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NHG Fund

Enabling Itch-free Lives

In recent years, eczema has become the most common skin disease at the National Skin Centre (NSC). In 2017, NSC saw more than 18,000 cases. It is estimated that 1 in 10 adults in Singapore suffer from eczema, and nearly 1 in 5 Singaporean babies and children have eczema. Itch is also the most frequent symptom in dermatology.

More than Skin Deep
Disrupted sleep, increased anxiety, self-esteem issues, depression and missed work days… eczema can affect a person's quality of life significantly.

For many, the spots and scars present an issue. 30-year-old Winnie loves her jeans, pants and cardigans. She wears them not for fashion, but because they are her best armor to conceal the dark spots on her arms and legs. "The scars do not bother me but the itch does," says Winnie. "I have difficulty sleeping because I feel the need to scratch; I have also been chided by my boss several times for scratching my wounds during meetings with clients as it made me look unprofessional".

It is difficult for a person suffering from eczema to resist the temptation to scratch to relieve the itch. Unfortunately, scratching worsens the condition as it increases the risks of the skin tearing and bleeding. These open wounds are susceptible to infections.

Our researchers at NSC are looking into the root causes of itch. These findings bring them closer to the formulation of a cure for patients suffering from intractable itch, especially in older adults. With an ageing population, there is an urgent need to develop ways to manage itch and cope with the increasing number of people seeking help.

Enabling Treatments of the Future
We are currently seeking seed funding to kickstart critical research, and develop innovative technologies at NSC (National Skin Centre). This includes the development of novel alternative treatments that are cost-effective and bring maximum benefit to the patients.

Find out how you can help those suffering from chronic itch.

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References:
[1] Gan, E. (2020, January 29). Living with severe eczema: Lost sleep, blood on clothes, mental health struggles. TODAYonline. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/living-severe-eczema-lost-sleep-blood-clothes-mental-health-struggles.

[2] sleep-blood-clothes-mental-health-struggles.
National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. (2016, October 31). https://www.nsc.com.sg/Patient-Guide/Health-Library/Types of Skin Conditions/Pages/Eczema-and-Dermatitis.aspx.

[3] sleep-blood-clothes-mental-health-struggles.
National Healthcare Group Polyclinics. (2016, October 31). https://www.nsc.com.sg/Patient-Guide/Health-Library/Types of Skin Conditions/Pages/Eczema-and-Dermatitis.aspx.