The new study is the first to directly compare different types of moisturisers for eczema in children.
Eczema affects one in five children, with moisturisers being one of the recommended treatments, but what is the best moisturiser? A study by the universities of Bristol, Nottingham and Southampton discovered that the most effective type of moisturiser for eczema is the one you are most likely to use.
The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health and British Journal of General Practice.
The first study to analyse moisturisers for eczema
The research is the first to directly compare different types of moisturisers for eczema whilst highlighting patient education and choice when picking a moisturiser for eczema in children.
There are over 100 different moisturisers available on the NHS, costing over £100 million a year. However, new research and updated guidelines have the power to reduce this cost.
To answer what the best moisturiser is for eczema in children, the researchers collected data from 550 children aged 12 years and younger with eczema. The children tried one of four types of moisturiser (lotion, cream, gel or ointment) for 16 weeks. The parents completed diaries about their child’s eczema for a year about how they used the moisturisers for eczema and their opinions. All children had an independent examination of their skin.
No difference in effectiveness
There was no difference in effectiveness between the four moisturisers for eczema used in the study when used in conjunction with other eczema treatments. Skin reactions like itching or redness were common with all moisturiser types. General awareness of different moisturiser variations was low, and users had different preferences based on the look and feel of the moisturiser.
Professor Matthew Ridd, a GP and study lead from the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol, said: “A study of this type has been long overdue. It has not been in the interest of the manufacturers to directly compare types of moisturiser in the way we have done in this trial. Our findings challenge conventions about how often moisturisers need to be applied, which types are less likely to cause problems and which patients should be recommended certain types. For example, ointments are often suggested for more severe eczema, yet they were found to be no better.”
Further work is needed to determine if these findings apply to adolescents and adults with eczema and people with other dry skin conditions.