A new study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that a lack of a natural occurring acid may be why individuals suffer from eczema.
Researchers at Edinburgh University discovered this deficiency by studying blood from hospital patients and donated blood from students.
A lack of cis-urocanic act cells affects the skin and the immune system and how they work together. Inflammation can occur when an individual is deficient in cis-urocanic acid. Interestingly, this acid is made from filaggrin, a protein, instrumental in building a protective barrier in the outer layers of the human skin. 50% of individuals of European origin suffering from eczema have a mutated gene that causes a filaggrin defect.
This acid is produced when the skin reacts to sunlight which may be why eczema suffers find relief in the summer and why many eczema sufferers find winter terrible for their skin.
Dr. Claire Leitch, a researcher in the study, stated, "Our study suggests the filaggrin protein, and the cis-urocanic acid it forms, are important for building protective barriers in the skin. This helps to stop the skin over-reacting to dust, detergents and other irritants."