of untreated disease,” Fried adds.

Talk to your health care provider

An open conversation will help you and your provider determine the best treatment option. To get ready, you should first assess how psoriasis impacts your life. Take our quiz to find out.


Here’s How Stress Actually Impacts Your Skin

Authors: Richard Fried MD Ph.D

If you’ve always suspected that stress has the power to make your skin act up, prepare to feel at least a little validated. Maybe you’ve realized your eczema flares most when your job responsibilities are spiraling out of control. Perhaps it feels like a new pimple pops up every day when your personal life is in shambles.

It’s not in your head—feeling stressed out really can affect your skin—and vice versa. Here, experts discuss the science behind how stress impacts your skin, plus what you can do about it.

The unfortunate truth is that stress can upset your skin in multiple ways. One way is when stress causes inflammation, which in turn causes your skin to freak out.

“So many [skin conditions] are related to an inappropriate release of inflammatory chemicals,” Richard Fried, M.D. Ph.D., a dermatologist, clinical psychologist, and clinical director of Yardley Dermatology, tells SELF.

Ah, inflammation, that buzziest of buzzwords. At its core, inflammation is your body’s response to a perceived threat to your health. This can be a good or bad thing. Inflammation plays a crucial role in keeping you healthy, because your body needs to to defend itself from true dangers, like flu viruses. But sometimes your body can overreact to substances that are actually harmless—hello, allergies—or something that at least doesn’t require such a disproportionate response. Sometimes, that thing is stress.

“The stress response—whether we’re being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, whether we have a deadline, whether we’re having trouble with family or love—is all the same,” Dr. Fried says. “Your immune system gets ready to do battle.” It does this by releasing chemicals like interleukins, which, in order to help protect your health, cause inflammation.

If your genetics, environment, or both make you susceptible to certain skin-related ailments, this inflammation can also make them flare up. “Stress is a general trigger that can make the skin misbehave in whatever way it’s prone to misbehaving,” Dr. Fried says.

Because of that inflammation, stress can lead to flare-ups if you already have certain skin conditions, but it can also just make your skin hypersensitive.

Let’s say you’re predisposed to eczema. Feeling overwhelmed with stress is one trigger that can make its characteristic patches of dry, itchy, inflamed skin bloom across your body, according to the Mayo Clinic. Same goes with psoriasis, a condition that causes sore, irritated, scaly blotches of skin, and rosacea, which can lead to reddened facial skin and bumps that might feel hot and tender to the touch. Of course, acne is in the mix, too.

Along with these, a few other conditions are closely linked with stress, like seborrheic dermatitis(greasy patches that show up in places like your scalp; it can also cause dandruff) and telogen effluvium (when hair sheds excessively because of severe, unusual stress). “Stress and pro-inflammatory chemicals cause the hair to transition from the growth phrase to the falling out phase all at once,” Arielle Nagler, M.D., a dermatologist at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF.

Other health conditions, like skin-picking disorder (also called excoriation disorder) or trichotillomania (also known as hair-pulling disorder), have a more obvious link to stress. Shannon Bennett, Ph.D., a psychologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, describes these as impulse-control conditions that usually get worse under stress. Since the impulsive pulling or picking can be a way of trying to cope with negative emotions, feeling stressed might make a person engage in these actions more often. These kinds of disorders can have various physical and mental ripple effects, Bennett explains, from skin infections to shame and guilt.

This doesn’t mean stress will cause these conditions if you don’t have them, just that it might make them harder to manage if you do.

Even if you don’t have an actual skin condition, dealing with way more stress than usual for a significant amount of time might make your immune system hyperirritable, so something that doesn’t normally bother your skin can make it freak out, Dr. Fried explains. It’s kind of like when you’ve had a week from hell, then someone cuts you off in traffic as you’re running late to work. You might be much more likely to let forth a stream of expletives than if the same thing happened during a week when life’s been copacetic.

