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Is Inflammation Behind Your Eczema?

You may have heard that inflammation is at the root of many diseases. And maybe that’s made you wonder: “Is inflammation behind my eczema?”

It turns out that inflammation is definitely behind eczema (note that you can check inflammation levels with EverlyWell's Vitamin D and Inflammation Test).

In fact, eczema is the #1 chronic inflammatory skin disease [1].

AdobeStock 164056715 Eczema is the #1 chronic inflammatory skin disease.


But why is it that inflammation can cause eczema – dooming some of your skin to an itchy existence? Read on to discover why inflammation lies behind eczema – and what that can mean for your well-being. (Plus, you’ll discover how EverlyWell’s at-home Vitamin D and Inflammation Test lets you see if you might be at a higher risk of heart disease – like many people with eczema – due to chronic inflammation.)

How Inflammation Can Lead to Eczema

Inflammation happens when your immune system deploys special chemicals and cells to protect your body from threats like germs, toxins, and injuries [2]. Pain, redness, and swelling are a few of the common features of inflammation. They are signs that your immune system is waging a war somewhere in your body. Then, when your immune system has dealt with the threat, the inflammation usually disappears.

However, inflammation doesn’t always dwindle away – but instead sticks around for a long time. This is known as chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can occur if your immune system isn’t able to overcome the threat to your body. It can also occur if your immune system doesn’t work correctly and goes into overdrive by constantly reacting to things (like pollen) that aren’t actually harmful to your body.

katie-burnett-1319062-unsplash Chronic inflammation can occur if your immune system doesn’t work correctly and goes into overdrive by constantly reacting to things (like pollen) that aren’t actually harmful to your body.


In the case of eczema, the immune system is hyper-reactive to particles outside your body – like microbes or the chemicals in a hand soap – that make their way into the skin.

Ordinarily, skin acts as a firm barrier that blocks such particles from getting inside your body. However, this barrier isn’t very effective in individuals with eczema [3], making it easier for microbes and other foreign particles to slip deep inside the skin. In response, the immune system kicks into overdrive, producing chronic inflammation – which results in eczema symptoms.

Inflammation and Eczema: What It Can Mean for Your Well-Being

Heart Disease Risk and Eczema

There’s some evidence that links eczema with an increased risk of heart disease. This makes sense when you consider that chronic inflammation plays a big role in eczema as well as many heart diseases (like coronary artery disease).

One recent study looked at 59 individuals with eczema and found that more than half were at a high risk of heart disease [4] – based on blood levels of something called C-reactive protein (or CRP).

bright-cardiac-cardiology-433267 (1) Chronic inflammation plays a big role in eczema as well as many heart diseases (like coronary artery disease).


CRP is a marker of inflammation. Your liver makes CRP molecules when there’s inflammation in your body. Higher levels of CRP generally mean that you have more inflammation – and potentially face a greater risk of heart disease.

The takeaway?

If you have eczema, there’s a good chance that you have elevated CRP levels, due to constant inflammation. So consider checking your CRP levels – something you can easily do at home – to see if you might be at a higher risk of heart disease.

Eczema and the “Sunshine Vitamin”

People refer to vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin makes it in response to sunlight exposure. Ample amounts of vitamin D are necessary for strong, healthy bones – but vitamin D also helps support both the immune system and skin [5]. Many scientists also think that vitamin D has anti-inflammatory effects [6].

beach-beautiful-dawn-40192 People refer to vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin makes it in response to sunlight exposure.


So could inadequate levels of vitamin D play a part in eczema – given that eczema occurs when the immune system causes inflammation of the skin?

The answer appears to be “yes”: most research in this area reveals a connection between low levels of vitamin D and eczema [7]. And several studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation can reduce the severity of eczema [8].

As such, if you’ve been battling eczema, you may benefit from taking an at-home vitamin D test like this one. This can tell you if you might need vitamin D supplementation because your levels of the “sunshine vitamin” are too low.

Conclusion

Inflammation lies at the heart of eczema. Because of this, you may have higher-than-normal levels of CRP – a marker of inflammation in your body – if you have eczema. High levels of CRP can indicate a greater risk of heart disease, so take an at-home inflammation test to check your CRP levels – and discover more about the inflammation that’s behind your eczema.

Vitamin D & Inflammation Take an at-home inflammation test to check your CRP levels – and discover more about the inflammation that’s behind your eczema.


Also, eczema often comes along with low vitamin D levels – which can harm your bone health and possibly result in more inflammation. For these reasons, consider checking your vitamin D levels with EverlyWell’s at-home Vitamin D and Inflammation Test. (This test measures both your vitamin D levels and your CRP levels – so it’s a great way to get more insight into how eczema may be affecting your body and well-being.)