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Le curcuma peut-il aider à lutter contre l'eczéma ?

Can turmeric help in the fight against eczema?

Turmeric has been used for centuries by traditional Chinese and Indian medicines for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Today, turmeric powder is included in various skincare products under its INCI name "Curcuma Longa Rhizome Powder". Known for its action on acne, is this ingredient also recommended for eczema?

Summary
Published February 19, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read
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Eczema: What should we know about this skin disease?

Theeczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It primarily affects children and infants, but can also manifest during adolescence or adulthood. Eczema results from a unique interaction between genetics and environment, and appears upon exposure to allergens (dust mites, animal hair, pollens...). It can affect different areas of the body. Red patches may then appear on the face, back, neck, hands, feet, and flexion folds.

According to several studies, 50 to 70% of children affected by eczema have a first-degree relative (father, mother, brother, or sister) who has also been affected. Those suffering from it secrete large amounts of immunoglobulin E, antibodies, in response to environmental antigens (also called allergens). Moreover, these individuals often exhibitabnormalities affecting the gene coding for filaggrin,as well as other molecules necessary for the proper functioning of the stratum corneum. This atopy is caused by a dysfunction of the skin barrier, due to a lack of sebum, lipids, and cell adhesion molecules production, which can no longer play its protective role. Environmental allergens therefore easily penetrate the epidermis and cause a misdirected inflammatory response.

Does turmeric have an effect on eczema?

Recognizable by its yellow color, the turmeric is a spice produced from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa, a herbaceous plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. Used in the culinary field, it also integrates several skin care treatments and contributes to reducing the symptoms of certain skin diseases such as eczema.

  • Turmeric alleviates redness and itching.

    The curcumin found in turmeric powder has a anti-inflammatory activity. Indeed, it is capable of inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, inflammatory molecules, which helps to reduce pain sensitivity. Moreover, this molecule prevents the synthesis of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukins 1α and 6 (IL-1α and IL-6) as well as the tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). These various actions of curcumin thus help to limit the redness and itching characteristic of atopic dermatitis.

  • Turmeric combats microbial proliferation.

    Studies have shown that in some cases, eczema is linked to an infection by dermatophytes, fungi that feed on keratin. However, turmerone, a compound found in turmeric, has a antimicrobial activity against certain dermatophyte pathogens, such as Fusarium miniformes, Plasmodium falciparum and Microsporum canis. It thus helps to limit the multiplication of fungi that contribute to intensifying eczema.

  • Turmeric reduces oxidative stress.

    The curcumin contained in turmeric powder has antioxidant properties that enable it to protect the skin from the attack of free radicals. These are notably responsible for peroxidative damage to cell membranes and the disruption of the hydrolipidic film, which is already lacking in atopic skin. Moreover, oxidative stress is at the origin of an upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, involved in the pathogenesis of eczema. Through an electron donation, turmeric neutralizes and stabilizes these reactive species.

  • Turmeric promotes skin healing.

    The healing process is crucial in managing atopic dermatitis. Indeed, damaged skin more readily allows bacteria and allergens to penetrate, thereby causing more inflammatory reactions. Turmeric has demonstrated its potential healing in several studies. The curcumin found in its powder notably increases the expression of the growth factor TGF-β1, which allows for a better epithelialization of tissues as well as the promotion of angiogenesis, the process of new blood vessel growth.

Important : turmeric only represents a supplementary solution in the fight against eczema and cannot replace treatments prescribed by a dermatologist.

Sources

  • JAISWAL V. & al. Clinical evaluation of an Indian polyherbal topical formulation in the management of eczema. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2009).

  • SUDHEER A. & al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (2007).

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