Eczema and psoriasis are common non-contagious skin disorders. Eczema, medically called “atopic dermatitis” is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder that affects more than 35 million people in the United States. This skin disorder often times occurs in people who suffer from asthma and hay fever. Symptoms of eczema are skin swelling, itching, inflammation, and eventually scaling and cracking. The prevalence of eczema is mostly found in children less than 18 years old who make up 80% of reported incidences. People who suffer with eczema commonly experience periods when the skin disorder is worse called exacerbations or flares, followed by periods when the skin improves or clears up entirely, called remissions. Most of the children who have eczema will realize a temporary remission from the disorder generally when they reach age of 18 to 21 years, although their skin often remains dry and easily irritated.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder marked by periodic flare-ups of sharply defined red patches covered by a crusty, flaky surface. It is estimated that there are 9 million people in the U.S. that suffer with psoriasis. It is generally believed that psoriasis is a disorder in which factors in the immune system, enzymes, and other biochemical substances that regulate skin-cell division become impaired resulting in rapid keratinocyte (immature skin cell) proliferation and inflammation. It is believed that such abnormalities in skin growth are likely due to one or more genetic defects and that environmental triggers such as weather or stress play a factor in the onset of the disorder.
The current consensus in the scientific community is that exacerbated immune response episodes play an important role in skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. During normal immune response against infection the human body significantly increases the level of lymphocytes and cytokine cells used to eliminate microorganism and toxins. Lymphocytes and cytokine cells release enzymes and proteases as well as recruit phagocyte cells that release a delicate balance of hydrogen peroxide, hydroxide ion radical, and super-oxygen anion radical as bio-physiological weapons to eliminate infections, allergens, and toxins. When infections have been subdued lymphocyte and cytokine production return to normal levels. Yet, when some people are challenged with microorganisms (e.g., bacteria), fungi, yeast, and allergens (chemicals, pollen) their immune response is highly exacerbated, a dysfunctional physiological event that leads to severe inflammation, itching, dryness, and damaged skin. It is currently accepted that inherited genetic factors are the major causes for this dysfunction in the immune response mechanism. However, this dysfunction in immune response may very well be traced back to a malfunction in the signal expression from released prostaglandins during the onset of the inflammation process.
Why Current Treatments Approaches Fall Short
Itching and dry cracking skin are not the causes of eczema or psoriasis but are merely symptoms of more complex underlying physiological events. Exacerbated immune episodes probably are the results of one or more prostaglandin signal malfunctions that occur when eczema suffers are challenged with microbiological, toxins, and allergen intrusions into the human body. Prostaglandin releases are controlled by the body’s production of cytokines, which are released by circulating leukocytes during infectious events. Prostaglandins are responsible for the production of special organic acids, which regulate the inflammation process during the human immune response mechanism. Prostaglandins are also involved in the recruitment of phagocyte cells that help assist in the elimination of bacteria and other foreign substances. However, during infectious events some individuals will exhibit exacerbated immune responses, which probably can be linked to prostaglandin malfunctions during the immune response.
This prostaglandin malfunction ultimately leads to chronic inflammation, itching, and skin damage. Further damage to skin tissue is the result of a continuing build up of neutrophils (phagocytes) at the site of infection or intrusion, which continue to release high concentration levels of proteases and oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radical anion, and super-oxygen radical anion that kill not only bacteria, yeast, or fungus but results in severely damaged dry skin. The end result of these exacerbated immune responses is damage to surrounding skin tissue and eventual scarring. Thus, only using so-called natural oils, pharmaceutical moisturizers, or synthetic cortisones to relive the type of itching and cracking skin observed in eczema and psoriasis suffers can only have a mediocre and temporary effect.
Natural Scientific Solution
Natural scientific solutions should be researched and developed that will help minimizing exacerbated immune responses in individuals battling with eczema and psoriasis. Such product solutions should exhibit very little to no human toxicity, have no adverse skin reactivity (statistically no different than control populations), and the long-term use should not result in deleterious human side effects. New emerging scientific research is showing that extracts from various plant, fruit, and flowers may prove to be useful in the search for safe and effective alternatives to the use of steroids and dangerous skin creams.