What is Microbiome: Role in Eczema and its Treatment

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Want to know what is microbiome? We all know that our body is made up of innumerable cells. Scientists mention that an average human body approximately consists of 37.2 trillion cells, a few more or less depending upon the factors like size, weight, age, etc of an individual i.e. 37200000000000 that’s too many zeros, isn’t it?

But there is something more in numbers in the human body than the number of cells. It is the Microorganisms, yes you read it right – the human body also consists of innumerable microorganisms and the number is estimated to be three to ten times the human cells in an average human body.

What is the Human Microbiome?

One may always think of what is the human microbiome. Microscopic living things such as bacteria, fungi, viruses are called Micro-organisms and conveniently called Microbes. The genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses – that live on and inside the human body is collectively termed as Microbiome.

Though there are different types of Microbes that reside in and on the human body, the most studied are bacteria which are huge in number, hence its nothing wrong in saying that we more bacteria than a human.

What role does Microbiome have in the human body?

Have you ever come across questions such as What is the human microbiome? and what are their roles in the human body? Let’s check out below:

Microbes are present in every part of the body, on the skin, up the nose, but a chunk of them resides in the gut inside the large intestine. Microbiome plays a vital role in the development of immunity and nutrition. The bacteria in the microbiome help in digestion, regulate the immune system, produce vitamins, and protect against other bacteria that cause disease. New research says that gut microbiome may also affect the central nervous system, which controls brain function.

Similarly, microbes residing on the skin also play a critical role in skin health. Any alterations in the composition and function of these microbes lead to changes in immunity causing skin diseases, such as Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis as it is commonly known.

Skin Microbiome and Eczema

Eczema is a skin condition marked by red, itchy, inflamed skin. There is no direct known cause for eczema except that it is caused by the combination of genetic and environmental factors. But recently researchers linked the onset of eczema flares to the activity of microorganisms. Various environmental factors, such as stress, diet, and pollutants, affect microbial composition in the skin.

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Skin microbiomes influence the skin barrier by controlling ecological factors, such as humidity, temperature, pH, and lipid content. These changes can exacerbate skin barrier impairment and are associated with abnormalities in the functions of skin barrier-associated genes. Earlier studies have found that the Microbe Staphylococcus aureus creates susceptibility to develop Atopic Dermatitis and is directly linked to Eczema Flares.

The Experiment

In an Experiment by Dr. Kong [1] and his team, the researchers sampled the skin of pediatric eczema patients, before a flare, during the flare, & after a flare and analyzed the bacteria, using advanced gene sequencing techniques. As a result, they could see more S. aureus during flares compared to samples taken before and after and from healthy controls. This clearly proves the association of S. aureus with eczema flares exacerbating the eczema symptoms.

Microbiome and Eczema

Moreover, it was also found that the presence of S. aureus results in skin barrier dysfunction further delaying the healing process in Eczema.

For further clarification on the role of S. aureus in the development of Atopic Dermatitis, the researchers collected samples from human skin and administered colonies of the bacteria to the mouse. The skin on the mice became inflamed and thick. They found that S. aureus made use of a process called “quorum sensing” as a means of communication between S. aureus individuals.

The bacteria use it to know when to release toxins and enzymes that break down the skin barrier, allowing the bacteria access to interior parts of the skin, which causes flareups.

Good Bacteria Vs Bad Bacteria

While the problem is caused by one microbe the solution was also found in other microbes. While screening the S. aureus killing strains, a couple of bacteria that dwell on the skin was found they were Staphylococcus epidermis and Staphylococcus hominis.

These bacteria living on the skin and fight off the toxins using proteins called antimicrobial peptides that interfere with quorum sensing. When the researchers cultured some of the “good” bacteria and applied it to the skin of mice with eczema, it prevented flareups.

Good bacteria vs Bad Bacteria

Similarly, in another research by Ian A Myles [2], another gram-negative bacteria called Roseomonas mucosa was found to be improving the skin barrier function, immune balance, and property of killing S aureus which when sprayed on mice prevented it from developing Eczema.

