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January 30, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

What is this skin barrier?


Dr. Rebecca L. Smith, who is a board certified dermatologist in both General Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology joined the show. With a background emphasis on clinical research, Dr. Smith has authored and co-authored numerous articles including the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD).

Note: Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.

Rebecca L. Smith, M.D. is board certified in both General Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Judson College, majoring in chemistry and biology and earning a B.S. Degree with Distinction. Dr. Smith attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine where she graduated with highest honors and was elected a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society. Following medical school, Dr. Smith completed a pediatric internship at Baylor, then her dermatology residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

With a background emphasis on clinical research, Dr. Smith is well published. She has authored and co-authored numerous articles for various peer-reviewed medical journals, including the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD). She also contributed to textbook chapters in Clinical Dermatology, the Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, and the Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Smith is a frequent speaker at medical education functions targeting audiences of consumers, peers, and colleagues in the medical profession. She has held medical licenses and practiced dermatology in Washington State, North Carolina, and South Carolina. She was voted as a member of "Charlotte Top Docs" in the 2007 and 2008 editions of Charlotte Magazine where Charlotte, NC providers were asked where they would refer their family and patients for medical services.

Dr. Smith lives in Fort Mill with her husband and two children.  She enjoys cooking, crafts, and traveling with her family.


Abbreviated Transcript of Interview with Dr. Rebecca Smith

Eric Michaels: We're in the middle of a very rough winter and it seems that a lot of people are complaining about unusually dry, cracked skin.  What do you think is causing this dry skin?

Dr. Smith: There are different levels of dryness and potential skin conditions.  In general, the red, itchy and dry skin that people experience is called eczema.  Eczema can range from basic dry skin all the way to skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.   In the winter months skin may get very dehydrated and chapped, so people may see red, rough, itchy patches that have the potential to crack and bleed.  As dermatologists, the most important step we initiate with these people is the restoration of their skin's outermost barrier.

Eric Michaels: What is this skin barrier that you mentioned?
Dr. Smith: Explains barrier and barrier components.

Eric Michaels: Is there anything new that people should know about in terms of treatment?
Dr. Smith: A new class of products has emerged from recent research into eczema and atopic dermatitis. These products have been designed to specifically help with skin barrier restoration. The most well-known product in this class is EpiCeram Skin Barrier Emulsion. EpiCeram Emulsion was designed specifically to address a defective skin barrier by replenishing ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids in an optimal ratio.  Based on a significant amount of research at the University of California, EpiCeram Emulsion was formulated in an optimal manner to supply the skin barrier with the proper building blocks to restore its healthy function.

Eric Michaels: Do children experience eczema too? How can parents tell if their child is having a problem?  Is it all visual or are there other signs?
Dr. Smith: Children often experience a form of eczema called atopic dermatitis. The red, rough, itchy dry patches are present, but a child, especially a very young infant, may also cry and lose sleep. The best way to determine if a child has atopic dermatitis is to visit a local dermatologist when the rash is present. A quick visual check by a trained physician is all that is usually required to diagnosis and properly treat the child.

Eric Michaels: Besides treatment with topical products like EpiCeram Emulsion, what can people do for themselves or their children?
Dr. Smith: There are several daily skin care changes that can dramatically improve the signs and symptoms of eczema.  These include using non-irritating soaps and cleansers, only bathing once a day, limiting the amount of rubbing and touching of the irritated areas and avoiding common irritants around the house.  Try to use a moisturizer once a day as well.

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