Findings from a randomized trial, published in Dermatologic Therapy, suggest that applying a daily regimen of a commercially available ceramide–based moisturizing cream and a cleanser could safely restore skin permeability and improve the symptoms of moderate eczema versus a placebo.

“This study demonstrates the importance of supporting the barrier function of eczematous skin and highlights the need for moisturizers and cleansers to be formulated specifically for eczema,” explained the study’s lead author, Fabrizio Spada, PhD, MRACI CChem.

A total of 100 enrolled patients were instructed to stop using any moisturizers, cleansers, or topical medications one week prior to the study and during the study period. The primary objective was to compare the study treatment against a placebo for improving symptom severity relative to the baseline at day 28. Secondary endpoints included a comparison of treatment effects on days seven, 14, and 21, as well as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration, and use of rescue medication (mometasone furoate) compared to baseline at all of the above timepoints.

The investigators noted that EASI scores significantly decreased in both groups at all time points compared to baseline (p = 0.0001). Notably, this decrease was not significant between the groups at day 28 (p = 0.7804). On the other hand, TEWL and skin hydration significantly improved over time in the treatment group (p = 0.0342), while it either stayed the same or worsened in the placebo group (p = 0.0001). There was no difference in the use of rescue medication over time between groups (p = 0.1579). Patient satisfaction was greater in the treatment group in several parameters, including itch relief and skin dryness, softness, and smoothness (p = 0.05).

The report did acknowledge several limitations of the study, stating that a longer study period may have shown more changes in EASI, and also that “patients were not followed up after completion of the study to determine whether the skin barrier continued to improve.”

According to the authors, this trial was the first to provide evidence that a commercially available ceramide-based moisturizing cream and cleanser regimen could successfully and safely improve the signs and symptoms of moderate eczema in adults. They recommended conducting future studies with trial periods up to eight weeks and additional follow-up.

Source: Dermatologic Therapy