Instrumental and dermatologist evaluation of the effect of glycerine and urea on dry skin in atopic dermatitis.
Posted on Monday, March 01, 2004

Loden M, Andersson AC, Andersson C, Frodin T, Oman H, Lindberg M.

ACO Hud AB, Sweden.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Moisturising creams are useful treatment adjuncts in inflammatory dermatoses and have beneficial effects in the treatment of dry, scaly skin. The effects on dryness and skin permeability of a new moisturising cream with 20% glycerine was compared with its placebo and with a medicinally authorised cream with 4% urea (combined with 4% sodium chloride) in the treatment of dry skin.

METHODS: Patients (n=109) with atopic dermatitis were treated for 30 days with a moisturiser in a randomised, parallel and double-blind fashion. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin capacitance were assessed instrumentally, and changes in the dryness of the skin were assessed by the dermatologist.

RESULTS: No difference in TEWL was found between glycerine treatment and its placebo, whereas a lower value was found in the urea-treated area compared to the glycerine-treated area. No difference in skin capacitance was found. The clinical assessment of dryness showed urea to be superior to glycerine in treating the condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Moisturising creams are different, not only with respect to composition but also with respect to their influence on skin as a barrier to water in patients with atopic dermatitis.

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