Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aqueous cream can aggravate eczema

If you have a child with eczema and have found it doesn't improve after the use of Aqueous cream BP, you may have an answer.

A UK study has found that Aqueous cream BP actually reduces the thickness of healthy skin and aids irritation.

The study was carried out with six volunteers, who all had healthy skin. It as applied to different areas, and after four weeks it as associated thinning and dehydration of the skin.

However, the effect wasn't found in all areas of the skin tested, which the study suggests that the cream may not have the same effect on everyone who uses it. (You can read the story on our homepage and listen to an interview with Dr Vincent Crump on the subject.)

This is not the first time Aqueous cream has had a bad rap. Another UK study carried out a couple of years ago found preservative caused reactions in a significant number of users.

The team looked at the notes of 100 children aged 1-16 years of age attending a paediatric clinic at the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Of the 100 children audited, 71 had used aqueous cream and of these 40 (56.3 per cent) had developed an immediate skin reaction.

A preservative, 2-phenoxyethanol (2-PE), is found in aqueous cream, and it is effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. There have been several reports of eczema and hives due to this preservative.

In New Zealand, the two nurse-led eczema clinics will not recommend the use of aqueous cream as a moisturiser for eczema. And it isn't mentioned at all in the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy's eczema care plans, which you can find here.

What have you found helps your eczema, or your child's eczema?


  1. I haven't found any ideal cream for my 2 children yet! They either don't work or react to it (it is horrible to hear them howling when it is itchy and skin become red). We have already going through all the creams on the list. It is shame there is no nurse-led ezcema clinic in Christchurch that I would love to attend and seek better advice to cope with it.

  2. I think aqueous cream has too much water content so I'm not surprised by this.

    Our son had severe eczema from 5 to 10 months old. We treated him with 1% hydrocortisone (more than the GP recommended but under the guidance of a pediatric eczema nurse), liberal frequent use of emulsifying ointment and an antibacterial agent in the bath (oilatum or QV flare up bath oil, they also suggest bleach these days).

    Infection is a significant aspect of eczema so you need to not contaminate creams and ointments. Scoop out what you need with a clean spoon and never put your fingers in the jars. We also hot washed clothes and bedding to sterilise and remove ointment residues

    It was an awful time for our family but an eczema nurse guided us and it helped so much. Our son is three now with beautiful skin and only small patches of eczema that don't really bother him.

  3. I LOVE Essenchi Aquaderm cream. It hasn't made my son's eczema go away completely but it has had a significant positive impact on it and certainly helps to reduce any outbreaks. I am now curious though as to whether or not it has a similar reaction on the skin. LW I am interested in what you have written and may explore it further. Thanks.

    Allergies, eczema, asthma, we have it all and to be honest some days seem easier to deal with the than others.

  4. We used Aqueouse cream on specialist recommendation for years and thought our child was allergic to baths. She would flare up something wicked after baths. At the Allergy NZ conference we found out it was no longer recommended. Since we stopped using it bathing has become a tear-free enjoyable experience.

  5. We use aqueous cream as a body wash and it works well with our son's ezcema. Also use fatty-E cream for his dry skin and 0.5% hydrocortisone for bad patches. We have 1% hydrocortisone for really bad patches

  6. Our son had moderate eczema when he was ~4mths old - we were prescribed something called Fatty Lummis (Lumnis?) Cream - this worked brilliantly - we ran out and did not bother getting a repeat as by this time we thought he had grown out of his eczema.

    Recently (now 24mths) his eczema has flared up again, and the doctor prescribed Aqueous Cream BP (AFT Pharmaceuticals):

    Cetostearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Liquid Paraffin, White Soft Paraffin, Phenoxyethanol, Water.

    He had a minor immediate reaction to this - generalised redness in the areas of direct contact.

