Application of moisturizer to neonates prevents development of atopic dermatitis

Kenta Horimukai, Kumiko Morita, Masami Narita, Mai Kondo, Hiroshi Kitazawa, Makoto Nozaki, Yukiko Shigematsu, Kazue Yoshida, Hironori Niizeki, Ken Ichiro Motomura, Haruhiko Sago, Tetsuya Takimoto, Eisuke Inoue, Norio Kamemura, Hiroshi Kido, Junzo Hisatsune, Motoyuki Sugai, Hiroyuki Murota, Ichiro Katayama, Takashi SasakiMasayuki Amagai, Hideaki Morita, Akio Matsuda, Kenji Matsumoto, Hirohisa Saito, Yukihiro Ohya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

486 Citations (Scopus)


Background Recent studies have suggested that epidermal barrier dysfunction contributes to the development of atopic dermatitis (AD) and other allergic diseases. Objective We performed a prospective, randomized controlled trial to investigate whether protecting the skin barrier with a moisturizer during the neonatal period prevents development of AD and allergic sensitization.

Methods An emulsion-type moisturizer was applied daily during the first 32 weeks of life to 59 of 118 neonates at high risk for AD (based on having a parent or sibling with AD) who were enrolled in this study. The onset of AD (eczematous symptoms lasting >4 weeks) and eczema (lasting >2 weeks) was assessed by a dermatology specialist on the basis of the modified Hanifin and Rajka criteria. The primary outcome was the cumulative incidence of AD plus eczema (AD/eczema) at week 32 of life. A secondary outcome, allergic sensitization, was evaluated based on serum levels of allergen-specific IgE determined by using a high-sensitivity allergen microarray of diamond-like carbon-coated chips.

Results Approximately 32% fewer neonates who received the moisturizer had AD/eczema by week 32 than control subjects (P =.012, log-rank test). We did not show a statistically significant effect of emollient on allergic sensitization based on the level of IgE antibody against egg white at 0.34 kUA/L CAP-FEIA equivalents. However, the sensitization rate was significantly higher in infants who had AD/eczema than in those who did not (odds ratio, 2.86; 95% CI, 1.22-6.73). Conclusion Daily application of moisturizer during the first 32 weeks of life reduces the risk of AD/eczema in infants. Allergic sensitization during this time period is associated with the presence of eczematous skin but not with moisturizer use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-830.e6
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 1


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • IgE
  • allergic sensitization
  • atopy
  • food allergy
  • randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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