Daily moisturiser use may not prevent infants from eczema: Lancet study

PTI, Feb 20, 2020, 5:29 PM IST

London: Eczema, a common dry skin condition affecting around one in five infants globally, may not be prevented by daily moisturizer use, according to a study that may lead to new clinical recommendations for preventing the disease.

While healthcare workers generally recommend that parents regularly use moisturizers to prevent eczema in newborn babies, the study, published in the journal The Lancet, examined whether such advice had an impact on preventing the disease.

The researchers, including Hywel Williams from the University of Nottingham in the UK, looked at 1394 newborn babies who were born to families with eczema, asthma, or hayfever.

They divided the babies randomly into two groups one was advised to apply moisturizer all over their baby every day until their first birthday, and the other was asked not to use moisturizer.

The scientists found no evidence that the daily use of moisturiser during the first year of life could prevent eczema in the studied children.

However, they found a small increase in the risk of skin infections. The results also showed early indications that the daily use of these creams may increase the risk of food allergy.

According to Williams, who led the study, “Much progress has been made in recent years on the treatment of severe eczema, but the goal of preventing eczema from developing in the first place remains elusive.”

“Other small studies suggested that moisturizers from birth might prevent eczema, and we were surprised when our large study showed no effect at all,” Williams said.

He added that while this is disappointing for sufferers who thought that was an option for their children, “We can now recommend that this advice is not given to parents and begin looking at what other possible preventative options there may be.”

According to the researchers, while the study found no benefits in using moisturizers for eczema prevention, people who have the condition may still benefit from applying the cream.

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