“We use that conceptualization for the immune system. When your immune system’s in a good mood, whatever. When it’s not, [stress] can make your skin misbehave,” Dr. Fried says. “It could be putting your usual moisturizer on, your usual fragrance, eating the same diet, or using a hair dye that has historically not made your scalp angry.”

But there’s also a pretty huge mediating factor between stress and your angry skin, and that’s how you act when you’re stressed.

If touching your face is your go-to nervous habit and you always break out when you’re stressed, that may be less a function of your immune system, and more a result of you introducing whatever’s on your hands to your face.

Acne has a lot to do with people touching their faces,” Dr. Nagler explains. “I always talk about that with my patients.”

Stress can also make you more likely to skimp on your usual healthy habits, which can come with side effects. “Usually, when we’re experiencing a great deal of stress, we spend less time taking care of ourselves,” Bennett says. “If you’re not sleeping well, if you’re not taking the time to wash your face, if you’re not eating well or drinking enough water, that can impact your skin negatively.”

This is in part because your immune system functions best when you’re taking care of yourself, but also because neglecting these things might stress you out more. It can become a brutal feedback loop.

OK so stress is bad and screwing with our skin. So if we just de-stress we’ll have great skin, right? Not exactly.

Don’t get us wrong—having a few de-stressing techniques on hand is always a good idea, whether that’s deep breathing, practicing meditation, or whatever else works for you, Bennett says.

But that doesn’t mean tamping down on stress is the magic fix that will automatically quash your skin concerns. “It’s not that if you only handled stress better, your skin would be just fine,” Dr. Fried says. In fact, putting that pressure on yourself to eliminate your stress for better skin can just make you more stressed. See where we’re going here?

Instead, the real message to take away from this is that there are lots of ways stress and your skin can affect each other. Managing your stress (and any stress-fueled behaviors that can screw with your skin) may be one part of the puzzle that can help your skin mind its manners, and when it does misbehave, at least do so less severely—but it’s not the be-all and end-all. So in addition to taking your breakouts and flare-ups as a sign that you need to chill and take time for self-care, talk to a professional if symptoms persist.

If your stress is irritating your skin or your skin is stressing you out, check in with a medical professional for help.

Dr. Fried recommends starting with your dermatologist, explaining your problem (whether that’s acne, eczema, or something else), and seeing if they can make any recommendations for how to fix it or how to find someone who can.

And about the stress component: It couldn’t hurt to discuss your added stress levels with a health care provider or therapist if possible. While stress may have a starring role here, it probably isn’t acting alone. Approaching the issue from all angles could get you that much closer to no longer wearing your stress on your skin.

The Emotional and Functional Benefits of Poly-L-Lactic Acid 

Authors: Richard Fried MD Ph.D, W. Phillip Werschler, MD, Judith Cenci, MD, Lauren Sternberg MD,  Priya Dhanaraj MD, Dara Tolas MA, Suzanne Withrow MA

Facial volume loss can substantially impact both self-perception of the affected individual and their social/professional interactions and opportunities. Persons who are perceived as more youthful and attractive are rated as nicer, more energetic, healthier, and more likely to be productive than those perceived to be older and unattractive.

The observed facial changes that result from underlying volume loss associated with age and photodamage often produce an older and less attractive appearance. Loss of facial volume often produces a sad, sunken, deflated, dull, tired, and lackluster appearance. These changes can be interpreted as evidence of aging and loss. In addition, some may consciously or subconsciously see these changes as harbingers of their own progressive deterioration and decline. Injection of approved fillers into the upper face, mid face, and lower face can create a more youthful, better rested, and kinder appearance. Randomized controlled trials (RCT’s) demonstrating the effectiveness of injectable fillers in improving emotional and functional status remain scarce.

