Natural Compound in the Body Might Help with Eczema
It is actually a pretty exciting time for eczema sufferers, as funny as that sounds. As new funding continues to move into the area of eczema research, scientists keep finding new avenues of study that could, one day, result in viable therapies or even a cure. One of these discoveries recently happened at the University of Edinburgh in the UK.
One of the major questions asked by eczema researchers is, “What makes the skin of eczema sufferers different from the skin of others?” Why is it that our skin reacts to environmental triggers, leading to dry, itchy, and painfully cracked skin? We are now discovering that it could be because of natural factors and compounds that are lacking in our bodies.
An intact skin barrier is a very important factor in why some people don’t have to deal with eczema. Through the use of wet wrap therapy, we can help protect our skin barrier, but what if we didn’t have to?
This study shows a potential way to use the body’s natural defense systems to repair and protect the skin barrier, preventing, or at least minimizing, eczema flare-ups. The naturally occurring compound beta-defensin 2, also known as hBD2, can kill bacteria and help protect that barrier. In people with healthy skin, the body naturally produces it, killing bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus before it has a chance to take advantage of any weaknesses in the skin barrier. This compound is not generally activated in the skin of an eczema sufferer, leading to an increased chance of skin infections and flare-ups. In this study, researchers applied hBD2 to skin cells grown in a laboratory and discovered that it helped keep those cells intact. Researchers described it as the “mortar between the bricks in the wall,” helping to build up the skin’s natural defenses to keep any Staph infections at bay.
Research into this compound is continuing, with hopes that it could eventually lead to new treatments for eczema. The benefit of this kind of treatment is that it likely wouldn’t cause any of the harmful side-effects that steroidal creams can cause, such as Red Skin Syndrome. Those treatments are still in the future, but it is exciting to think that, within a few years, we might have an incredibly effective new weapon in the fight against eczema!
"Skin defences point to eczema therapies” <http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2016/skin-defences-point-to-eczema-therapies>. University of Edinburgh. University of Edinburgh, 03 October 2016. Web. 06 October 2016.