Having sensitive or dry skin is not an issue, but having to scratch it every five minutes is pretty annoying. It happens so often that people don’t realize that Eczema can be quite painful and unbearable. It causes much pain for some people, but, luckily, more people find their own solution to that. From babies to grownups, eczema is quite common. Worldwide, about 20 percent of children and up to 3 percent of the adult population have some form of eczema. This chronic condition occurs when people often complain of sore, red itchy patches on their skin. But scientists have finally discovered what’s really going on to your skin when you have it.
Until now, no one is actually sure why this condition happens.
But there are some things we know about the condition.
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin with unknown cause. It’s actually the most common form of the skin condition called atopic dermatitis. This is all closely related to asthma or allergic rhinitis as well. Usually, it starts in childhood, but adults also have it. It’s estimated that over 245 million people are the world suffer from eczema.
Sadly, there is no one cure that helps, although there are several creams and ointments that will relieve the itch.
However, scientists are now closer than ever before to finding out the processes that occur in a person’s skin when they have eczema. Knowing this could help them how to cure it for good.
Ten years ago, scientists discovered that sufferers of eczema usually have a lack of a gene called filaggrin in their bodies. This was the clue for researchers.
Filaggrin is a protein that is used by the body to help shape skin cells and creating the skin’s barrier. If you are born with an imbalance of this important protein in their skin, it can result in eczema, or ichthyosis vulgaris, on which the skin doesn’t shed properly. This is when dead skin isn’t shed properly, and can stay on the body. It will eventually look like fish scales.
Scientists at Newcastle University in England partnered with the dermatologist pharmaceutical company GSK Stiefel. They wanted to figure out the series of proteins and pathways involved that can trigger eczema.
“We have shown for the first time that loss of the filaggrin protein alone is sufficient to alter key proteins and pathways involved in triggering eczema,” lead researcher Nick Reynolds of Newcastle University says.
The team then created a 3-D model called a Living Skin Equivalent, or LSE for short, in order to search these mechanisms.
Next, they altered the top layer of the LSE so that the amount of filaggrin it had was too small. This is very similar to people who suffer from eczema. What they found was that when skin is lacking filaggrin, it can alter the molecular model of the skin. So the skin’s cell structure, barrier function, and how the cells can become inflamed and respond to stress isn’t as good as would normally be.
“Notably, for the first time, we have identified 17 proteins that are significantly differentially expressed after [filaggrin removal] in LSE cultures,” the team wrote.
The team then had to verify their findings and compare them in tests with humans. The results from healthy skin and those who have eczema were both analyzed.
After the study, they found that many of the proteins were altered in the same way as only those with eczema. It was very similar to the model they created in the lab.
Although they haven’t exactly found a cure for it yet, they’re on the right track.
This will help scientists develop medications to stop this from happening in the future.
A mother discovered the perfect cure for her daughter’s eczema, so if you want to help someone, here is her story.