It’s About Time

A hallmark of hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxyl appetite filler products is their ability to produce immediately apparent volumetric changes. The recent proliferation of technologically improved hyaluronic fillers has dramatically enhanced the armamentarium available to active clinicians. Claims of anatomic regional superiority and longer duration are enticing. The early days of fillers characterized by “briefly there till completely gone” are being supplanted by “there now, persistently there, and stimulatory for a reasonable period of time.” This is a meaningful step forward; persistence of filler presence with enhancement of collagen production. It can be argued that this represents a true slowing of the facial aging process. Understandably, “filler wars” abound with manufacturers claiming product superiority and battling for dominance in the hands of clinicians.

In contrast to the immediate deposition of hyaluronic acid or calcium hydroxyl appetite, another option exists for enhancement of collagen production and persistence of benefit. Poly-L Lactic Acid is an extremely effective stimulator of collagenases and fibroplasia that produces gradual volumization of the treated areas. While there is apparent immediate volume repletion with PLLA injection, it is mostly from the sterile water and lidocaine commonly used to prepare the product and thus largely dissipates soon within days after injection. The subsequent enhancement in collagen production and facial volumization occur gradually over the 1-3 months following each injection. Optimal correction usually occurs 1-3 months after 3-4 monthly injections of a full vial of PLLA. While the exact dilution of PLLA varies among injectors, 6-7cc’s of sterile water with 2 ccs of lidocaine are frequently reported.
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) is a synthetic, biocompatible, biodegradable polymer. For its use in soft tissue augmentation, it is supplied as a lyophilized powder containing PLLA microparticles, the size and chemical attributes of which are tightly controlled. As a biocompatible material, PLLA generates a desired subclinical inflammatory tissue response that leads to encapsulation of the microparticles, stimulation of host collagen production, and fibroplasia. Over time, the PLLA degrades, the inflammatory response wanes, and host collagen production increases. This response leads to the generation of new volume and structural support that occurs in a gradual, progressive manner, and which can last for years.

Timing is everything; In life, in love, in business, in theatre, and in fillers. More information is needed to assess whether the delayed onset of clinically evident volumization produced by PLLA injection will still deliver patient satisfaction and favorable changes in emotion and function.

Purpose of the present study

A consideration among some clinicians is the “delayed gratification” aspect of poly L-Lactic Acid.  While the efficacy, safety, and duration of PLLA injection benefits are well supported by the literature, its mechanism of action as a strong biostimulator that produces gradual tissue augmentation over several months is unique. Many clinicians wonder whether patients will objectively “remember” their baseline appearance and subsequently be satisfied with their ultimate cosmetic outcome.  Is the immediate “correction” provided by hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxyl appetite fillers, available to all who see (including and especially the recipient), a stellar positive or a potential negative? Is it possible that some individuals might be embarrassed or self-conscious about the sudden change in their appearance? Might the gradual changes and equal or better volumization with greater duration produced by PLLA injection produce a more psychologically comfortable transition in appearance with equal or greater satisfaction in outcome?

The goal of this study was to assess the changes in emotional and functional status of subjects treated with 2-4 monthly PLLA injections to the upper, mid, and lower face.

The Study

50 subjects were recruited from 2 community US based dermatology centers (Bucks County Pennsylvania and Spokane, Washington). 50 were eligible and enrolled according to protocol inclusion and exclusion criteria, 49 females and 1 male. 58% of subjects were age 45-60, 33% 60-75, and 8% 35-45. The protocol was approved by a central IRB and full informed consent provided.

Two patient self-report measures were utilized, The Facial Volume Restoration Outcome Questionnaire (Table 1) and the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (Table 2). The Facial Volume Restoration Outcome Questionnaire is a 35-item patient self-report Likert scale based instrument. Subjects self-report and self-rate selected areas of their emotional and functional status. The Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale is also a Likert scale based instrument measuring overall self-esteem. Subject self-report measures were completed at baseline and 6 months after their first injection. Facial volume loss was assessed on a 0-4 scale (Table 3) pre-treatment and post-treatment by the principle investigator or a Sub-Investigator.

