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Bee venom may be effective in treating common skin condition eczema, study finds

Eczema is a chronic condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Oscity

BEE VENOM MAY be effective in treating atopic eczema, a new study has found. 

Eczema is a chronic condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked, according to the HSE. 

Atopic eczema is a very common, non-contagious, chronic inflammatory skin condition. 

The skin barrier function of people who have atopic eczema is impaired or weakened, making the sky dry out and become more vulnerable to infections by bacteria or viruses, according to the Irish Skin Foundation. 

This type of eczema is commonly found behind the knees, on the front of the elbows, on the side of the neck and around the eyes and ears. 

Studies conducted in mice and in human cells have now found that bee venom and melittin, one of its major components, suppresses the inflammation of the skin by targeting immune cells.

“This study demonstrated that bee venom and melittin have immunomodulatory activity, and such activity was associated with the regulation of T helper cell differentiation, thereby ameliorating the inflammatory skin diseases caused by atopic dermatitis,” the authors have said. 

The HSE estimates that about one in five children have eczema, with many developing it before their first birthday. 

In about 53% of cases, atopic eczema clears up by the time a child reaches 11 years old. In 65% of cases, it clears up by 16 years of age. 

“The number of people diagnosed with atopic eczema has increased in recent years. This could be due to changes in lifestyle or environmental factors that cause eczema, or because healthcare professionals are now more aware of the symptoms,” the HSE says. 

HSE guidance on how to treat eczema can be found here

The study has been published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

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