Scientists have come a step closer to developing a cure for eczema after discovering how a deficiency in the skin’s natural barrier can trigger the painful condition.
Eczema, which causes the skin to become dry, red and itchy, affects one in five children and one in 12 adults in the UK, according to the National Eczema Society.
Flare-ups can be treated with creams and steroids, but there is currently no cure for the disorder.
Several years ago, researchers at the University of Dundee found the lack of a skin protein called filaggrin caused an inherited skin condition related to eczema, called ichthyosis vulgaris.
Genetic mutations can cause filaggrin, which plays an important role in protecting the skin from irritants, to stop working correctly.
Now scientists have built on this knowledge to better understand why some people develop atopic eczema, dry skin which often appears on the hands, insides of the elbows, backs of the knees and the face and scalp in children.
“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,” said Nick Reynolds, a dermatology professor at Newcastle University.
Published on Health.com