Eczema all about infection

Researchers say they’ve found that people with atopic dermatitis, a.k.a. eczema, are susceptible to bacterial infections in their skin because their bodies don’t produce enough of two antimicrobial peptides. The findings show that while an allergic reaction can cause a rash, true eczema is all about infection. And medicines containing or inducing the peptides could be used to fight the disorder, which affects millions worldwide.From the National Jewish Medical and Research Center

Eczema Patients Lack Natural Antibiotic in Skin

Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center report in the October 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that patients with atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, are susceptible to bacterial infections of their skin because they fail to produce effective amounts of two antimicrobial peptides. The findings demonstrate for the first time the clinical significance of these peptides in humans, and suggest that a medication containing or inducing the peptides may one day be used to fight the infections that plague millions of atopic dermatitis patients. The accompanying editorial in the journal called it a “seminal study.”

“This study helps explain why 90 percent of atopic dermatitis patients are colonized by staphylococcus aureus and 30 percent develop active infections,” said the study’s senior author, Donald Leung, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Pediatric Allergy-Immunology at National Jewish Medical and Research Center, in Denver. “It is important to understand why people with this common skin disease are so susceptible to skin infections, especially in light of recent widespread concerns that they can develop severe infections after receiving a smallpox vaccination. Interestingly, these antimicrobial peptides are also needed to combat viral infections and therefore could account for the susceptibility of atopic dermatitis patients to eczema vaccinatum and herpes simplex infections.”

Atopic dermatitis is a common, chronic skin disease characterized by dry, itchy and easily irritated skin. It occurs most commonly in infants and young children, but can persist into adulthood. Severe cases can lead to sleep deprivation, chronic bacterial infections, and depression. Approximately one in nine people in the United States suffer from this disease at some point. Along with other allergic diseases, its prevalence has grown significantly in recent years.

Immunologists recently identified peptides in the skin that help fight incipient infections. They rarely appear in normal skin, but are produced in reaction to skin inflammation. Since atopic dermatitis patients are so frequently plagued by bacterial infections, Dr. Leung and his colleagues decided to investigate the potential role of the antimicrobial peptides in those patients.

They evaluated the levels of two antimicrobial peptides, known as LL-37 and HBD-2, in eight patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, 11 psoriasis patients, and six healthy individuals. Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disease, whose patients rarely suffer skin infections. Microscopic examination of skin samples showed significant amounts of the peptides in the skin of psoriasis patients, but none to minor amounts in skin from atopic dermatitis patients, and none in the skin of healthy controls. Additional analysis indicated that most psoriasis patients had at least 10 times as much of the peptides in their skin as did atopic dermatitis patients. Many atopic dermatitis patients had no detectable amounts of the antimicrobial peptides in their skin.

When the researchers treated staphylococcus aureus colonies with the antimicrobial peptides, levels found in skin of psoriasis patients killed the bacteria. The researchers also found that two hormone-like proteins associated with the immune response and commonly secreted by atopic dermatitis patients’ cells, IL-4 and IL-13, suppressed the production of HBD-2 in cell cultures.

“These findings indicate that atopic dermatitis patients have an impaired immune response that prevents them from producing adequate amounts of antimicrobial peptides in their skin,” said Dr. Leung.

The research suggests that the missing peptides might one day be used as a treatment to prevent skin infections in atopic dermatitis patients.
“Our body normally makes these peptides to fight infections, so there might be fewer side effects than with conventional antibiotics,” said co-author Richard Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Dermatology at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. In 1994, Dr. Gallo was the first to discover the antimicrobial peptides in mammalian skin. The peptides might have another advantage over conventional antibiotics, said Dr. Gallo. While conventional antibiotics attack only bacteria, the antimicrobial peptides fight bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Researchers will also be working in the next several years to alter the immune response of atopic dermatitis patients to promote the production of the antimicrobial peptides, said Dr. Leung.

The findings could shed light on atopic dermatitis patients’ susceptibility to eczema vaccinatum, a widespread skin infection that can afflict those who receive the smallpox vaccination. They may have relevance for other diseases, as well. For instance, it is known that tuberculosis and leprosy patients, whose cells secrete the same immune system regulators as atopic dermatitis patients, are more likely to have disease that spreads widely in their bodies.

Funding for the research was provided by the Veterans Affairs; The National Institutes of Health; the University of Colorado Cancer Center; the Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and the Stern Foundation.

