Despite their tiny size, bacteria play an important role in eczema and in the overall health of the skin. Beyond the frequent skin infections associated with severe eczema, there is the even more important idea that colonizing bacteria residing on the skin may also directly drive inflammation. Studies have found that in eczema skin, the balance of bacteria on the skin is highly abnormal, with a predominance of “bad” bacteria such as staphylococcus (staph).
With more research, evidence shows us that the microbiome plays a major role in our health, immunity, and corresponding susceptibility to disease. Although we tend to associate gut microbes with healthy digestion and vitamin synthesis, these bacteria play an important role in immune health as well. Not to mention, we are learning more that our gut microbes also influence our skin health – our first line of defense against pathogens and infection.
Traditional treatments for eczema use bleach baths and antibiotics, which not only kill bad bacteria but also kill the beneficial microbes that we’re now learning can actually help our skin. So, in the case of diseases with an imbalance in microorganisms particularly atopic dermatitis (eczema), topical probiotics present an effective alternative to strictly antibacterial products or treatments.