554 Moisturisers beneficial for eczema

November 22, 2017

written by Brian R McAvoy

Clinical Question
How effective are moisturisers for patients with eczema?

Bottom Line
Most moisturisers showed some beneficial effects, producing better results when used with active treatment, prolonging time to flare, and reducing the number of flares and amount of topical corticosteroids needed to achieve similar reductions in eczema severity. Participants considered moisturisers more than twice as effective in improving eczema than placebo, vehicle, or no moisturiser. There was no difference in the number of adverse events reported. There was no evidence that one moisturiser was better than another.


There was high certainty evidence for physician assessments of disease severity comparing glycerol-containing creams to control and ‘all moisturisers versus control’. For most other outcomes in the various comparisons, there was low to moderate certainty evidence. The most important reasons for lowering the certainty of evidence were risk of bias in the studies (e.g. no blinding or missing data) or too few participants leading to less precise results.

Eczema is a chronic disease characterised by dry skin, intense itching, inflammatory skin lesions, and a considerable impact on quality of life. Moisturisers are considered an integral part of treatment.

Cochrane Systematic Review
J van Zuuren E et al. Emollients and moisturisers for eczema. Cochrane Reviews, 2017, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD012119.DOI: 10.1002/14651858. CD012119.pub2. This review contains 77 studies involving 6,603 participants.

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.