A recent study by a Japanese institute found that consistently using emollients on newborn babies can prevent atopic dermatitis (eczema) and food allergies later in life. Emollient therapy with newborn babies is an inexpensive and easy way to prevent and treat the increasing global epidemic of eczema and prevent food allergies.
The National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo conducted a small-scale study. Researchers found that using emollients regularly during the first few weeks of life can help the immune system and keep it functioning properly. Researchers studied two groups of newborns. One group used emollients regularly on the babies. Another group had no treatment. The researchers studied 118 newborns for 32 weeks.
Results showed 19 babies developed atopic dermatitis (eczema) in the group using regular emollients. 28 babies developed atopic dermatitis (eczema) in the group using no treatment. This is the first study of it’s kind worldwide and suggests that using emollient therapy can reduce the risk of developing atopic dermatitis (eczema) by 30 percent.
The National Center for Child Health and Development stated in a recent press release that emollient therapy prevents the skin from drying out and cracking. Dry cracked skin allows irritants to enter the body exposing immune cells to these irritants. The immune system then boosts the body’s production of antibodies to combat these irritants, resulting in over-production. This over-production of antibodies causes the symptoms of allergy such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and allergies and food allergies.
Toru Sato, the center’s spokesman, stated “It was known before that dry skin would cause eczema. One of the achievements of this study is that we came up with clear figures for the probability of developing eczema. Researchers are now looking at why some babies in the group still went on to develop eczema. Another important point is that the study suggests atopic skin problems could be linked to other allergic reactions, such as asthma and hay fever, that may appear later in life.”
How to apply this study? If you have a young baby, applying an emollient or moisturizer after their bath is a good way to keep their skin soft and supple. Keeping newborn skin healthy is easy and may prevent them from developing eczema, allergies and food allergies.
Dr. Kenneth Backman of Allergy & Asthma Care of Fairfield County comments: "We've long known that moisturization is a critical component of eczema skin care, and that good skin care can help prevent eczema flares. There is now evidence that moisturization in early life can actually prevent eczema. We look forward to more studies on this topic."