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23 thoughts on “Eczema all about infection”

  1. I have a type of eczema on my hands & arms that stings with any lotion I put on it, it itches horribly, and even if I avoid washing my hands too much/doing dishes or certain foods (sugar) I still get it (thanks to hormones). So, I thought I’d try Made From The Earth Aloe Jojoba Creme Therapy and let me tell you-IT WORKS! I’ve been using it for over a month now and it’s like 90% gone-I just had a flare up (due to high stress, no doubt)…so it doesn’t erase it completely but WOW-I’m not up all night scratching and having to suffer with scaley, scabby hands any more! :)

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  4. Guide to the Natural Eczema Cure

    If you’ve literally been itching to get rid of your eczema permanently, it might be high time for you to try a different approach and get an eczema treatment that actually works. Like others who are afflicted with this common skin disorder,Unless you get rid of the allergens that are causing your eczema breakouts, you are likely to go through the same experience over and over again. plz visit

  5. Skin eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It is a skin disorder that is characterized by itching that you cannot help but scratch resulting in red and inflamed skin. In some cases, blisters, spots, and scaly skin forms on top of the skin inflammation. This kind of skin disorder is believed to develop in people who have atopic tendencies or those whose skin is overly sensitive to certain allergens. This kind of condition is also believed to be hereditary. Eczema could manifest at any stage in one’s life but the initial manifestation is often experienced from birth until about age 5. People with this skin condition experience breakouts on and off through the years. The breakouts are usually triggered by allergens. These allergens differ from one person to another and is not easy to identify. Some common allergens include soaps and detergents, wooly fabric, dust, weather conditions or temperature changes, food, and stress among others. The eczema cure that is often prescribed by dermatologists depend on the type of eczema and the allergens that caused the eczema.

  6. Recently, I have had having some measurable success in limiting my eczema which I developed as a teenager, first starting in my ears at the margin between inside and outside the ear canal. I’m using a novel approach which seals your skin with a molecular layer of silicone, which is highly oxygenated, water resistant yet breathable.

    The concept is to seal in your own natural moisture and end the need to apply all the chemicals we ordinarily put on our skin in the form of lotions, etc. The sealant is just one molecule thick so imperceptible, but it fights every kind of pathogen in the world because it blocks their ability to find water moisture in the surface of your skin and soothes your skin by blocking the sun’s oxidizing rays.

    I will tell you from experience that I have not needed to put lotion on my hands for 5 months. My husband’s eternally yellow toenails turned from yellow to beach-strolling white. All you do is put a little of the stuff in your shampoo, but you have to have some patience because the good effects take a while to build up. It has not “cured’ my eczema and I still use steroids, but a whole lot less and my skin feels great.

    You can find by visiting the web site, and then click on the eco skin seal product.

    • Do you put this product on skin that is already broken out? I am a stay a home mom and have 3 pets so I am constantly cleaning up messes. I am terrified of infections and go through tons of band aids and surgical gloves. Sometimes I let my housework go so I can give my hands a break. I need something that I can use to protect my skin but still breaths.

  7. Severe Ezema has serious physical and mental affects. It is like acne, except worse because it is not quite as widespread. Hopefully more reliable treatments and prevention methods will show themselves over time

  8. I battled eczema for 14 years (from 12 to 26), and what ended it was the HerbalCureNCare Eczema Cream a friend of my (and eczema sufferer herself) recommended it.In 1 month my face and hands cleared and for the last 2 years it didn’t come back. It’s really a miracle!