    The original Lumnis? Fatty Cream (xxxamanouchi Europe BV Meppel, The Netherlands) has:

    Cetostearyl Alcohol, Cetomacrogol 1000, Light Liquid Paraffin, White Soft Paraffin, Methyl parahydroxybenzoate, Sodium Citrate, Anhydrous Citric acid, Anhydrous Purified Water - this worked fine with no reactions.


  7. "I had Eczema..."

    In the beginning, it cropped up in common places like my elbows and wrists. I could hide behind long sleeves in the winter - but it wasn't long before summer rolled around and shorts, t-shirts and sandals.

    And that's when you'd hear the whispers. The gossip. The questionable looks from teachers and other parents who wondered if you were getting abused at home for all the red, irritable patches on your skin that looked like someone punched you straight in the face.

    “I Didn't Want My Son to Be Called All Those Awful Names and Silently Endure the Pain I Suffered With for Years”

    Names like "Leper", "Creep" and "Scaly" still ring in the back of my mind like it was yesterday. That's why, when I started noticing Samuel scratching his back against a door frame, I lifted up his shirt and noticed all the sure-fire signs of eczema:

  8. My 6 month old baby developed eczema a few months ago which was aggravated by us introducing formula to her..which we soon stopped. What helped us was probiotics daily, bathing in oilatum plus, alternating with emulsifying ointments on other days and then moisturising 5 times daily with fatty cream. I had to cut out all dairy, chocolate, seafood and nuts from my diet as I am still breastfeeding. There is a huge improvement in her skin!

  9. cellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up. Nice job I really like it!

  10. my son has had eczema since he was a baby and is now nearly 9.he was using Fatty cream, locoid on his body and hydrocortosone on his face,and bleech in his bath.By the time he was 6 he was having the odd flair up,but i was managing it.But this summer it got really bad,then when i applied the fatty cream he started to scream and it was stinging,which had never happened before. I think the cream has changed though,i read a comment further up saying about the aqueous fatty cream and the old one was just fatty my sons skin is dry,itchy,peeling and it almost looks like his legs are burnt when he gets hot. I am now using the emusifier just about every hour when he is not at school and a new cream out called Canestan plus, only once a day,Rolled oats tied up in a sock in the bath.So now i am finding the emulsifer is not giving his skin that moisture.I have to stay up every night till about 3.00 in the morning as i put the last lot of wraps on him and they should last damp untill he wakes up,i think though it would not be so bad if it was not so hot.

  11. I am 25 and had bad eczema as a kid (chocolate and ice cream were my worst triggers - especially chocolate ice cream!) but now it's just regular eczema, worse in the summer or after a mosh pit at a concert (sweat). For years I have used aqueous cream as a preventative (also found it a great face moisturizer) and locoid lipo cream as a treatment. I only ever use dove sensitive soap as all other soaps make me flare up. I recently went to the doctor who informed me of the new study on aqueous ream and prescribed me healthe fatty cream instead. I had an immediate reaction to this so it must be a case of different strokes for different folks. If trying the fatty cream for the first time I would definitely spot test it first.
    My thoughts and prayers go to all those with kids with eczema, it must be so hard, I know I made it hard for my mum, I used to scream when I had to use the special scalp ointment. Just keep telling yourself and your kids it gets better as you get older

  12. Aqueous and Other Glycerin creams do not work for me even though they were prescribed to me. If you like me have extremely dry flaky skin, try the Citrus Clear Skin Repair Moisturizer - it moisturizes so well its very rich and nice citrus scent. I don't suffer eczema but my skin is just so dry that I couldn't wear foundation in the past but not anymore.

  13. Thanks for this, I get really dry skin on my legs so will try the eczema cream you mentioned.

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  14. I bought foderma serum for someone who has dealt with horrible skin dryness, and a case of eczema. Nothing worked, we even tried prescription creams and nothing worked. Foderma serum delivered results within days of using, I have used it on my face after bad sun exposure or when my skin feels extremely dry. Love it and will share it with everyone bc it is worth every penny.