New Eczema Research Revolutionizes Understanding of the Condition

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Effective Eczema Treatment Demands Preservation of Skin with a Shielding Lotion

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Scientists have long believed that eczema is an allergic reaction. However, new research has found that most eczema cases are the result of an entirely different phenomenon – a defective skin barrier that predisposes eczema sufferers to damage from environmental irritants. These findings revolutionize scientists’ understanding of eczema and open the door to more effective eczema treatment.

Hundreds of dermatologists are now recommending the use of a shielding lotion, a new type of skin care product that mimics the skin’s protective outer layer. This may well be the new global standard for eczema treatment.

The new study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, revealed surprising findings - the raised allergic antibodies that would support the immune reaction theory were not present in two-thirds of the cases studied. Instead, they found evidence that the protective surface layer of the skin was compromised. Scientists now believe that this problem is the true source of many eczema conditions and that treatment must take an abrupt turn away from the immune system focus towards preserving the integrity of the skin’s protective layer.

Scientists suspect that the breakdown is due to a combination of factors - a genetic predisposition to thin skin which is then easily damaged by moisture loss and irritation caused by overheating, cold weather, dry winds and exposure to chemical irritants like soap or detergents. One thing is certain, while thin skin is more susceptible to developing eczema, exposure to irritants is often the key precipitating element for flares.

According to Dr. Peter Helton, cosmetic dermatologist and medical director of the Helton Skin and Laser Institute in Newport Beach, California, “In order for the skin to heal and return to its healthy condition you have to seal in the moisture and oils that are below the outer layer of skin and protect it from the irritants in the environment.”

A good shielding lotion does just that. “Shielding lotions can significantly restore the skin's natural barrier and thus make it less susceptible to environmental irritants and eczema flares,” explains Dr. Lisa Benest, a board certified dermatologist in Burbank, California. A recent Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) study found that shielding lotion increases the protective layer formation properties by more than 50 percent within one hour of application.

“A shielding lotion is a new kind of lotion. It is a new technology that blends moisturizers with a light silicone material that is like a liquid film that bonds with the surface of your skin. It is like wearing an invisible shield that helps heal the skin. It keeps the moisture in and keeps the irritants out,” said Dr. Helton.

Steroid creams and ointments are the traditional topical eczema treatment, but, as they can further damage the protective layer, these new findings indicate the need for a different approach. Shielding lotion may be the wave of the future.

The National Skin Care Institute

Contact Sally Falkow

Tel # 323 882 8125

http://www.skincarenet.org

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