Dry skin is known by numerous names and physicalizations– psoriasis, xerosis, atopic dermatitis, eczema, atopic eczema, among numerous others. No matter dry skin’s name or source, it is a painful and unsightly condition that can often interfere with one’s daily functions. Eczema, also known as dermatitis, atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, is a prevalent skin ailment that affects 20% of children worldwide and 3 – 6% of adults. (American Academy of Dermatology, Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology).
What are Symptoms of Eczema?
Eczema is characterized by chronic outbursts of inflamed, dried skin. According to the National Eczema Association and Mayo Clinic, the following are some common symptoms associated with the disorder:
- Chronic rash breakouts
- Coarse, leathery skin
- Crusted and oozing skin bumps and patches
- Discolored patches of skin, which are usually red or brown
- Dry, highly sensitive skin
- Incessant itching, especially at nighttime
- Inflamed or erythematous skin
- Scale-like patches and plaques
- Swollen patches of skin
What Causes Eczema?
Most sufferers have a genetic predisposition to eczema, with the eczema’s severity affected by environmental (animal dander, pollen, harsh cleaning products, tobacco smoke, etc) and immunological factors (National Eczema Association, Mayo Clinic ). Many people with eczema also have existing atopic respiratory disorders, such as allergies and asthma, that may exacerbate the condition.
So what exactly causes eczema’s erythematous patches? In brief, a weakened and easily-comprised skin barrier. Our skin contains a protein named filagrin that moisturizes the stratum corneum (the hardened, outermost layer of skin) and cornifies (hardens) cells in the epidermis. In eczema sufferers, the filagrin is often mutated to the point that it cannot properly hydrate the skin or properly fortify it against external irritants, thus making it more susceptible to inflammation and dehydration (Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology).
Some studies have also linked eczema and similar conditions to a weakened tight junction barrier. Found in the stratum granulosum (beneath the stratum cornuem and stratum lucidum), the tight junction is a name for the layers between cornified (hardened) and noncornified epithelium. The tight junction is responsible for not only “filling in” gaps between keratinocytes in the stratum corneum, but also exhibit selective permeability that assists in both retaining moisture and blocking harmful external particles (Journal of Investigative Dermatology). Studies in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, among others, have linked eczema and similar conditions with abnormal protein expression in the tight junction. Specifically, these two studies found that eczema sufferers’ skin expressed less of the tight junction proteins claudin-1 and claudin-23 than in the skin of sufferers of other skin disorders. Unfortunately, scholars have yet to fully discern claudin proteins’ role in tight junction structure and skin health.
Clinical evidence has also linked staphylococcus aureus infections with outbreaks of atopic eczema. Dried skin typical lacks adequate water and lipids, with the later exhibiting both moisturizing and antimicrobial properties (Acta Dermato-Venerologica). Owing to their comprised skin barrier, eczema sufferers’ skin often lacks antimicrobial peptides and the processes which can launch immunological responses against invasive external particles. These factors, combined with the skin’s dried, erthythemous lesions provide a fertile environment for the staphylococcus aureus bacteria to proliferate and further comprise the skin’s barrier and inflame the skin. Moreover, staphylococcus aureus cells have been shown to adhere more easily to eczematic cells than those in healthy samples (Acta Dermato-Venereologica)
Can Eczema Be Cured?
Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof method to eliminating eczema. Chronic eczema sufferers should consult with their allergist and dermatologist to determine the eczema’s trigger and treat it accordingly. Treatment usually combines multiple treatments, such as UV light therapy, antihistamines, and oral and topical steroids, in addition to frequent application of topical moisturizers (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology).
We suggest adding the AminoGenesis Cocoon: For All Over Body Use to your routine as an easy and effective at-home treatment. The AminoGenesis Cocoon moisturizer is packed with 17 amino acids and a number of silicone which increase hydration, fight inflammation, and can even boost levels of antimicrobial peptides in the skin.
In a study from the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, a topical preparation of ceramides, rhamnosoft, and L-isoleucine significantly decreased the severity of mild to moderate eczema lesions over a six-week trial. L-isoleucine has also been shown to increase the expression of β-defensins, an antimicrobial peptide that is responsible for maintaining a noninflammatory antimicrobial skin barrier and killing microbes encased in phagocytes (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, Molecular Immunology, Dermatopathology, Pharmaceuticals) .
The amino acid L-lysine, known for its role in wound healing and combatting inflammation, (Lasers in Medical Science), demonstrated significant antimicrobial activity in a study from the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. L-lysine also plays a role in hydrating the skin and is thought to play a role in collagen production (Journal of Peptide Science) When used in combination, these two amino acids likely will provide a significant improvement in bacteria-induced skin irritation, skin hydration, and fortify the skin barrier.
The AminoGenesis Cocoon formulation also includes dimethicone, a hydrating and conditioning silicone (Environmental Working Group Skin Deep). The popular humectant glycerin has repeatedly demonstrated aptitude as a skin hydrator, but also accelerates cell turnover, thus fortifying the skin barrier (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, International Journal of Cosmetic Science). Glycerin’s humectant properties also ensure that it can lock in existing moisture, thus slowing the rate of transepidermal water loss and general loss of moisture (Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology)
Call it eczema, atopic eczema, contact dermatitis or atopic dermatitis, eczema in any of its forms is a painful and oftentimes chronic skin ailment that affects up to 6% of the adult population worldwide. While the medical community has not yet found its universal cure, eczema can be treated with a combination of antihistamines, steroids, light therapy and moisturizers. The AminoGenesis Cocoon: For All Over Body Use moisturizer utilizes the silicone dimethicone and humectant glycerin to supply and lock-in skin moisture. The amino acids L-isoleucine and L-lysine provide additional defense and reparation by simultaneously hydrating the skin and encouraging expression of antimicrobial peptides that can defend against bacteria that can exacerbate eczema. Though the medical community has yet to find a universal cure for eczema, the AminoGenesis Cocoon cream is a promising at-home treatment for chronically-inflamed and dry skin.