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Moisturizing Your Babies May Promote Skin Sensitization and Development of Food Allergies, Study Finds

Moisturizing your babies may promote skin sensitization and development of food allergies, study finds.

According to a recent study, regular use of moisturizers in infants may promote transcutaneous sensitization and the development of food allergies.

Photo: Baby | InStyleHealth

Researchers surveyed families about their use of moisturizers and corticosteroid creams, and about dry skin or eczema, for a total of 1,302 exclusively breastfed infants. Subsequent food challenge and skin prick testing were utilized to assess allergies among the subject.

There are 24.4% (317) babies had clear and visible signs of eczema, while the remaining 75.6% (985) did not show any signs of skin problem. Among babies without eczema, 654 of these babies were being moisturized at least once a week, parents who reported that their children had dry skin or eczema (even without signs of the skin problem) were more like to moisturize more frequently.

Except those with a history of eczema and/or parent-reported dry skin generated a final group of 712 babies who phenotypically appeared to having healthy skin. Moisturization was still considered high in this group, with 66% being moisturized at least once a week.

Moisturization frequency is significantly correlated with the likelihood of having food allergies in a dose-dependent manner. This stayed true even when classifying babies according to those with and without visible eczema at the beginning.

While considered as a continuous variable, each additional moisturization per week correlated with an 18% increase in the odds of developing food allergies for the babies without visible eczema during the start of the study.

The effect was slightly stronger among those with visible eczema at the start, such that each additional moisturization per week enhanced the likelihood by 20%.

Researchers of this study stated that, “ Taken together, our findings and those of prior studies suggests that emollients may facilitate transcutaneous sensitization to both food and aeroallergens.”

“These findings are potentially of great significance, and further research is required to understand the mechanism of action,” added the researchers.

For complete details of the study, click here.


Source: J Allerg Clin Immunol 2021;147:967-976.e1

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