Subjects were injected monthly with one full diluted vial of PLLA over 3 or 4 consecutive months.

Subjects received 1 full vial of poly L Lactic acid at each treatment visit.  The PLLA was reconstituted with 7cc of sterile water and 2cc of lidocaine without epinephrine.  The contents of the vial were injected in areas deemed appropriate by the certified injector and agreed upon by the study subject. Approximately 4-6 weeks later, a second vial was reconstituted as above and injected according to the above parameters. Finally, approximately 4-6 weeks later (12-16 weeks after the first injections), subjects were evaluated and a decision was jointly made with the injector regarding whether a third vial was desired and appropriate. All 50 subjects were injected at week 1, 49 subjects were injected at second visit, and 35 were injected at the third visit.


Pre-and post-assessments were completed on 41 subjects. The remaining 9 were lost to follow-up or withdrew and did not complete the post filler instruments or return for investigator evaluation. None failed to return due to known AE’s. Approximately 30% of subjects who completed pre-and post-injection instruments reported increased confidence, increased sense of control, increased productivity, increased comfort with others, feeling more attractive, increased happiness when looking in the mirror, more happiness when their faces were touched, healthier eating, increased contentment, beliefs that they were seen as less stressed by others, they were happier with their bodies, they are exercising more, and that their lives were better. 43% felt more optimistic and 33% felt less anxious (Table 4). The changes in self-esteem self-reported on the Rosenberg scale were very modest but also favorable. IGA of facial volume loss improved from 2.2 at baseline to1.2 at 6-month follow-up assessment (lower score suggesting less volume loss).


Injection of PLLA is a safe and effective method for facial volume and contour restoration. A potential “draw-back” or “negative” of PLLA injection is the delay in clinically evident volume repletion. The improvements are gradual as enhanced endogenous collagen production and fibroplasia replenishes volume depleted areas. In the present study, we essentially assessed the following question; “Can patients “be patient”, objectively remembering their previous appearance sufficiently to appreciate the improvements in their appearance provided by their own enhanced collagen production and fibroplasia. The present data suggest that the answer is “yes they can”. Many subjects did indeed perceive favorable emotional and functional improvements at 6 months after their first PLLA injection. Clinicians should consider “growing younger gradually” is a palatable option for patients. More gradual clinical change may evoke fewer comments, questions, and stares while delivering the desired cosmetic, emotional, and functional results. Buttressing and clarifying the data on the emotional and functional benefits of facial volume restoration can further “legitimize” treatment with poly L-Lactic Acid as an effective and meaningful medical procedure. Dissemination of data substantiating that volume restoration is more than simply a vanity intervention can serve as a compelling “recruitment tool” for the growing number of “maturing persons” struggling with the deflation and lackluster appearance that accompany the volume loss associated with aging, medications, stress, and illness.

Perhaps the “slow and steady wins the race” adage remains valid!

Limitations of the study include recognition that the favorable changes reported may not be a direct result of their filler experience and lack of quantification of Likert Scale gradations.


Investment versus Indulgence?

Few will argue the short and long-term benefits of a truly good investment. A good investment can yield greater security, stability, confidence, freedom, and pride. These benefits can motivate and facilitate actions and interactions that enhance and expand our opportunities.

Investing in our skin health and appearance can indeed be a shining example of a truly good investment. In contrast to an indulgence, which may be defined as a fleeting consumption, dalliance, immersion, or sensory experience, the good investment usually has longer lasting and demonstrably beneficial results. Please don’t misunderstand my message, indulgence absolutely has an essential place and high priority in our day to day existence (please pass the dark chocolate).

Skin enhancement and rejuvenation treatments at the right place delivered with knowledge and skilled hands can bestow a more youthful, fresher, friendlier appearance. People who invest wisely in their skin look better rested, healthier, and more energetic. They look and feel less stressed and are perceived as “nicer”. Healthier eating and more regular exercise are other additional benefits reported by those who invest wisely in their skin.

