Eczema, a common dry skin condition affecting around one in five infants globally, may not be prevented by daily moisturiser use, according to a study which may lead to new clinical recommendations for preventing the disease.
While healthcare workers generally recommend that parents regularly use moisturisers 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.
1394 newborn babies were studies by the researchers. These newborn babies who were born to families with eczema, asthma, or hayfever. These babies were divided into two groups. First group was advised to apply moisturiser all over their baby every day until their first birthday. Second group was asked not to use moisturiser.
It was found that the daily use of moisturiser during the first year of life could prevent eczema in the studied children. But this use is increase in the risk of skin infections. Another risk associated with the daily use is the increased 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 moisturisers 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 moisturisers for eczema prevention, people who have the condition may still benefit from applying the cream.