Can eczema be prevented by using moisturizers?

Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a chronic inflammatory disease that often effects children throughout their early years. There is good evidence that its prevalence has increased dramatically over the last few decades. In a groundbreaking study researchers randomized 124 neonates felt to be very high risk for eczema as they had a sibling or parent with eczema, asthma or seasonal allergies. Studies reveal that infants born into a high-risk family have at least a 40 % risk of developing eczema.

In the intervention group, parents were instructed to apply moisturizer twice daily to the entire body of the infant from birth until six months of age. The results of the study revealed a 50 % reduction in the risk of developing eczema in the infants in the intervention group simply by applying moisturizer to the skin. The authors concluded that the moisturizer acts to prevent skin cracking and dryness as well as improves hydration of the skin and in so doing prevents skin inflammation and development of future eczema.