Eczema and Asthma Link


Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a common skin disorder seen mostly in children. It is characterized by a red, scaly, itchy rash that can occur on the face, neck, arms, legs, and sometimes the trunk.

We have known for some time now that eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is also associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). At least 50% of children with severe eczema also develop asthma. Research from the Washington University School of Medicine might shed light on why these diseases go together.

The research, published in the journal PLoS, found that in mice, eczema-damaged skin produced a substance called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). TSLP is a signal to the body that the skin has been damaged. When TSLP circulates through the blood, it elicits a powerful immune response. As such, TSLP is your skin’s way of warning you that its protective barrier has been breached and that backup defenses are needed to keep you protected.

Similar to your skin, your lungs are in direct contact with your environment as well, although we don’t often think of it that way. Like skin, lungs are exposed to the air with all its potential pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. It is not hard to see how an inflammatory disease that affects the skin might also affect the lungs. This is exactly what researchers found — when TSLP from the damaged skin traveled in the bloodstream to the mice’s lungs, it triggered inflammation in the lungs (similar to an asthma attack in humans). The researchers believe that TSLP is the link between eczema and asthma.

Ideally, if a drug was developed that blocked the production of TSLP, this might be a way to prevent people with eczema from developing asthma later in life. It also suggests that minimizing damage to the skin can help limit production of TSLP and improve both eczema and asthma.

Photo: Penreyes (flickr)

10 thoughts on “Eczema and Asthma Link”

  1. I am so hopeful that our little boy will not develop Asthma as he suffered from Eczema and allergies for the first three yrs of his life. It was rough, but thankfully our prayers were answered as we found Vidazorb kids chewable probiotic and he not only loves it….it has helped him so much! He looks, feels and acts like a totally different child. It has been a great relief for him, and for our whole family. I am really praying that since we got such a good handle on it with these, that maybe we stopped any development that may have occurred for Asthma. Thanks for the info!

  2. The Made from Earth Pure Aloe Skin Treatment is GREAT for dry and/or sensitive skin. I used to get eczema-like rashes on my face during winter time. This cream has solved the problem completely. It is absorbed by the skin very quickly, there’s no greasy residue.

    If you are prone to acne breakouts this cream will also work for you since the aloe has astringent properties. My sister who is prone to acne used it for her dry skin, and her skin looked AMAZING. Its amazing what a bit of pure aloe can do for your face. I recommend this from the Made from Earth product line.

  3. @Caroline
    So nice to read your post, my daughter is 13 months and has food allergies and eczema. When she has a cold, she has asthma symptoms and a stand-in doctor told us she will likely have asthma. The doctor acted like it was commonplace but my heart broke because I thought of how her life may need to change because of this lung disease. But I am going to do all I can to see that this doesn’t happen. Thanks for the Vidazorb and aloe recommendations – will try them both to make sure that at least she will be comfortable. Then we’ll try to find out what’s out there to inhibit TSLP from entering her blood stream from eczema damaged skin…

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Is there anything about adults? I developed cough variant asthma three years ago at 22, and just last year I developed eczema. I have sun sensitive pale skin.

  5. Eczema could be the worst nightmare ever which even stays after the eyes are open !1 but its not impossible to be cured. the best remedy which has been recommended by dermatologist our the herbal creams instead of steroids ..!!


  6. Most kids grow out of eczema. Very few do not. It is most defintely the food and other external allergies that cause eczema. Dead sea products help to remove the itchiness and even the rash itself. Make sure to buy pure dead sea salts or even dead sea mud. There are a lot of stores that sell dead sea products. We buy from

  7. Richard Friedel says:

    A relevant but strangely ignored or not generally known fact about asthma is that the change between weak (asthmatic) and strong (healthy) breathing is dependent on abdominal muscle tension. Slackening the muscles here causes abysmally weak and asthmatic breathing. Training the muscles, for example by “abdominal hollowing” (see Web articles) produces an antiasthmatic effect. Abdominal muscle tension plays a prominent part in Asian martial arts. I tend to breathe asthmatically after an evening meal or in pollen-laden air.
    So it is fair to assume that there is a natural breathing spectrum with an asthmatic tendency at one end and Ku Fu or Karate breathing at the other end. For a few words on the Japanese version of Asian breathing see
    Breathing powerfully into my lower abdomen with tensed muscles provides an effective cure for me. But then I’ve always been sceptical about medical wisdom on asthma. Respectively, Richard Friedel

  8. @Richard Friedel says:

    I’m not a doctor, but I have almost every form of asthma possible and have read extensively about them and their related skin issues. The breathing techniques you shared may be very good for helping people with asthma-like breathing issues due to irritants (ex: your difficulty breathing with pollen in the air and, perhaps, after a large meal); however, I ask you to please be cautious about extending your own experience with breathing problems that may not, in fact, be asthma to concluding that the “medical wisdom on asthma” is questionable. Human nature gives us all the terrible habit of generalizing from a sample of one, and I hope that your experience with misdiagnosed asthma will not confuse others attempting to learn about authentic forms of the disease.

  9. My younger sun has a problem with asthma. When he was two or three years old he also had problem with eczema. Now that he is 13 he is getting better. No eczema but still have problem with asthma. He is getting better anyway.

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