Well, guess what folks?! It turns out that eczema may actually have a silver lining!
A reduced risk of cancer!
The whole explanation behind it is that while we are just as susceptible to skin cancer as everybody else, the abnormality in our skin which causes shedding of skin cells (whether it's because of an allergy or dry patches of eczema) means that you may shed the cancerous cells as well.
What they did was this:
Researchers took two batches of mice. One batch was genetically altered to be missing three types of skin barrier proteins. People with eczema are also lacking certain proteins which is what causes our skin to act this way.
So, the researchers took two types of chemicals and gave them to both batches of mice. By the way, it makes me pretty sad to think about what those animals went through for us. But... I must move on and continue the story.
While both batches were susceptible to cancer, the number of benign tumors in each "eczema mouse" was SIX TIMES LOWER than the "normal mice"!
YEAH. Pretty interesting, huh?
So, you're probably wondering who did all this research. It all went down at King's College London. The study was funded by The Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
Professor Fiona Watt, Director of the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine had this to say:
'We are excited by our findings as they establish a clear link between cancer susceptibility and an allergic skin condition in our experimental model. They also support the view that modifying the body's immune system is an important strategy in treating cancer.
'I hope our study provides some small consolation to eczema sufferers -- that this uncomfortable skin condition may actually be beneficial in some circumstances.'