Jessica Simonis, Practitioner Integrative Dermatology (BHScNutMed, AdDip WHM)
Chances are you are familiar with the term ‘antibiotic resistance’ but what about topical steroid resistance? Yes, it is a thing, and here is what you need to know…
Topical steroids have been the basis of eczema treatment for over 50 years and can provide fast acting anti-inflammatory benefits. Whilst short term use can be beneficial, long term use can be associated with various side effects, including a gradual reduction in effectiveness over time (aka topical steroid resistance).
One of the explanations for this resistance is related to the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, a common bacteria which can become pathogenic in up to 90% of eczema cases. Research has found S. aureus produces toxins (AKA Superantigens) which can be found in the lesions of eczema skin. These toxins are responsible for the release of significant amounts of inflammatory cytokines which correlate with the severity of eczema, including symptoms of itch as well as a resistance to the anti-inflammatory effects of topical steroids. Studies have shown that a combination of anti-inflammatory treatments with antibiotic therapy works better than just the anti-inflammatory on its own, suggesting that the Staphylococci bacteria and their toxins may play a role in suppressing the benefits of topical steroid treatments. aren’t working,
So if antibiotics and steroids stop working, what’s left?
The answer lies in nature of course! New research has found that herbal bioactive ingredients, including thymol and farnesol, have demonstrated a direct action on S. aureus bacteria and superantigens, including antibiotic resistant strains. These ingredients are found in extracts of herbs such as thyme and the peel of citrus fruits. Topical application of these ingredients has shown great benefit in the treatment of chronic eczema presentations. Read more here
The Psoriasis Eczema Clinic specializes in the treatment of chronic skin conditions resistant to conventional therapies. Our topical treatments contain a unique combination of herbal bioactive ingredients, shown to be effective in the treatment of superantigen associated skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. For more information on PEC Founder, Professor Tirant’s research into Superantigens and Skin conditions, see here