Jun 23, 2021 - Health + Traits

New 23andMe+ Eczema Report


Eczema is a chronic skin condition with itchy, dry, and/or discolored skin. Many people have it. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema; the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Typically, it begins during infancy or childhood, but a person can develop it at any time. For some people, symptoms resolve before adulthood. For others, symptoms continue to come and go. When they occur, the symptoms are called “flares.”

Large Numbers

An eczema flare can be uncomfortable. People with eczema are more likely to get skin infections and have trouble sleeping. In addition, depression and anxiety are more common in people with this condition, especially those with more severe forms of this common skin disorder.

An illustration of symptoms of eczema on a person's hands

It’s estimated that about 10 percent of the adult population in the United States has eczema.[1] Unfortunately, eczema is another example of disparities in healthcare. African American and Asian American children are more likely to develop more severe forms of eczema. Unfortunately, this may be due to delayed diagnosis because eczema can sometimes be missed in people with darker skin.

Although there is no cure for eczema, there are recommendations for reducing the frequency and severity of symptoms. The National Institutes of Health in the United States is also funding basic research into the condition.

Shared Genetics

Over the last decade, researchers—including scientists at 23andMe—have discovered some of the underlying genetics of the condition. Many people with eczema also have food allergies, asthma, or hay fever, for example. These are all allergic conditions, and they also share genetic associations. But they each impact different parts of the body. By learning more about the shared genetics of these conditions, scientists are learning more about potential ways to treat them.

Beyond reading about 23andMe’s research on eczema (here are some other posts about the research), we also offer customers an opportunity to go deeper and learn about their chances of developing eczema.

This week, 23andMe released a new Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) report powered by 23andMe research as part of our 23andMe+ Membership. This is one of more than 10 reports and features added annually and available to our 23andMe+ members.‡

The eczema report is powered by a polygenic score. The score is calculated using more than 2,100 genetic variants and a customer’s ethnicity and sex to estimate the likelihood of having eczema. We use aggregated data from consented 23andMe research participants to calculate this estimate. The report does not diagnose eczema. If you are concerned about your likelihood of developing eczema, consult with a healthcare professional.

To learn more about 23andMe+ membership, go here. Also, you can read about the most recent 23andMe eczema research collaboration here.

[1] Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, ISSN: 0091-6749, Vol: 132, Issue: 5, Page: 1132-1138: 2013 https://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(13)01366-3/fulltext

10+ reports and features will be added annually from January to December.

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