New Advancements in Understanding and Managing Eczema

Jennie Lyon

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When you struggle with eczema, known as atopic dermatitis (AD), at the root this quite common skin disease is an improperly functioning skin barrier and immune dysregulation. The condition also often comes before signs of asthma and seasonal allergies and it affects up to 20% of children and 3% of adults in the USA. The question that’s always being asked is, is it really a skin barrier defect, or is really caused by a dysfunctional immune system?

With the close relationship of the skin condition and other allergies, this study asks the question, “So which is the chicken and which the egg? Does barrier dysfunction beget immune dysregulation or vice versa?”

There have been a variety of studies that are suggesting that eczema can be interrupted and that other related conditions can also be avoided.

The skin barrier and the normal host microbiome plays a key role in the protection of skin and the determination of immune responses. When a patient has AD, several barrier components have been immunologically shown as altered. Recent advancements are showing that the abnormal barrier is a trigger for inflammation. There is leakage in the barrier that’s allowing the penetration of irritants, allergens, and microbes into the skin and that’s what is causing the inflammation and eczema flares.

You can read more about the extensive research here. Ultimately, the study is concluding on a positive not to show that the future for eczema management and treatment has never looked so promising. We are continuing to make advancements that are helping us to really understand the genetic basis of AD and all of the associated barrier defects. This is sure to result in improved therapy options in the near future followed by possible prevention in the longer term.