Eczema or Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mostly affects kids up to five years of age. It starts during infancy and looks just like dry skin. But it is only the first symptom of eczema and in later years it goes worse. Many parents use a moisturizer to heal this “dry skin” but researchers from the University of Nottingham say that using a moisturizer is useless on childhood eczema.
Doctors believe that a poor skin barrier is probably the first stage of childhood eczema in infants. Normally, people use a moisturizer to make their skin barrier work better by adding a covering to the out layer of the skin and thus retains skin water.
Some of the doctors recommend parents to use moisturizers on their babies’ skin which would help to control childhood eczema, especially in newborns. This “barrier enhancement eczema prevention (BEEP) study” was targeted to understand if this moisturizer use has any effect on eczema development or healing.
The researchers from the University of Nottingham studied 1394 newborns that were suffering from childhood eczema. These infants were categorized into two groups and one of them was recommended using moisturizer. On the other side, the second group was not recommended to use a moisturizer. The experts advised both these groups to follow general skin care practices.
No such evidence was recorded that using a moisturizer daily after birth can prevent the development of childhood eczema in infants. However, it was linked to an “increase” in multiple skin infections. The study results also indicated that using such skincare products daily might put children to the increased food allergies risk.
Dr. Hywel Williams is a dermatologist from the University of Nottingham. He is also the first author of this study. He shares that;
“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 childhood eczema, and we were surprised when our large study showed no effect at all.”
He also says that;
“Whilst 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. It is important not to confuse our study on moisturizers for eczema prevention with the use of moisturizers for people who have eczema, where the evidence of benefit is much greater”.
A childhood eczema causes redness and itching to the skin. If not treated it could be long-lasting and may lead to further skin problems in later years. Sometimes it ends with asthma or allergic rhinitis (hay fever) in children.
Till the date, there is no specific treatment for dermatitis. Only with basic treatment and self-care practices to relieve the symptoms. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if the condition worsens, turns into an infection or doesn’t heal with self-care practices.