Eczema affects one in five school children in Singapore. Dermatologists and skin care experts reveal simple ways to ease the itch effectively
Eczema isn’t caused by one single thing. “It’s a multifactorial disease caused by interactions between your genes and the environment, as well as your body’s immune system,” says dermatologist Dr Rachael Teo.
In Singapore, at least one in five schoolgoing children suffer from atopic dermatitis (AD), which is the most common form of eczema. It typically shows up in infancy or early childhood, and a child has a greater risk of developing AD if they have a parent or sibling with the condition.
Dr Elisa Villa, a specialist in allergy and clinical immunology at Maggiore della Carita University Hospital in Novara, Italy, also shares: “Research show that 20 to 30 per cent of people with eczema lack a protein called filaggrin, which maintains epidermal stability and helps skin retain water. Filaggrin deficiency is caused by a genetic mutation.”
A Silver Lining For Eczema Sufferers
And while there’s no cure for eczema just yet, local biotech company Aslan Pharmaceuticals is working on a new drug that may offer “complete relief” for eczema sufferers.
Unlike current remedies in the market like steroid creams (which can be a hassle to apply) and immunosuppressants (that work to treat eczema but may put patients at risk of other infections), this new drug, known as Aslan004, works to target the specific pathway in the body that triggers eczema symptoms like redness and itchiness. According to this Straits Times report, preliminary test results showed that the injectable drug “could take effects within an hour following injection”.
Clinical trials on human beings are currently underway, and if the outcome is successful, it could significantly improve the quality of life of eczema sufferers.
As we wait for results from the clinical trial (which would only be out in 2020), if your little one is suffering from eczema, follow these eight doctor-approved ways to help stop the scratching:
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Text: Delle Chan/Simply Her, Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew & Sylvia Ong