As mentioned, Eczemaderm combines the best of traditional medicine with the best of natural medicine. The Eczemaderm formula is very complex, but to understand why it works, we give a description of its different components.
a. MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) - MSM is considered to be a natural product. It occurs naturally in green plants such as field horsetail (Equiseturn Arvense), certain species of algae, fruits, vegetables, grains, and broth bovine and human adrenal glands, and milk. In the past few years MSM has become so popular that we consider it to be gaining mainstream acceptance. It is so popular that we have even seen physicians prescribing this compound. MSM is a precursor source of sulfur for cysteine and methionine production. Cysteine and methionine are amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Cysteine is one of the few amino acids that contains sulfur. This allows cysteine to bond in a special way and maintain the structure of proteins in the body. Methionine is just as important, as the body can synthesize cysteine from methionine.
Another vital role of cysteine is that it is a compound component of the antioxidant glutathione. Antioxidants serve to protect our skin from harmful substances called free radicals, and these free radicals have been known to trigger eczema. Antioxidants work is several ways: they may reduce the energy of free radicals, stop the free radicals from forming in the first place, or interrupt an oxidizing chain reaction to minimize the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that are created in the body during normal metabolic functions or introduced from the environment. Free radicals are inherently unstable, since they contain "extra" energy. To reduce their energy load, free radicals react with certain chemicals in the body, and in the process, interfere with the cells' ability to function normally. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more that sixty different health conditions, including eczema.
In addition, cysteine may play an important role in the communication between immune system cells. Instead of suppressing the body's immune system to treat eczema such as conventional corticosteroid therapies would do, MSM works with the body's immune system and amino acids to aid tissue repair and healing.
According to commonly used pharmacist reference, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, MSM is an extremely safe ingredient. There are no known or documented allergies to the ingredient. There are also no known interactions with herbs, dietary supplements, or any other prescription or non-prescription drugs. There are also no known interactions with any diseases or conditions.
b. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids - The disturbed epidermal barrier function seen in eczema has been linked to altered metabolism of unsaturated fatty acids. We've all been warned about how eating unhealthy fats can harm our bodies. Yet, some fats are essential to our health. These fats, appropriately called essential fatty acids (EFAs), play many critical roles in the body, but the two most important involve cellular function.
EFAs help form cell membranes that protect cells from attack by foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. They also allow nutrients to enter and waste products to exit the cells. In addition, EFAs are needed to make prostaglandins -- short-lived hormone like substances that function on the cellular level and regulate many body processes including circulatory, cardiovascular and immune functions. More specifically, our body manufactures the prostaglandin "PGE1". PGE1 has anti-inflammatory properties and this treats the pro-inflammatory condition known as eczema. If our diets are deficient in EFAs, cellular function deteriorates, gradually leading to the development of numerous health problems such as eczema.
There are two families of essential fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3. Linoleic acid (LA) heads the omega-6 family, and alpha- linolenic acid (ALA) heads the omega-3 family. Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid can also be converted to its derivatives, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA is used to make the body's beneficial prostaglandin PGE1. Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are considered the only "true" essential fatty acids because the body can't manufacture them and must receive them from the diet. Omega-6 linoleic acid is widespread in our food supply; It's found in most plant foods and in virtually all vegetable oils. Sources of alpha-linoleic acid are harder to come by. The foods richest in alpha-linoleic acid are flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dark leafy greens, and fish oils such as salmon and halibut oil.
Further benefits of essential fatty acids include reduction of leukotriene, a substance produced in the body that is linked to eczema. Essential fatty acids are quick to provide relief from eczema, and give the immediate benefits of relief from skin itching, redness, and dryness.
c. Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) - Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cell membrances and other fat soluble parts of the body. As mentioned previously when discussing the functions of MSM, antioxidants protect our skin cells from free radical damage. This free radical change of cells is speculated to be one of the causes of eczema. In the last ten years, the functions of vitamin E in the cell have been further clarified. In addition to its antioxidant functions, vitamin E is now known to act through other mechanisms, including direct effects on inflammation. Inflammation is one of the underlying processes involved in eczema.
Vitamin E is found in a variety of different substances. These include wheat germ oil, nuts and seeds, whole grains, egg yolks, and leafy green vegetables. Certain vegetable oils should contain significant amounts of Vitamin E. However, many of the vegetable oils sold in supermarkets have had the Vitamin E removed during processing.
d. Emollients - Emollients are semi-solid bases designed to control dryness. Emollients leave a film on the surface of the skin which retards evaporation of moisture and maintains hydration and flexibility. This is usually the foundation of all eczema treatments. We have chosen to incorporate an oil-in-water emulsion emollient. Its texture is non-greasy and this aids in ease of application. The evaporating water from the oil-in-water mixture produces a cooling effect which alleviates itching. A smaller amount of oil content is left as a residual film to protect hydration.
e. Hydrating Agents - Hydrating agents are emollients to which humectants have been added. These ingredients have hygroscopic (water-attracting) properties, enabling them to attract water into the stratum corneum and hydrate the skin. These agents provide tremendous relief from the dry skin associated with eczema.