25 January 2012

Botox could be used to treat common skin conditions such as eczema. This is the finding of an initial study into the use of Botox to limit flare-ups of skin conditions that can cause patients to experience very itchy, irritated and inflamed skin.This research, carried out by doctors at Edinburgh University, is likely to be welcomed by the 500,000 people who suffer with pruritus – severe itchiness – in the UK. Those carrying out the research discovered that a woman who had eczema on her upper body and arms for more than 10 years, had reported a huge reduction in itching for six months following Botox injections to the affected areas. It is believed that Botox works to stop the itch trigger by interfering with levels of acetylcholine – the brain chemical which when released causes muscles to contract and is thought to also trigger an itch. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Professor Jonathan Rees, an independent expert in dermatology at the University of Edinburgh said: “More work needs to be done to ensure that the effect is real and can be used more widely. We understand that many itches are induced by histamine, but for the vast majority of itches we do not know the chemical trigger.”