Bath products for eczema questionedDoctors' journal highlights lack of evidence

04 October 2007

 

A bathroom

Baths and showers will both put a strain on your boiler

Specialist bath products which claim to relieve the symptoms of allergic eczema are of 'questionable value', a new report suggests.

An article in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) says there is no evidence to show that these products work, with even medical experts unable to agree on their effectiveness.

There is little published evidence on the benefits of gels, creams and lotions used to ease the effects of dry skin conditions, including eczema, in general, the article says.

Dry skin problems

Emollients are used to improve the symptoms of dry skin problems and cut down on the use of steroid creams. The theory is they prevent water loss from the skin and form a protective barrier against skin irritants.

According to DTB, more than £16 million a year is spent by the NHS on these bath emollients, which is equivalent to almost 40% of the total cost of eczema treatments prescribed for pre-school children.

The article does suggest there is some published research to back up the experience of healthcare professionals that normal emollients applied to the skin are effective. But it concludes there is no such evidence for bath emollients, and says questions such as how these bath products compare against others, are still unanswered.

And the article calls for proper evaluation on their use, especially as patients are frequently told to use these items and they are recommended by the British Association of Dermatologists.

© The Press Association, All Rights Reserved