It is now known that the root cause of eczema is a skin barrier defect, rather than a problem with the immune system - click here to read research.
Tens of millions of people, including almost half of all children with severe eczema, have a fault in the gene which controls the production of filaggrin, a protein found in the outermost protective layers of the skin. The result of this genetic defect - the first found to be involved in eczema and related conditions - is 'leaky' skin, which allows foreign material to enter the body and trigger inflammation.
In order to speed the discovery of drugs that will be most effective in combating this condition, the UK Medical Research Council has recently awarded a grant of £1.3 million to three professors at the universities of Dundee and St Andrews.
The grant will help these experts look for new drugs to boost skin barrier function and it is expected that drug screening will start early in 2007.
Click here for more research on the management of eczema
or links to skin and personal care products click here.