Using Microbes for Treating Eczema Patients

A topical lotion with S. epidermis and S. hominis strains to test their effects on atopic dermatitis patients was created by Dr. Gallo’s and team. Application of this lotion on volunteers suffering from eczema gave results in 24 hrs vanishing S. aureus. The same Lotion without these microbes remained ineffective on the patients.

For testing the therapeutic effect of R mucosa in humans with AD live strains of R mucosa isolates were sprayed on eczema of each participant twice weekly for 6 weeks in adults. There was a significant decrease in a rash, itch and the need for topical steroids.

It was also found that while the helpful S. epidermis and S. hominis strains are abundant on the skin of healthy people, they are rare on the skin of atopic dermatitis patients. This suggests that they provide the first line of defense against the pathogen causing the skin barrier dysfunction leading to the onset of Eczema. The Exact reason why some human body fails to develop these good bacteria is still unclear and requires further research.


As there are numerous treatment options and precautionary measures available for treating eczema, the different method works for different individuals. The treatment also depends on managing triggers and care routine. The theory of treating eczema with microbes is an interesting development in treating eczema. This method will be effective as it directly acts on the actual cause of the flare-up i.e. killing the S. aureus bacteria. These studies and experiments will aid in developing effective treatments consisting of Microbiome. Methods and solutions to improve the healthy skin Microbiome shall also play a crucial role in preventing and treating Atopic Dermatitis


  • https://www.niams.nih.gov/newsroom/spotlight-on-research/role-microbiota-eczema-findings-suggest-striking-right-balance-keeps [1]
  • https://www.contemporarypediatrics.com/pediatric-dermatology/microbiome-based-therapy-eczema-horizon [2]

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB-8JEo_0bI


Stress Management Techniques to Control Eczema

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Eczema and Stress

Eczema and stress are co-related to each other. Eczema is a chronic skin condition though prevalent amongst the children, it affects people of all ages. Also known as Atopic Dermatitis, it is a multi-faceted skin disease that occurs as a result of one or a combination of various factors such as human genes, weather, environmental factors, etc. Triggers play the role of a culprit in exacerbating the eczema symptoms causing flares.

One of the factors which is not external and nor genes but which aggravates eczema is Stress. Emotional stress, anxiety, low mood, depression, panic, etc can be placed under the roof of stress, which not only affects the person mentally but also physically aggravating Eczema Symptoms.

People suffering from eczema may find that their flare-ups start or worsen with increased levels of stress. Hence people’s condition worsens even if all the triggers are well managed and in control and that is due to Stress. One should not rule out stress or take it lightly while managing eczema. Therefore eczema and stress can make eczema worse.

Eczema due to stress

Eczema due to stress can be found in many people. One of the important reasons for the onset of eczema is skin barrier dysfunction. Stress further worsens the immunity, affecting the skin barrier in people who are already suffering from Eczema. When an individual is tensed the body tries to protect the skin by boosting inflammation there and this boost worsens the condition in Eczema patients.

This happens because people with Eczema has increased response to stress as they have for other factors. This increased response results in the release of a high amount of cortisol “a stress hormone” which is known for its fight-flight response.

While it’s a response from the body to help us face the stressful situation, too much cortisol, suppresses the immune system and causes an inflammatory response in the skin. And as known, people suffering eczema are particularly susceptible to this inflammatory response.

Eczema due to Stress


As stress hampers the skin barrier function it leads to more moisture loss and increased susceptibility to eczema infections. It further reduces the natural defense of skin to keep a check on germs and its ability to retain moisture.

