- Eczema sufferers tend to not have human beta-defensin 2 in their skin cells
- The protective compound is vital in preventing damage caused by bacteria
- When it was used it helped the skin to stay intact and increased protection
- Experts hope the breakthrough will help create new treatments for eczema
But now scientists have revealed the body's own natural defences could be used as a potential new treatment for eczema.
A new study discovered a way to instruct skin cells to produce a protective substance people with the skin condition typically lack.
The breakthrough will help create new treatments for atopic eczema, which affects about one in five children, experts hope.
Eczema sufferers are at greater risk of carrying bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus on their skin.
This can infect skin lesions and cause damage to the skin barrier.
They also typically do not produce a naturally-occurring protective compound in their skin cells known as human beta-defensin 2 (hBD2).
The compound is vital in preventing damage to the skin barrier caused by the bacteria, researchers from the University of Edinburgh found.
The compound is vital in preventing damage to the skin barrier caused by bacteria, researchers from the University of Edinburgh found
When hBD2 was applied to skin cells grown in the lab, it helped the skin to remain intact, with the cells strengthening protection against the bacterial damage.
Lead researcher Dr Donald Davidson said: 'This is a great chance to work with something that the body makes naturally to develop new therapies for atopic eczema, which affects so many people's lives.'
Also called atopic dermatitis, the condition causes distressing itchy lesions that can lead to broken skin with increased susceptibility to infection.
It can have a severe impact on people's lives, work and sleep - but there is currently no cure.
Conventional treatment with steroid creams can have side effects, and become less effective over time, which a natural therapy may avoid.
The study is published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3818850/Scientists-working-eczema-treatment-turn-bodys-natural-defences.html#ixzz4Mu94uiYj