According to the latest study, applying inexpensive petroleum jelly onto the skin of a newborn baby, every day for the first six months, may lower the risk of developing eczema.
Two studies were done in infants, whose relatives have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. This condition is the most common form of eczema. It was shown that rubbing moisturizer into the skin every day, reduced their risk of experiencing eczema symptoms such as itchiness, dry skin, scaly patches on their heads, arms and legs.
Scientists at Northwestern University Feinberg school of Medicine examined seven common moisturizers and it turned out that petroleum jelly was at the same time both inexpensive and effective solution. Sunflower oil was right after the petroleum jelly.
Around 10% of American children are affected by this disease, and is more common in those with dark brown skin complexion. The number of children affected by eczema has been constantly increasing in Africa too.
The cause is still unclear, but it supposed to appear as a result of allergies and asthma. These conditions are also more common among African-American children. Eczema is manifested by severe and painful itchiness, so in this condition children spend sleepless nights. What is worse, scratching can lead to skin infections. Many families spend fortunes on pricey creams to treat this disease. The authors of this research debated that health insurance should cover moisturizers.
Their conception is that moisturizers protect a baby’s skin and act like a ‘’shield’’ against some invader that causes inflammation.
Dr. Steve Xu, an experienced dermatologist at the Feinberg School said that further studies should be made to confirm this theory. He adds that the risk of moisturizing is very low.
Dr. Xu also explained that they are not giving them an oral drug or injecting them with a medication. They are putting Vaseline on babies as a preventive measure against diseases.