A randomized controlled pilot study comparing aqueous cream with a beeswax and herbal oil cream in the provision of relief from postburn pruritus

J Burn Care Res. Jul-Aug 2012;33(4):e195-200. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e31825042e2.


Postburn itch is reported to affect up to 87% of the burn population. Although treatments for postburn itch are multimodal, they remain consistently ineffective. However, recent anecdotal evidence from several outpatients at a tertiary referral hospital suggests that a cream combining beeswax and several herbal oils may be effective in the minimization of postburn itch. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of beeswax and herbal oil cream against the standard treatment of aqueous cream in the provision of relief from the symptoms of postburn itch. A randomized controlled trial compared two groups using a visual analog scale, frequency of cream application, itch recurrence after cream application, use of antipruritic medications, and sleep disturbance to determine the effect of itch severity and duration. Fifty-two participants were enrolled in the study (84% male) with a mean age of 35 years (SD = 16) and mean burn TBSA of 7.2% (SD = 7.7). Study results found that the beeswax and herbal oil cream reduce itch after application more frequently than aqueous cream (P = .001). In addition, when managed with beeswax and herbal oil cream, participants found that their itch recurred later (P ≤ .001) and their use of antipruritic medications was lower (P = .023). Findings of this study suggest beeswax and herbal oil cream to be more effective in the minimization of postburn itch than aqueous cream. Given this, a larger study examining the efficacy of beeswax and herbal oil cream appears warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Antipruritics / therapeutic use
  • Burns / complications*
  • Burns / diagnosis
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Pruritus / drug therapy*
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Pruritus / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Cream / therapeutic use*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waxes*
  • Young Adult


  • Antipruritics
  • Plant Oils
  • Waxes
  • beeswax