The Efficacy of Colloidal Oatmeal Cream 1% as Add-on Therapy in the Management of Chronic Irritant Hand Eczema: A Double-Blind Study

Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020 Mar 25;13:241-251. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S246021. eCollection 2020.


Background: Irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is the most frequent cause of hand eczema (HE). There is promising evidence with the use of topical oatmeal compounds in the management of inflammation- and itch-responses associated with diverse dermatologic conditions. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical benefit of colloidal oatmeal cream in the management of chronic irritant HE.

Methods: From October 2018 to November 2019, 79 patients with diagnosis of chronic irritant HE were allocated into either intervention or control groups by block randomization method. Besides fluocinolone 0.025% ointment for the first 2 weeks of treatment period, patients in the intervention and control groups were asked to use colloidal oatmeal 1% cream or base cream for additional 4 weeks as monotherapy. Changes in the HE severity based on the hand eczema severity index (HESCI) score, pruritus severity based on the visual analogue scale (VAS), and impact of skin disorder on patients quality of life based on the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) from baseline to weeks 2, 4, and 6 were assessed in the study groups.

Results: Fifty subjects, 26 in intervention and 24 in control, completed the course of the study. The results indicated, though relatively comparable decrease in mean HESI and VAS scores was observed in both groups by the end of week 2, thereafter until end of the study a non-return of symptoms to baseline conditions was observed in the intervention group, while there was a significant return of symptoms to baseline conditions in the control group (p value<0.001 in both conditions). Further, a noticeable improvement in the DLQI score was seen in the intervention group compared with the control group (p value<0.001).

Conclusion: Findings demonstrate that colloidal oatmeal, a natural product with proven barrier protection, moisturization, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties, can have ameliorative effects on eczema severity symptoms in patients with chronic irritant HE.

Keywords: Hand Eczema Severity Index; Dermatology Life Quality Index; colloidal oatmeal; hand eczema; irritant contact dermatitis.