The Heartbreak of Eczema: Infections

You can watch the clip in YouTube here: The Heart Break of Eczema: Infections

One of the issues that patients with Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) face is that of infections. The infected eczematous skin looks inflamed and weeps liquid. It can be itchy and painful at the same time. The point I want to bring to attention is that moisturizers do not work on infected eczematous skin. You have to get it evaluated and treated with a doctor.

Why is eczema skin prone to infections?


The eczema skin is under the influence of what we call Th2 allergic pathway in which lots of IL-4 and IL-13 chemicals are being produced by the immune cells. And these chemicals suppress the skins production of antimicrobial peptides. What is that? I would liken it to your skin’s natural antibiotic that helps protect it from infections.

This lack of natural antibiotic production is what causes the skin to be easily infected.

Even Normal Appearing Skin is not Normal


If you look through the microscope at the normal appearing eczema skin and compare it to healthy skin, you will see that even normal appearing eczematous skin is loaded by this bacteria called Staph Aureus which appears like tiny pink dots in the figure shown above. So what I am trying to say is that the eczema skin is like a timebomb ready to explode with infections at any time.

I want to stress to parents and caretakers that the reason why eczema skin gets so easily infected is not because of hygiene issues. So do not blame yourselves.


Information you can use:

-Use topical anti-inflammatory medications to treat inflammation 

I cannot stress this enough to my patients! The reason why the skin is prone to infections is because of underlying allergic inflammation. It is the underlying allergic inflammation that is causing the skin to not produce its own antibiotics. So by treating the inflammation, you restore the normal function of the skin to produce its natural antibiotics which will lead to reduced infections!

There has been a lot of fear of using topical anti-inflammatory medications such as topical steroids and topical non-steroidal medications to treat eczema. The common fear is that these medications will suppress the immune system and lead to infections. I am now giving you the medical evidence to help remove the fear. These topical medications are safe and effective when used under supervision by a doctor. Unfortunately this message needs to be seen by more eczema sufferers and perhaps dear reader, you can direct them to this post.

-Know that infections can happen, do not delay treatment!

Sometimes, no matter what you do, the eczematous skin will get infected. When you suspect skin infection, do not delay and seek medical attention. This will prevent worsening of the flare and reduce suffering.

-Focus on maintaining the skin barrier

Use of proper moisturizers can help maintain skin barrier. You want to pick a moisturizer that is fragrance free and suitable for eczema skin. One of moisturizers that I tend to recommend eczema sufferers to use is NatureDr8, it is a natural preservative free oil based moisturizer. It has many benefits for skin and a unique Prebiotic Lipidic Complex that can help maintain good skin bacteria to compete against bacteria that causes skin infection.

Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) is associated with Allergy

The term atopic actually means allergy! Atopic Dermatitis is the first sign of allergy, leading to other allergic diseases such as food allergy, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Click here to learn about: Addressing the Allergic March. If you have eczema, seeing an Allergist/Immunologist can help. We at the Allergy Immunology Clinic will do our best to help you get better.



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