Written by Emily Kuehner
Produced for online by Jessica McGrath
The painful skin condition is triggered from a lack of the protein filaggrin, new research from the UK Newcastle University has found.
Eczema Association Australasia president, Cheryl Talent, says the new research is the first development eczema sufferers have seen in years.
“This pinpoints and highlights the actual cause which is very exciting.”
Australian Allergy Centre doctor Suzan Bekir says the research is a very exciting piece of the puzzle.
She says it will aid in treating the cause, not just for the uncomfortable symptoms.
“I think a lot of patients with eczema are going to have better treatment.”
Newcastle University dermatology professor Nick Reynolds says the research has shown, “for the first time that loss of the filaggrin protein alone is sufficient to alter key proteins and pathways involved in triggering eczema.”
The non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition affects one in three Australasians during their lifetime, says Dr Bekir.
Although it affects all ages, young Australasians make up 17.4 per cent of all sufferers.
The condition often affects very young children, before flaring up again during the teenage years, and even persisting through adulthood.
Atopic eczema is the most common form of the disease, appearing as a red rash across hands, arms, elbows and the face.
Sufferers often have to cope with itchy or even weeping skin, particularly during the cooler months.
Ms Talent says the new research may help those who suffer and encourage them to seek help.
“If you suffer from eczema, or you have a family member, it really takes over your whole life, a dreadful thing to live with.”
Flare ups can currently be treated with creams and steroids, but this pivotal research could finally see a cure.