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Dry Skin Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites have long been known to cause and exacerbate eczema. Until recently, this was assumed to be the result of an allergy. However, a new study suggests that the skin conditions associated with dust mites are more than allergic reactions - exposure to these microscopic insects actually causes a breakdown of the protective function of the outer layer of the skin. Solving this problem can be difficult - you can reduce dust mites, but you can't eliminate them.

Your best solution is two-pronged approach - reduce the mites as best you can, and use a shielding lotion that has been proven as an effective eczema treatment.

Dust mites are microscopic or sometimes barely visible creatures that live in house dust. They are in the obvious places where dust builds up, like behind the couch or refrigerator, but also hide in just about anything that is stuffed or made of thick fabric - carpets, furniture, pillows, mattresses, stuffed animals and blankets.

Lancet published a study years ago that made doctors aware that dust mites were associated with eczema. However, the new study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, narrowed things down further.

According to the new study, mice exposed to the mite enzyme experienced transepidermal water loss, indicating that the protective layer of the skin had been disrupted. According to Toshiro Takai, one of the authors of the study, this finding explains why dust mites cause dry skin and eczema. The study also noted an increased level of riboflavin, which indicates that the skin is more accessible to allergens and irritants in general. So, skin that has been damaged by exposure to dust mites is also more susceptible to other irritants and allergens such as mold, pet dander and chemicals.

How do you solve the problem? Keeping your home as dust-free as possible and encasing mattresses, box springs and pillows in hypo-allergenic covers will help, but a shielding lotion is also vital.

A good shielding lotion bonds with the outer layer of the skin to form a protective layer that locks in the skin's natural moisture and keeps out irritants and allergens. Thousands of doctors now recommend a shielding lotion for dry skin and eczema treatment and, as it's impossible to live in a completely irritant-free environment, it must be included in any eczema treatment program.

Author, Gloria MacTaggart, is a freelance writer who contributes articles on skin care for 21st Century Formulations. For more information, visit