Research Round-Up — Eczema, Acne, & Sunscreen

Today’s dermatology research round-up includes an article from each of the major dermatology journals: JAMA Dermatology, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Journal of Investigative Dermatology. This week I’ll be discussing new research in eczema, acne, and sunscreens.

dermatology research roundup featured-image

Eczema Is More Likely to Persist in Certain Patients

A systematic review of 45 studies found that childhood eczema (atopic dermatitis) tends to remit by adulthood in most patients. However, certain patients such as those with late onset disease, long course of disease, and severe disease are more likely to suffer from eczema throughout their life. This research included 110,651 patients from 45 different studies.

The conclusions from this study fall in line with previously held beliefs that atopic dermatitis that begins in childhood resolves in most patients. The severity of eczema correlates with disease longevity.

Acne Predisposition is Based on Genetics

Researchers conducted a study to determine the gene polymorphisms of 80 patients with acne and 80 patients without acne. (2) A genetic polymorphism is a spot in a gene that may be different among individuals but still codes for the same product.


The patients with the polymorphism in their Insulin Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) gene were 4.3 times more likely to have acne. This polymorphism leads to increased blood levels of IGF-1 in patients with acne. The presence of 2 copies of this gene polymorphism (instead of no copies or 1 copy) correlated with a higher severity of acne.

insulin-igf1-androgens-sebum-production diet cause acne

This research further supports a link between diet and acne. I’ve discussed how IGF-1 can lead to acne in the past.

Skin Cancer Risk with Experimental Sunscreen That Allows Vitamin D Production

A new sunscreen claims to allow the body to create Vitamin D from sunlight without allowing harmful wavelengths of light that cause redness to penetrate. The sunscreen manufacturers believe that their sunscreen can block wavelengths that can lead to skin cancer and allow wavelengths that can produce vitamin D because these 2 wavelengths are slightly different in number.


However, exploiting this difference in wavelengths may sound simple, but in reality, the difference in the absorption spectrum between vitamin D production and skin cancer inducing rays is so small that it is unlikely this sunscreen works very well. One article negatively critiqued the new sunscreen because they don’t believe there is a way to safely increase the transmittance of UV light for Vitamin D production without increasing skin cancer risk.

There are other ways to get Vitamin D. Vitamin D is present in some foods like fortified milk. Vitamin D supplements may be the easiest way to get your daily allowance. You don’t have to increase your risk of developing skin cancer to obtain Vitamin D.

Have you seen any interesting Dermatology research articles lately? Send me a message so I can feature it in the future!


  1. Kim JP, Chao LX, Simpson EL, Silverberg JI. Persistence of atopic dermatitis (AD): A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;75(4):681-687.e11.
  2. Rahaman SM, De D, Handa S, et al. Association of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 gene polymorphisms with plasma levels of IGF-1 and acne severity. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;75(4):768-73.
  3. Thompson JM, Fioletov VE, Marrett LD, Rosen CF, Weinstock MA. Vitamin D at the Expense of Skin Cancer Protection: Is It Worth the Risk?. J Invest Dermatol. 2016;136(10):2104-5.

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