Ceramides in Skincare for Eczema
If you have eczema, then you know the difficulties of managing flare ups and subsequent inflammations. One of the most difficult things to manage with eczema is the dreaded itch-scratch cycle. While a quick scratch dissipates an itch, the body’s reaction to external factors that cause them (like an eczema flare up) is to release inflammatory mediators that can cause an itch to increase even more, causing you to want to scratch more. Eczema can feel like a never ending battle with your skin. So to try help you manage this chronic skin condition, we talked to Assoc. Prof. Stephen Shumack OAM about what eczema is, and the foundations of ceramides as a moisturising ingredient why it might be a skincare ingredient to add to your management routine.
Why ceramides is an important ingredient in skin care for eczema
Assoc. Prof. Stephen Shumack explains: “The defect in eczema is basically the defect in the Filaggrin protein in the body, and the Filaggrin protein is basically a barrier between the outside and inside, and about two-third of the population have this defect.”
Filaggrin is important for binding keratin fibers within the skin cell barriers. With a deficiency of this protein, one’s epidermis is exposed to allergens and it becomes sensitive or reactive to various factors. This includes food, weather, product usage. As a result, Filaggrin forms a structural skeleton within the cell and is important to our body’s immune defence mechanism of the skin>.1
“Particularly, moisturisers with fatty acids or other lipid containing products, such as ceramides, are quite good, because they will help to establish the barrier function of the skin to protect against bacteria and environmental pollutants, and this is one of the reasons why Ego is constantly looking at these special types of moisturisers.” remarked Assoc. Prof. Stephen Shumack.
Finding moisturisers with the right ingredients will help to hold the skin cells together. This forms a protective layer that hydrates and replenishes the skin. This is the key to managing eczema when it becomes difficult with the changing environment.
Unfortunately, filaggrin deficiency cannot be cured.
However, it is important to combat eczema by to ensuring that the skin is well moisturised. The type of moisturiser also has to offer enough hydration and protection without having additives that may harm the skin. With the choice of a well formulated moisturiser and moisturising regularly, it is possible to control eczema at its worst so that it doesn’t get in the way of day to day life.
1. Lewis-Jones S. Dry skin and atopic eczema: an update on the filaggrin story… what does it mean to you?[internet]. Eczema Australasia Association [cited 22 March 2018]; Available from: https://www.eczema.org.au/dry-skin-and-the-filaggrin-gene/
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