Smearing ‘good bacteria’ on the skin of eczema sufferers eases their symptoms by more than 50 percent, new research suggests.
Within weeks of spraying a solution containing the bacteria Roseomonas mucosa on affected areas, six out of 10 adults and four out of five children with eczema see their skin improve by more than 50 percent, a study found today.
Such eczema sufferers also rely less on conventional treatments, such as steroids, and experience no side effects, the research adds.
Previous research suggests eczema sufferers tend to have large populations of the ‘bad bacteria’ Staphylococcus aureus on their skin, which has been linked to infections and inflammation.
Although the researchers did not speculate why ‘good bacteria’ benefits eczema patients, it may ‘outcompete’ bad bacteria on their skin.
Lead author Dr Ian Myles, from the National Institutes of Health, said: ‘By applying bacteria from a healthy source to the skin of people with atopic dermatitis, we aim to alter the skin microbiome in a way that will relieve symptoms and free people from the burden of constant treatment.’
Worldwide, eczema affects around 20 percent of children and three percent of adults.
Smearing ‘good bacteria’ on eczema sufferers’ skin eases their symptoms by over 50% (stock)
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin that leads to redness, blistering, oozing, scaling and thickening.
It usually appears in the first few months of life and affects around 10 per cent of babies.
Eczema’s cause is not fully understood but it is thought to be brought on by the skin’s barrier to the outside world not working properly, which allows irritants and allergy-inducing substances to enter.
It may be genetic due to the condition often running in families.
As well as their skin being affected, sufferers may experience insomnia and irritability.
Many factors can make eczema worse. These may include:
- Heat, dust, soap and detergents
- Being unwell, such as having a cold
- Dry skin
There is no cure for eczema, however, 70 per cent of childhood sufferers no longer have the condition in their teens.
Patients should avoid known triggers for flare ups and use emollients.
Source: British Skin Foundation
Skincare preservative may make eczema worse
Results further suggest that certain parabens, which are common preservatives in skincare products, may block the growth of R.mucosa and could therefore worsen eczema symptoms.
R. mucosa from eczema sufferers’ skin also produces irritants, whereas the bacteria taken from healthy people enhances skin health.
Larger studies are due to be conducted to assess the effectiveness of R. mucosa-based treatments and to better understand the role of this bacteria in eczema.
The findings were published in the journal JCI Insight.
How the research was carried out
The researchers sprayed a sugar-water solution containing increasing doses of R. mucosa on the inner elbows and one additional area of skin of 10 adults with eczema.
R. mucosa was taken from healthy individuals and grown in the lab.
The study’s participants were told to continue taking their normal eczema medications.
The researchers also tested the same treatment on five children aged nine-to-14 with eczema.
The solution was applied to all affected areas of their skin twice a week for 12 weeks and then every other day for four weeks.