Eczema is a condition that affects quite a number of people in Malaysia. It is a skin reaction of the outermost layer called the epidermis and it manifests in many ways which will be explored below. There is a wide range of severity of eczema that affects different people which could sometimes lead to a big problem for kids or teenagers while they are growing up, especially psychologically. Before we dive into the possible causes of eczema, we can first get to know eczema a little better.
Eczema is commonly referred to as atopic dermatitis as it is the most common manifestation of it. Atopy is used to describe any increased chance of having allergic diseases such as the famous triad which includes atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and asthma. So generally when a person has any skin, nose, or airway allergies, the doctor would keep a lookout for the other two conditions as well. This condition normally presents as a thick, itchy, raised rash on the flexor surfaces, which are the creases of your elbows and knees. For infants, they are much more common on the face, especially around the eyes and on the cheeks. Scratching the itch or rash is bad as it may cause the vesicles to rupture and may bring about an infection. This condition is caused by any allergens, most commonly any dust, animal fur or diet like dairy products. Upon contact with any allergens, the body reacts by bringing up an immunoglobulin called IgE which protects against any sort of parasitic infection. Other specific forms of eczema would include contact dermatitis, hand eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, lichen simplex chronicus, stasis dermatitis, just to name a few.
Now, for the main reason why this article is written, we all want to know what are the causes of eczema and how do we treat it. If it is really caused by a vitamin deficiency, what is the correct vitamin for eczema sufferers to take? First of all, the most common cause of eczema would be a family history of atopy. The gene involved in the children would be triggered in early life which can cause an increased reaction to an allergen thus making eczema more likely to happen in them. Poorly kept hygiene is also another important factor in the susceptibility to triggering eczema.
The question of the day remains and the short answer is no one knows yet. There have been multiple theories on which vitamin deficiency can cause an eczema flare and the famous ones that had some research done on were vitamin A, D and zinc. The reason there was any relation from vitamin D to eczema is there are researches that showed vitamin D’s function as an immunomodulator. This means that it has to ability to regulate the immune system to deter an excess of IgE. However, no concrete evidence could be drawn from the papers as there was no good randomized controlled trial that showed a significant benefit for eczema sufferers.
The other vitamin would be zinc which is slightly less explored. Zinc is said to have a role in the central immune system and skin integrity. As the same case as vitamin D, there was a lack of concrete evidence when compared to patients who weren’t on any zinc supplements that it helped their eczema condition.
Therefore, the conclusion is it isn’t harmful to be taking the supplements if you are deficient in them but in terms of it actually helping the eczema condition, until more reliable trials are conducted, the current stance remains unknown.