Healthy Bacteria May Be the Key to Treating Eczema
Maintaining healthy, vibrant looking skin can be a challenge for adults who suffer from eczema. While most commonly found in children, eczema can impact the skin of adults, causing symptoms that include dry, red, and itchy skin. At the Valley View Dermatology, we have a variety of ways of treating this issue, also known as atopic dermatitis, including light therapy, steroid creams, and oral medications.
However, a new treatment that utilizes the power of bacteria that naturally live on our skin may soon lead to a breakthrough in the way eczema is treated, suggests the early results of an ongoing study.
Researchers developed the basis for this treatment option working under a new understanding of the importance of the body’s microbiome. Whether in our mouths and stomachs or on our skin, our bodies contain millions, occasionally billions, of individual bacteria that work together to create a microbiome. A healthy and balanced microbiome can do everything from improving digestion, lower our risk of tooth decay, and, in the case of our skin, potentially work to treat eczema.
Researchers describe their treatment approach much like a microbiome transplant. By taking bacteria from a healthy source and applying it to the skin of individuals with eczema, they hope to alter the microbiome in a way that will alleviate symptoms and reduce the need for constant treatment.
Working Towards Healthier Skin
In addition to causing the skin to become dry, red, and itchy, eczema can also increase the risk for the development of rashes and infections. Currently, the exact cause of eczema remains unknown, but researchers believe that our skin’s microbiome could play a potentially important role.
As part of this latest study, researchers took Roseomonas mucosa – a type of bacteria that naturally forms on the skin – from participants with healthy skin and applied it to the skin of 10 adults and five children dealing with eczema.
Researchers continued this bacterial transfer twice a week for six weeks. Adult patients were allowed to spray a solution containing the bacteria onto the inner elbow and an area of the body of their choice. During this period, the adult participants also continued their regular eczema treatments. The children involved in the study underwent a similar regimen for 12 weeks; then the dosage of healthy bacteria was increased and treatments were done every other day for four more weeks.
Following several weeks of treatment, the severity of the study participant’s eczema was successfully reduced, with some participants even reporting they could cut back on the frequency of steroid cream use. No side effects or complications were reported by any of the study participants.
By the end of the study, six out of 10 adult participants and four out of the five children enjoyed a greater than 50 percent improvement in their eczema symptoms.
Exciting Potential for New Treatment Options at Dermatology Clinic
Based on the results of this latest study, researchers were highly encouraged about the potential for new eczema treatment options. That bacteria that grows naturally on the skin may lead to improved skin health means these treatment options could have a wide range of applications, especially among patients who suffer from allergies to creams, oils, and ointments.
As new research continues to explore exciting ways of keeping our skin looking healthy and radiant, you can always expect our team at Valley View Dermatology to offer our patients the latest and most effective options for looking and feeling their best.