Photography, Valeria Smirnova, Unsplash.com
A team of American researchers studied the cause behind skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis) and found that a disbalance of the skin’s microbiome may be the root of the problem.
Atopic dermatitis is the world’s most frequently diagnosed skin condition. In Canada, 10 to 15 percent of children under the age of five are affected, and although most outgrow the condition with age, almost 40 percent live with it their entire lives. Research shows that between 10 to 20 percent of the Canadian population suffers from atopic dermatitis of some type
What is atopic dermatitis?
Eczema is characterized by inflammation of the skin, which results in hives and redness, amongst other symptoms. The triggering factors vary; it can be caused by harsh soaps, cleaning products, stress, or weather changes.
A recent study published in the BioxRiv journal, which targeted 60 people, half of whom had atopic dermatitis and half of whom didn’t, found a correlation between the skin condition and an imbalance of the skin microbiome (healthy bacteria that is naturally present on the skin). The study found the two groups had a different skin composition: the subjects affected by eczema had a less diverse microbiome than the ones who do not suffer from the condition, and those with eczema had a large presence of two bacteria on their skin, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis.
Although these are not necessarily problematic, they could be at the root of hives and redness of the skin, and irritating for people who suffer from eczema.
Cause or consequence?
Even if a correlation has been found between an unbalanced microbiome of the skin and eczema, it remains unclear which way it goes. The disbalance of the skin could either cause eczema or be caused by it. Further research is necessary in order to come to a conclusion on the topic. However, researchers agree that these findings will pave the way to a better understanding of this popular skin condition.