Sunflowers could be the answer to treating various itchy skin conditions, including eczema and dermatitis, Queensland researchers say.
The flowers contain tiny proteins called peptides, which Queensland University of Technology researchers have engineered in an attempt to provide the missing piece of the puzzle for people with skin conditions.
The researchers engineered the peptide, called sunflower trypsin inhibitor, and modified its surface so it could bind better to particular skin enzymes that play an important role in skin regeneration.
Enzymes called proteases shed old cells from the skin's surface.
But too much activity can leave the skin more permeable and therefore open to allergens, infection and water loss.
By harnessing the sunflower peptide and adjusting the binding surface, researchers hope to help restore irritable skin to its original state.