How a person looks to others when in public can impact their self-worth and that is especially important to confidence and interaction. That is why Atopic Dermatitis, known as Eczema, is a condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin can really bring a person’s confidence down. It is a burden on the immunity and the self-esteem.

Atopic Dermatitis diagnoses in adults as well as young children has increased, and doctors are now seeing cases in toddlers and newborns more than ever before. This chronic condition needs management, sometimes for an entire lifetime. Flare ups appear on the arm and legs, behind the knees, and across the chest, eyelids, and lips; in very observable areas making it embarrassing to the person.

Eczema presents in variations from dry scaly skin, swollen, sore, and painful, or rash with light raised bumps, it can be oozing and crusty, thickening, or discolored patches on the skin. People who do not know about the Atopic Dermatitis condition can be extremely critical and judge someone due to this visible skin condition. It is a burden that a sufferer wears.

Eczema Burden

Eczema is chronic and needs to be cared for, in most cases for a lifetime with flare ups that are noticeable or present on the extremities, behind the knees, across the chest, in highly visible areas.  For parents with children, it is an added burden with treatment protocols and diet needs. Parents worry about their child’s stigma upon entering school. The impact of Eczema can affect how one feels, and the confidence to be in public with skin flare ups.

It is not contagious but does require lifestyle changes that begin when one is a baby or toddler to reduce the condition from becoming more chronic with age. There are various treatments, yet even after months or years, it can still flare up with symptoms. Extreme symptoms require a prescription that can include specific drugs such as this list found at the Mayo Clinic, that  include cyclosporine, methotrexate, prednisone, mycophenolate and azathioprine.

Taking these oral prescriptions have limits of use as they can add side effects to internal organs with extended use. Seen repeatedly in TV advertisements, Dupixent and Tralokinumab also know as Adbry are for people who display moderate to severe symptoms and are not responding to oral prescription or other treatments. In these Eczema cases, visiting with a medical specialist is necessary.

Eczema Research

Getting out in front of this is so very important.  Research!  I have the privilege of knowing one researcher who has developed an application to signal the presents of Atopic Dermatitis or Eczema in the tiny cells of the skin.

Dr. Evgeny Berdyshev, PhD. Professor, is a lead Researcher at Denver National Jewish Health.  He has pointed out “that this study was performed by two groups of scientists – a clinical study was done in South Korea by Dr. Kangmo Ahn group (Samsung Medical Center), and research component was led by Dr. Donald Leung at National Jewish Health. My (Dr. Berdyshev) contribution to this discovery was by doing most of the analyses and by identifying those predictive biomarkers”.

New Application for Diagnosis of Eczema

As Dr. Evgeny Berdyshev explains

Childhood eczema appears very early in human life and often transitions into other atopic diseases such as food allergy and asthma. In our study, we used non-invasive skin tape stripping approach to look at early biomarkers of future onset of eczema in the very top layers of the skin. When looking at such skin tape strips collected at the age of two months, we identified several lipid and cytokine molecules whose abnormal levels predict future onset of eczema with high precision.

Benefits are Preventive Therapeutic

Our finding allows identifying children AT RISK of development of eczema in the future. Knowing who is at risk will allow preventive therapeutic interventions such as skin barrier enforcing emollients and biologics that theoretically can halt or completely eliminate the onset of eczema and the development of other atopic diseases in such children.

Skin tape stripping is minimally invasive, easy to do, and well tolerated by babies. It is approved to be used even on newborns. Therefore, accessing biological material through skin tape stripping provides enormous advantage over many other approaches and, as it turned out, the surface of our skin provides vast information about underlying immunological events happening inside of our body. Usually, childhood eczema manifests between ages of six months and two years.

Identifying children at risk of future onset of eczema at the age of two months gives substantial time for therapeutic interventions to halt eczema development or significantly alleviate its severity. Importantly, our work identified significant abnormalities in molecule’s composition at the age of two months. This means that there is a possibility to detect those changes even earlier, between the birth and two months of age.

Currently, studies have been initiated to answer exactly this question. The earlier we identify children at risk of future onset of eczema the more efficient will be preemptive therapies. Right now, eczema is the only atopic disease we investigated and found predictive biomarkers for. Clinical studies are currently ongoing to identify specific predictive biomarkers for food allergy and asthma, next two steps in the transition of atopic diseases that is called the atopic march.

Better Outcomes for those with Eczema

Atopic diseases such as eczema, food allergy, and asthma impose a huge burden to the society and often are severe. Our finding is the first step towards their elimination or significant reduction through preemptive targeted therapies. As the onset of atopic diseases is currently considered to be in part due to the failure of skin barrier function, its enforcement with specialized emollients should decreased penetration of allergens, bacteria and viruses through the skin hence eliminate the excessive activation of immune cells in the skin that at the end leads to skin barrier dysfunction, the onset of eczema and the atopic march. If successful, our findings can help millions of people who have significantly deteriorated quality of life due to those diseases.

Faster identification and Customization for individuals

We are at the very beginning of a long road towards clinical application of our discovery. First, we have to confirm our findings in other studies using multiple ethnical groups of infants to be sure that our discovery is universal as well as to identify unique features characteristic to different groups of people. Those studies are already undergoing. However, it will take between five and ten years to finish them. At the same time, our analytical methodology will evolve to make our current methods faster and more precise that will help the transition of our current research-type approach into a clinical application.

 Improving diagnosis improves the outcomes by medical intervention

As parents, we all want our children to have healthy and happy life. Currently, about one fifth of children worldwide suffers from childhood eczema, with many having food allergy and asthma later in life.  Knowing that there is a chance to eliminate those diseases by looking into child’s skin during early days and weeks of life by using such a minimally invasive approach will definitely strengthen the connection between families and family doctors.

We truly believe that introduction of such a clinical test will revolutionize pediatric practice and medical practice in general as it has a tremendous potential to minimize the devastating effect of atopic diseases on human life.

What to expect from the New Research Discoveries

The burden will be lifted from those people with Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis and Allergic reaction to the skin.  Children will have better prognosis and outcomes, which takes the stigma away. Parents can have confidence in the future  treatment of their children.

Natural Eczema Relief

Mentioned above are the prescriptions that assist in managing Eczema, but I have recommended the following over the counter products.

  1. For mild cases, try a homeopathic product called Forces of Nature Eczema Control Topical Oil. It soothes inflamed skin and reduces the itching that can make the skin worse, reduces future flare ups, and restores skin health.
  2. One of my favorites for the younger patient who is sensitive in nature and likes to scratch the Eczema area of the skin is Eczema Soothing Therapy Cream from The Honest Company. And it works very quickly.
  3. And finally, 100% pure Aloe Vera gel. It works to restore normal cell function as it cools the inflammation, normalizes cell renewal, prevents the scaly look, and tones down the redness.  Aloe Vera Gel should be used daily and for extended periods of time.  It has no smell, leaves no residue, and gives fast relief.

Eczema’ over-the-counter products are available at most pharmacy’s, grocery stores, and natural food stores.  I will suggest even ordering these products on Amazon.  For the daily maintenance of Eczema, these over-the-counter products can give comfort. For more intense symptoms a Dermatologist or your Medical General Practitioner can write a prescription that will advance symptom relief, but with the new research, Eczema could soon be a burden of the past.