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Major causes of Stress

Before heading for the solution let’s check out the common and major reason for stress in human life

what causes stress


Major causes of stress in adults

  • Work pressures or job loss: Too much of work pressure in completing tasks and completing tasks in the office. The fear of job loss is one of the common causes of stress in adults those who are employed and unemployment itself is a depressing situation.
  • Bereavement: Loss of a loved one makes people enter depression
  • Relationship challenges: The ups and downs in various types of relationships.
  • Money worries: Financial insecurity creates fear and stressful condition especially for a family.

Major causes of stress in children

  • Social pressures e.g. bullying: Feeling of inferiority complex and the constant fear of getting bullied leads to panic and stress
  • Studying for exams: Important cause of stress in students
  • Parental divorce: Another Major cause of stress in children are fighting between their parents or divorce.

Stress Eczema Treatment

Stress eczema treatment is essential for people suffering from eczema. Studies have shown that people suffering from eczema, who tried mediation techniques or received psychological therapy along with their routine medical care have significantly larger improvements in their skin condition than those who just received standard medical care or skincare education. With the help of below stress eczema treatment, one can manage eczema effectively.

Some of the techniques include:

How to get rid of Stress in Eczema


There are various techniques and methods of meditation, from deep breathing, yoga, or simply lying or sitting in isolation to relax. Pick the one that suits you and practice it regularly. Different techniques may suit different people, simply spend time just for yourself. Make sure you dedicate time to your schedule and be consistent.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be defined as a state of intentional, non-judgmental focus on the present moment. It has four core elements i.e. Awareness, Focus, Acceptance, and Observation. It is something that you can practice anywhere in-home or in the go while eating etc. just keep in mind the core elements.

For e.g. mindful eating involves eating very slowly and deliberately while paying attention to the sensations of holding the item, smelling, tasting, chewing, and swallowing it.

You can try any mindfulness technique including Mindful eating, Mindful breathing, Body Scan, Mindful Movement, Loving-kindness meditation, etc.

Mindfulness can reduce stress responses and help in strengthening the immune system and lowering the blood pressure level.

Sound sleep

Lack of sleep is an important factor that disturbs the mental health of an individual. Many times a sound sleep is what all you need. A good nights sleep can help in lowering the stress, giving space and time for the mind to relax. If it’s the eczema itch that’s not allowing you to sleep, try popping up antihistamine before bed (take advice from your physician for such a situation). Make your sleeping environment comfortable with regards to bed, room temperature, humidity to aid you in a good night’s sleep.

Eczema Groups

Most people suffering from eczema feel lonely and detached from society. It’s common to feel embarrassing about the condition but it’s also human nature to befriend with similar people. In this case, people suffering from the same condition will not have any barrier between them as both are suffering from it. There are several Eczema Support groups across the globe on the internet, social media where one can be a member, share their problems, give solutions from personal experience. These groups even carry out different programs for the people. Joining such a group can boost confidence in reducing the depression of why it happens to me?

Get Involved in Leisure Activities

It is one of the best ways to keep stress at bay – try some exercise, or involve in a sport which you enjoy (Avoid sweating or take a shower as soon as you reach home. You can also involve in activities which you love or makes you relax like reading a book, watching a play, visiting your loved ones, etc.

Visit physician

If things won’t work as you planned, you always have the option of seeking help from your physician. There also exists psychological therapy, Habit reversal technique (Reversing the habit of scratching) and Psychotherapy (also known as “talk therapy”) which your physician may guide you to go for. The addition of psychological treatment also reduces the number of topical steroids needed.


People with eczema experience the onset of eczema flares which worsen with increased stress. Eczema itself can also lead to more stress as it can be itchy and uncomfortable for patients, which will ultimately result in more inflammation and flareup, leading to a vicious cycle. This is because stress hormone which hampers the skin barrier increases the inflammation to trigger an eczema flare.

Managing stress is an essential part of treating eczema as some of the stress managing techniques not only help in preventing eczema flares but also strengthens the immune system and overall skin health. Stress management along with the routine care treatment has shown a larger response in reducing the eczema symptoms than those without stress management.


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Use our AI tool to check the severity of Eczema and keep track of your Eczema progress.