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Hand ‘eczema’ not necessarily linked to eczema

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It is commonly assumed that hand eczema is linked to general atopic eczema, but a new study has found that hand eczema can exist independently from atopic eczema.

The new study, published in the January edition of the British Journal of Dermatology, has found that contrary to common the common assumption that hand eczema is linked to general atopic eczema, some hand eczema exists with no link to atopic eczema but with a link to filaggrin mutations in the skin.

Filaggrin is a protein that binds keratin fibres to epidermal cells and helps maintain a healthy skin barrier. Mutations in levels of Filaggrin production can be linked to hand eczema, without the presence atopic eczema.

[quote]What is commonly labelled as ‘hand eczema’ is characterised by splits, itching, redness and lesions on the hands caused by very dry skin. However the new study has found that deficiencies in Filaggrin can cause similar symptoms as hand eczema, while also making the hands hyper sensitive to allergens.[/quote]

Skin Magazine comments;

Skin that is Filaggrin deficient has a lower tolerance to allergens than normal skin and the hands are an area of the body which are more commonly exposed to external irritants than other sites on the body, which may explain, taking the new study findings into account,  why people with a filaggrin deficiency may find symptoms of their deficiency most commonly on their hands.

It’s more common with hand ‘eczema’ than any other type of eczema, that steroids are ineffective. The new study, plus other studies on filaggrin deficiencies, might explain why this is the case. Logically if hand dryness and cracking is caused by filaggrin deficiency and not eczema then it’s more likely that steroids typically used for atopic eczema will not be effective.

For non-eczema related hand dryness and cracking products for reducing skin sensitivity and products to reduce itching and dryness would be more helpful than steroids. So if steroids are not improving hand dryness and cracking, try products that reduce itchiness and sensitivity and increase moisture in the skin. Skin Shop’s chemical- free Defensil Rescue Serum  helps reduce skin itchiness and restores moisture to very dry skin.

Also bare in mind that hands that are filaggrin deficient are much more sensitive to allergens and chemicals than normal skin, so avoid hand creams and hand washes/soaps with chemicals or perfumes in, protect hands from all cleaning products using non-latex rubber gloves, avoid repeated or excessive washing of hands, be careful with nail varnishes and varnish removers on hands and keep hands regularly moisturised. Skin Shop’s KALME Undercoat helps reduce skin sensitivity (by as much as 70%) and creates an armour for sensitive skin against external irritants.

To read more on the original British Journal of Dermatology study visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10679.x/full

 

 

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