  9. My daughter was born with Eczema. I didn’t know what that ‘crusty’ skin was behind her ears but it was hard as a rock! After bathing her the crustiness started to break down, this was the 1st sign. Then her neck started showing rings with 2 tone color… ??? I thought maybe her skin was getting lighter? But this 2 tone started appearing a couple of months into her life on the back of the knees, the insides of her elbows, the top of her wrists/hands. Then around 4 months I “thought” she had had an allergic reaction to one of the foods that contained pineapple. But an allergic reaction wouldn’t stay for months & months would it? I asked the Dr. why her skin was like that & was told that sometimes this happens when races are mixed?!? huh? That made no sense at least not to me. As her skin got worse on her face I asked again & was told that she has Eczema. What is that? I didn’t know anything about this, unfortunately. My other daughter’s skin is super smooth so how was I to know that my 2nd baby would get this? My husband’s family has eczema & althouh not bad but still, the disease is there.Now trying to find a ‘fix’ has been depressing! From reading & doing a lot of research I’ve learned that there is no ‘fix’ but there are plenty of things to try & see if it helps. I’ve tried aquaform to get her skin smooth but that didn’t work for us (aside from leaving her all sticky!). I’ve tried vinegar + water, Aloe vera juice on her scalp as she scratches till it feels good & then yanks her hair out from the frustration (& then some of mine too!). Recently I came across a website ( that helps those with Eczema & other skin diseases (such as Psoriasis, Solar Keratosis, Cuts and Bruises, Diabetic Foot Ulcers, Scalds and Burns, Athlete’s foot, Cold Sores, Rashes, and many more!). It’s crocodile fat & the product is called “REPCILLIN” which comes from Africa. Can I say it again “REPCILLIN!” In the 1st 24 hours I’ve noticed a change on her skin, specifically her face! NO JOKE! The left cheek on her face was SO tender that the slightest scratch would open up the skin & believe me, she would take care of doing exactly that many times… enough to bring me to tears. I’ve been applying this Repcillin to her cheek & all the other areas that show signs of Eczema & it has been doing wonders! The product wasn’t cheap HOWEVER, I did not want to use steroids on my 8 month old baby. That’s how old she is now. Most users see a difference around 3 weeks after applying it however, I’ve noticed a difference within 24 hours & today will make 5 days. Her skin is “healing” & i’m so HAPPY!!! The skin on her cheek is starting to become healthy & smooth again. Every day I’ve been taking pictures of the changes just so I can see & convince myself of how good this product is & has been so far.Recently I got bit by mosquitos on my ankle (never fails when I’m out in the woods!) & so of course & as usual, they swell up. I put some Repcillin on them & immediately the need or urge to scratch was gone!!!!!! I could go the whole day without knowing they’re there which means, I’m letting my skin heal instead of having my nails damage the skin… like I tend to. Any new ‘boo-boo’ as my 2 year old puts it, that comes up I put Repcillin on. SO many people have seen the great effects Repcillin has on them & those they love. For all of you who are suffering from any skin disease I really & strongly suggest that you give Repcillin a chance. Just like I did “testing it out” you could order the smallest package, apply it & write down, take pictures, make a video of the DAILY progress this product has on you & share it with the rest of the world. The website that I bought it from is I will soon be making a video of the pictures I’ve taken “daily” of my 8 month old so everyone can see why I’m SO relieved & SO happy for my babygirl. I’m sure all mom’s, dad’s & anyone who is frustrated by skin disorders will understand why “I” gave Repcillin a try. Look for the video in youtube & the website I mentioned above ( as it’s a wonderful thing to share great advice!

  10. Try Carterine for excellent results. You can only find it at Carter’s Drug Store at 2400 W. Burliegh in Milwaukee. You can also call at 442-8760.

  11. I have a friend who has eczema and they have it pretty bad. I started doing some research on ezcema cures and treatments and came across something that will amaze you. My friend has been testing this new system out and she said she has seen a great improvement.Very nice looking blog with lots of good content.ThanksNev

  12. Eczema Treatment and avoiding irritation

    Eczema is most definitely caused by irritations to the outer layers of the skin.
    The article above does a good job of describing the process with which is now understood to be the cause or source of eczema.
    The question now is how “Eczema can be prevented”.
    The solution is not as simple as finding a single cure but a change in the products used to form a suited lifestyle for the patient.
    I have read and examined countless articles based on natural methods like herbs and extracts and have been less than impressed by the consistency of the results for eczema patients as a hole.
    One idea has come to my attention and seems to be the path that would make the most sense for any eczema patient or person with sensitive skin, Avoiding all chemical and irritation exposure daily. Since daily irritations are what trigger the eczema onsets it is understood that to experience fever outbreaks one should avoid contact with chemicals in any form. The basic contact we have daily are from soaps and laundry detergents.
    The only effective measure is to use soaps and detergents that are residue free rinsing products designed for eczema.
    The brand Puraderm has both soap and detergent that are both residue free rinsing.
    I recommend these to people suffering from conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, even respiratory allergies.
    The reason other products don’t work with the same level of effectiveness is because they all have some byproduct of washing. Any byproducts can be the sole cause of irritation.
    You will see that even the top brand hypoallergenic products avoid making claims as bold as “Residue Free”. This is the difference that is worth a trail at least for personal benefits.

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