Interestingly, not only do people feel better, but their skin “feels better” too. Our patients relate that their skin feels less sensitive, less irritable, and has more uniform tone and texture.

So, feel free to take a good look in the mirror and see how good you can feel about making a truly good investment in your skin. We at Yardley Dermatology think “you are worth it!

NPF Experts Discuss World Psoriasis Day Impact


World Psoriasis Day, an awareness day dedicated to the 125 million people diagnosed with psoriasis around the world, was created by The International Federation of Psoriasis Association and recently took place on October 29, 2017. The theme this year was Psoriasis Inside Out.

Members of the National Psoriasis Foundation’s medical board recently spoke with The Dermatologist to discuss the importance of the awareness day and its impact, as well as what patients and dermatologists can take away from the event.

Increasing Awareness

Having a recognition day such as this provides a global spotlight on this important public health issue of psoriasis, noted Lawrence J Green, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine.

“World Psoriasis Day helps to increase awareness for both people living with psoriasis and their loved ones and also for people who know little about psoriasis. It’s about recognition. Recognition demonstrates to people with psoriasis and their loved ones that the world is listening to them. It raises awareness about the condition to those who know little about psoriasis, hopefully encouraging them to learn more about this disease that is about inflammation occurring throughout the body, not just on the skin,” he said.

Ron Prussick, MD, assistant clinical professor, department of dermatology at George Washington University and medical director, Washington Dermatology Center explained, “This is a very important day for people with psoriatic diseases because it is an opportunity to educate the public. As this is a visible disease, the public needs to understand this is a disease of the immune system and it not infectious or contagious. The goal is to develop a cure but until then, with better knowledge about the disease there will be more tolerance and understanding in the future.”

Impact and Treatment

One goal of the awareness day is to help communicate that psoriasis is a common, important medical condition that can impact the quality and quantity of a patient’s life, according to Richard G.B. Langley MD, FRCPC, a professor of dermatology, division of dermatology, department of medicine, at Dalhousie University.

“Specifically, psoriasis has a profound negative impact on the quality of life for patients and their families, and has a number of significant comorbidities that can cause disabilities and can impact the life expectancy of certain patients,” he said. “With the advent of newer targeted therapies, there is reason for significant hope. However, there is a significant work that needs to be done to provide access of these therapies for this important medical condition and the more awareness raised around this condition, the better.”

Rick Fried, MD, PhD, a dermatologist and clinical psychologist and clinical director Yardley Dermatology Associates/Yardley Clinical Research Associates, noted the day of recognition is an opportunity to discuss and appreciate the psychosocial impact of the disease. “I believe that World Psoriasis Day legitimizes the feelings, physical and emotional burdens, and systemic comorbidities of psoriasis…. a skin, body, and mind inflammatory disease,” he said. “This is a sunset of hope and opportunity. Today there are numerous elegant treatments that can liberate psoriasis sufferers allowing them to live full and unencumbered lives.”

By recognizing that they are not alone, patients can seek treatment and support through the health care community. “World Psoriasis Day encourages patients and dermatologists to make a change today so that those dealing with psoriasis in the future may not be so heavily impacted,” said Jashin J. Wu, MD, director, clinical dermatology research, associate director, the Dermatology Residency Program Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles Medical Center.

“I would hope that patients take away that professional organizations around the world, like the National Psoriasis Foundation are advocating for them. I would hope that professionals see that patients are not giving up on their disease and continue to be active despite the psoriasis,” he said.

Jerry Bagel MD, MS, director, Psoriasis Treatment Center of Central New Jersey, and senior attending physician, University Medical Center, agreed. “I hope patients and professionals recognize that today there are extremely effective, relatively safe treatments that can effectively treat psoriasis.”

Community for a Cure

“By increasing awareness of this disease throughout the world we hope to let patients and professionals know our goal is to study the cause and develop a cure. We want people with psoriasis to know there is support for them from both the public and medical professional community,” said Dr Prussick.

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