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Moisturizer Use and Atopic Dermatitis: Is it worth the hassle?

Atopic dermatitis is the world’s most common chronic inflammatory skin condition. Prevalence ranges from about 9-18% for children 17 years of age or younger; about half first develop atopic dermatitis during the first year of life, and the majority during the first 5 years of life. Prevention has been a recent focus of research on the disease and several studies have shown benefits of daily moisturizing for 6 to 8 months, beginning within the first few weeks of life.

Since the studies used daily full-body application of moisturizer, a recent study sought to evaluate whether prophylactic daily moisturizing would be a cost-effective way to prevent atopic dermatitis in high-risk newborns. The authors calculated age-specific body surface area and the amount of moisturizer needed to cover the entire body throughout a linear growth period of 6 months. They then averaged the cost of six moisturizers that potentially would reduce the risk of future sensitization for infantile atopic dermatitis, purchased from 4 different retailers. The study looked at petroleum jelly, Vaniply Ointment, Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, and CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, and sunflower seed oil.

The results showed that the amount of daily all-body moisturizer needed at birth was 3.6 g per application and increased to 6.6 g by 6 months of age. The average price was $1.07/oz but went as high as $2.96. That ended up costing between $7.30 to $173.39 for 6 months of use.

The authors conclude that daily moisturizing from birth to 6 months of life is likely to be a cost-effective and attractive preventative health strategy against atopic dermatitis from both a medical and economic perspective. The authors note that atopic dermatitis can cost Medicaid $5900 per beneficiary per year. There are also secondary benefits that include preserving the skin barrier early in life for high-risk individuals which may theoretically reduce the risk of developing other atopic diseases and their comorbidities.

 

Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: March 29, 2017

Source: JAMA Pediatrics
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Shutterstock]




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