High salt intake is known to harm health in various ways, including raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of heart attacks and kidney diseases. Researchers now say it could also worsen the signs of atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema.

Eczema causes individuals to have dry, itchy, and bumpy skin. The condition affects more than 31 million Americans. Around 10% to 20% of infants have the condition but nearly half of them outgrow the condition or will have improvement with the age.

According to the latest study led by researchers at UC San Francisco (UCSF), cutting salt is the most cost-effective and low-risk intervention strategy for eczema patients to manage their disease.

The results of the study published in Jama Network suggest that taking just one extra gram of sodium per day can increase the likelihood of eczema flares by 22%.

"Eczema flares can be difficult for patients to cope with, especially when they are unable to anticipate them and don't have recommendations on what they can do to avoid them," said Dr. Katrina Abuabara, corresponding author of the study in a news release.

"Most Americans eat too much salt and can safely reduce their intake to recommended levels," added Dr Abuabara.

The researchers evaluated data from more than 215,000 people from the UK Biobank which includes urine samples and electronic medical records. The participants were between the ages of 30 and 70.

The team estimated the amount of sodium/salt intake from urine samples. The diagnosis of atopic dermatitis, as well as the disease severity, were detected from the prescription codes.

"They found that each additional gram of sodium excreted in urine over 24 hours was associated with 11% higher odds of an eczema diagnosis; 16% higher odds of having an active case; and 11% higher odds of increased severity," the news release stated.

The research team then extended their study to evaluate 13,000 U.S. adults who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The results showed that consuming just one additional gram of sodium per day, roughly half a teaspoon of table salt, increased the risk of having an active case of eczema by 22%.