Known as the itch that rashes, eczema is one of the most common medical problems in childhood, occurring in up to 10 percent of children, and using emollients has been a mainstay of treatment. Emollients – skin moisturizers such as a petroleum gel – are applied through leave-on products, soap substitutes, and bath additives.
But a study released May 3 in BMJ shows that emollient bath additives simply do not help. Although there was evidence that leave-on emollients and soap substitutes were effective, there had been a lack of strong research on how well bath additives worked until now, according to the researchers.
In the study, a group of 482 children diagnosed with eczema were randomly split into about two even groups: one used emollient bath additives and the group did not for a 12 months. At the end, a clinical benefit was not found using bath additives as part of treatment.
Eczema is rough and red, and sometimes it breaks out in blisters called weeping skin found most commonly on the face and limbs especially on the inside of elbows and back of knees. The inflammation is inside the skin and is intensely itchy. Patients cannot stop from scratching and the damage to the skin comes from the scratching and especially from the child's own nails and can cause permanent scarring in extreme cases. Even when transitory, it is ugly and very uncomfortable.
So what can we do for our kids with eczema?