Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic skin disease characterized by defects in the epidermal barrier function and cutaneous inflammation, in which transepidermal water loss (TEWL) is increased and the ability of the stratum corneum to hold water is impaired, causing decreased skin capacitance and hydration. This study investigated the effects of topical virgin coconut oil (VCO) and mineral oil, respectively, on SCORAD (SCORing of Atopic Dermatitis) index values, TEWL, and skin capacitance in pediatric patients with mild to moderate AD, using a randomized controlled trial design in which participants and investigators were blinded to the treatments allocated. Patients were evaluated at baseline, and at 2, 4, and 8 weeks. A total of 117 patients were included in the analysis. Mean SCORAD indices decreased from baseline by 68.23% in the VCO group and by 38.13% in the mineral oil group (P < 0.001). In the VCO group, 47% (28/59) of patients achieved moderate improvement and 46% (27/59) showed an excellent response. In the mineral oil group, 34% (20/58) of patients showed moderate improvement and 19% (11/58) achieved excellent improvement. The VCO group achieved a post-treatment mean TEWL of 7.09 from a baseline mean of 26.68, whereas the mineral oil group demonstrated baseline and post-treatment TEWL values of 24.12 and 13.55, respectively. In the VCO group, post-treatment skin capacitance rose to 42.3 from a baseline mean of 32.0, whereas that in the mineral oil group increased to 37.49 from a baseline mean of 31.31. Thus, among pediatric patients with mild to moderate AD, topical application of VCO for eight weeks was superior to that of mineral oil based on clinical (SCORAD) and instrumental (TEWL, skin capacitance) assessments.
© 2013 The International Society of Dermatology.