After years of research, scientists at Newcastle University have discovered the root cause of eczema, a condition that causes severe red blushing and dry, itchy skin.
The study, led by Professor Nick Reynolds, found that sufferers are missing a vital protein called filaggrin in their skin.
The research, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, tested human skin models that were lacking the necessary protein. The report found that the same genetic signals exhibited in those who suffer from eczema became apparent when the protein was removed.
While researchers continue to search for a cure, if you suffer from severe redness and other symptoms, here’s how to ease the pain.
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS
“Generally, fragrance is a big no-no for eczema patients,” says dermatologist Dr Andrew Cambio. “You should eliminate all products with fragrance – including soaps, perfumes, cosmetics and scented body lotions – from your routine.” Try using products that are hypoallergenic to minimise the likelihood of an allergic reaction.
REPLACE ALCOHOL WITH WATER
When you have too much alcohol in your system, it causes your blood vessels to constrict, weakening blood flow causing you to appear as if you’ve been in the sun all day with no slip-slop-slap, explains Dr Jong-Sung Kim, from the Chungnam National University. Flushing from alcohol becomes extremely apparent when coupled with eczema.
MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE, MOISTURISE!
According to the National Eczema Association, “keeping your skin’s moisture intact is one of the most important things you can do to help control your eczema. When your skin gets too dry, it can become irritate and cause your eczema to flare.”
Intense exercise can cause your body to overheat, leading to eczema flare-ups. “For these patients, I recommend trying to shower as soon as possible after a workout,” says Cambio.