Eczema and the Immune System | Daily Easy Tips to Soothe Eczema
Eczema and the Immune System, Daily Easy Tips to Soothe Eczema
You might remember that annoying itch after a mosquito bite. It’s uncomfortable, and you feel like scratching the itch. It is the same level of discomfort felt by people suffering from Eczema, but all the time. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis (AD), is an inflammatory, chronic relapsing, non-infectious, highly itchy skin disease. The uncontrollable itching and the desire to scratch often cause skin breakage, bleeding, and even the discharge of tissue fluid. After sweating in summer, Eczema becomes more serious, and the condition repeats. Patients with severe Eczema also face difficulty concentrating on their regular tasks, affecting their studies or work in their daily life, causing insomnia and substantial emotional distress.
In this article, we discuss the immune system and the effects of fucoidan on Eczema. In addition to exploring whether having Eczema means you have a weak or oversensitive immune system; we also cover some tips to relieve eczema symptoms.
The relationship between Eczema and immunity
According to the National Eczema Association (NEA), researchers have not yet found a main cause of Eczema. However, many experts believe that genes, environmental factors, and immunity all play a role that could trigger Eczema.
Having Eczema does not mean that our immune system is weak. In reality, our immune system is sensitive and often overreacts to irritants that are not actually threatening to our bodies. The immune system produces an inflammatory response when triggered by substances inside or outside the body. This inflammatory response causes itching and pain common to several types of Eczema. In addition, work stress and eating habits may lead to immune dysfunction, which can easily cause skin inflammation and Eczema.
Natural Killer Cells
Researchers have been exploring Eczema treatment by boosting Natural killer cells (a type of immune cell also known as NK cells), which is also a potential treatment for cancer. These cells play a unique role in attacking cells that the immune system recognizes as foreign, including some tumor cells. In the new study, researchers were surprised to find that natural killer cells also effectively treated Eczema in mice.
The studies also revealed that patients with Eczema consistently had very low numbers of NK cells in their circulation. So, the researchers designed a mouse experiment. They used a mouse model with Eczema and disrupted the ability of the mice to produce NK cells. This led to a worsening of the condition and an increase in the levels of various markers of inflammation. They concluded that the deficiency of NK cells in mouse skin led to an increase in Type 2 inflammation of skin tissues. This was due to the lack of an essential immunoregulatory step performed by NK cells.
Later, they treated the mice with a new drug, an interleukin-15 (IL-15) superagonist that is still in experimental stages and has been under development to treat cancer. It works by increasing the number of NK cells. Furthermore, as the inflammation subsided, treatment with an IL-15 superagonist resulted in a significant improvement in symptoms, relieving eczema lesions, and restoring the patient’s immune function against viral infections. In the current mouse study, the skin of the treated mice showed significant regression of skin damage compared to any other therapy tried so far. What delights the researchers is that this may also reflect human responses to the therapy. Thus, giving hope that it could be used as an eczema treatment in the future.
Does Fucoidan Help Relieve Eczema?
According to research, "Immune regulation and mechanism of Fucoidan from Mozuku improves symptoms of atopic dermatitis." Fucoidan extracted from Mozuku has excellent immunomodulatory effects and significantly improves atopic dermatitis in vitro and in vivo Atopic dermatitis (AD).
Researchers started by performing a degranulation assay on P815 cells (mast cells). The results showed that Mozuku Fucoidan has anti-degranulation activity, indicating that Mozuku Fucoidan is very effective in relieving allergic reactions in AD.
AD was significantly improved in an animal model examination later, indicating that Mozuku Fucoidan can modulate animals' partial and overall immune responses. The reduced epidermal hyperplasia, eosinophilic infiltration, and AD-related cytokines expression demonstrate the improvement. Notably, Mozuku Fucoidan reduced epidermal hyperplasia by downregulating the expression of IL-22, showing a therapeutic effect. The effect is comparable to corticosteroids, but without the side effects. Mozuku Fucoidan has various immune-modulating abilities and is currently used as a healthy dietary supplement, especially for atopic dermatitis.
1. Food and diet: Avoid food additives, stimulating foods (such as caffeine and spices), foods containing allergens, and foods high in oil and sugar. Eat more fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy immune system.
2. Watch out for sweat: Sweat is irritating because it is made of water and other substances that may trigger eczema flare-ups. We sweat easily in the summer, so bring some tissue along to pat yourself dry from time to time. If you sweat heavily, consider bringing a spare set of clothes to change into and keep your skin dry. Rinse and dry your body when you get home and apply moisturizing cream to avoid eczema flare-ups.
3. Shower precautions: Use the right water temperature for a shower. Some people prefer hot showers—though it may feel comfortable, it can worsen your symptoms. In addition to this, you can also use mild or hypoallergenic bar soap or body wash, and gently pat yourself dry with a towel after a shower. Avoid rubbing your body too hard, as it might cause skin irritation. Finally, apply a mildly prescribed lotion after the shower. This will help enhance your skin's keratinocytes to protect the skin from external irritants.
4. Get enough sleep: Various studies have shown that quality sleep plays a role in restoring immune system function. Your immune system is closely related to immune response, which affects collagen production and might lead to the impaired barrier function of the skin and mucous membranes.
5. Cold compress to relieve itching: Eczema can be so itchy that you’ll feel the urge to keep scratching your skin. This promotes the secretion of an itching substance called histamine, a chemical in the body that is involved in the immune response. It causes the itching and redness you see in insect bites, rashes, and dry or damaged skin. Your body releases histamine during allergic reactions, like reactions to pollen, food, latex, and medications. So, the more you scratch, the more the itch spreads. Excessive scratching can damage your skin's protective barrier and expose your body to bacteria and infection. Wrap an ice pack with a cold towel to cool down to get rid of itching. This helps relieve nerve excitation and constrict capillaries, thereby controlling itching and inflammation. However, do not apply the ice pack to your skin for more than 10 minutes at a time. Additionally, applying ice packs directly onto your skin is not recommended, because it may cause frostbite. You can also keep your nails short to avoid breaking your skin when scratching.
The triggers and symptoms of Eczema differ for everyone, so it's best to consult your doctor for the best treatment options. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Eczema, but we can still manage it effectively. Eating a healthy diet, managing stress, and exercising daily will help keep your skin and body healthy and prevent eczema flare-ups.