Bath emollient additives probably not effective for childhood eczema

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Bath emollient additives probably not effective for childhood eczema

An RCT of children aged 1 to 11 years with atopic dermatitis (children with mild eczema and who bathed less than once per week were excluded) were randomised to emollient bath additives for 12 months and a control group asked not to use additives.1 As all outcomes
were either reported by participants or collected on a clinical record review template, the outcomes were not blindly assessed.

The additives included Oilatum (63% light liquid paraffin), Balneum (85% soya oil) or Aveeno (contents not given) to be used regularly at parental discretion. There was a range of the number of baths per week from 1-2 (32% of group) through to ≥ 7 (14%).

Overall there was no benefit on any of the outcomes. The authors advise to stop using bath emollients but to keep using leave-on emollients and to use them as soap substitutes.


  1. Emollient bath additives for the treatment of childhood eczema (BATHE): multicentre pragmatic parallel group randomised controlled trial of clinical and cost effectiveness. BMJ (2018) Click here

Gems are chosen by the Goodfellow director Dr. Bruce Arroll to be either practice changing or practice maintaining. The information is educational and not clinical advice.

As published in NZ Doctor 09/10/2019