May 2018

Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry: At the Front Line of Skin Care

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

The fact of the matter is, damage to the epidermis and the skin below is nearly inescapable for most people, and like interest earned at the bank, albeit without the cash benefits, compounds over time. Dr. Oswald Mikell, MD, and his team at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry treat a broad spectrum of medical issues related to skin, hair, and nails, including sun damage and skin cancer treatment, other conditions of the skin such as, psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo and rosacea, alopecia, tattoo removal, and cosmetic surgical procedures. However, it is the damage precipitated by sun exposure that they address most often.

“Forty to 60 percent of a typical dermatology practice is going to be somehow sun-related,” Mikell said. “As you move into cosmetic procedures, it’s still sun-related. It’s aging, which is sun-related.” Having completed a fellowship and taking his boards in cosmetic surgery, something most dermatologists don’t do, Dr. Mikell, who is board certified in dermatology and cosmetic surgery, said, “I probably do more cosmetic surgical procedures than most dermatologists, but I’m doing less and less of that, because I’m busy enough with skin cancer and skin cancer surgery.” Practicing in both dermatology and cosmetic surgery, Dermatology Associations of the Lowcountry offers patients access to remedies that begin with vanguard procedures, including Mohs Micrographic Surgery, all the way to the finishing touches of any course of treatment.

Staying current with all the advances in medicine requires a great deal of due diligence and attentiveness to nearly everything that is written or said on the subject, because today changes come fast and frequently. “There was a time when big pharma, big drug companies, weren’t making any new drugs. They were remaking old drugs and raising the price just to keep them patented. Things have changed, and that’s the really big deal in medicine these days. Since they’ve mapped the human genome, there has been a cascade of events,” Mikell said.

In 1990, Congress established funding for the Human Genome Project, a 13-year international endeavor that successfully sequenced the human genome, opening the floodgates for, among many things, the research and development of new drug therapies. “Psoriasis, in particular, was positively impacted when biologics came out,” Mikell said. “I can’t even count how many new drug names are out there on a weekly or monthly basis any more—new FDA approvals.” Graduating in 1977 from the Medical College of Georgia, Mikell sees the exciting possibilities for improving treatments and procedures resulting from the Human Genome Project, injecting a whole new level of ebullience and optimism into the practice of dermatology.

Preventive measures geared toward minimizing the necessity for dermatological intervention due to sun damage are a bit less cutting-edge, however, changes and improvements are always in the works. Sun exposure may be nearly inescapable, however, there are ways to protect the skin from further sun damage. “I don’t want to get overbearing with a person who enjoys life and recreation,” Mikell said. “It’s silly to say, don’t go out in the sun. I just simply say, avoid unnecessary sun exposure. Any way that you can be in the sun and avoid that unnecessary exposure is helpful. Certainly, a physical barrier is useful—a hat and sun-protective labeled clothing. You can actually be cooler in clothing that covers your arms and legs, head, neck, face, everything. It may not be as stylish, but it’s a physical barrier.

Beyond that, if you want your skin to be out there in the open and exposed to the sun, you can put on a sunscreen. There are even physical barriers that don’t have any chemicals in them. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can both be processed to not be visible. The chemicals work, and for most people they’re fine.”

Heather Allen, Rebecca Darroudi and Dr. Oswald Mikellat their Okatie Center location

Dr. Mikell’s commitment to treating patients and answering their questions begins with making dermatological and cosmetic care accessible, and education available to a wide population here in the Lowcountry. With a team that includes two certified physician assistants, Heather Allen, MMS, PA-C and Rebecca Darroudi, PA-C, the practice is able to not only see patients in their offices located on Hilton Head Island, in Okatie and Beaufort, but to go out into the community to speak to groups and offer personal question and answer forums where dermatological and cosmetic procedure queries are addressed. He also said he has had excellent feedback, and several referrals based on his local newspaper column.

“From this ‘Ask Dr. Mikell’ thing that goes in the Bluffton Sun, I’ve had a lot of patients voluntarily tell me, I read your column. I hear that all the time. They tell me they really get something out of it, and that’s nice to hear.” The practice also provides a brochure filled with healthcare information in each exam room.

The fact of the matter is, Dr. Mikell and his team at Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry are an important part of the personal care, treatment, and healing of their patients, building relationships wherein interest compounds positively over a lifetime.

Dermatology Associates of the Lowcountry has offices at 3901 Main Street, Hilton Head Island (843) 242-7223 for appointments or (843) 689-5259 for general inquiries; 40 Okatie Center Boulevard, Okatie (843) 350-4553 for appointments or (843) 705-0840 for general inquiries; and 242 Lady’s Island Drive, Beaufort (843) 352-6363 for appointments or (843) 525-9277 for general inquiries. For more information, please visit

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