Can vitamin E tocotrienols help children with atopic dermatitis?

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A 12-week study looked at the effects of a vitamin E–containing topical moisturizer on children aged 1 month to 12 years with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Pixel-Shot

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Pixel-Shot

A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology1 explored whether topical application of a vitamin E moisturizer could help children with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. The study was conducted by researchers from the Universiti Putra Malaysia in Selangor, Malaysia. The researchers estimate that atopic dermatitis (AD) impacts 20% of children globally.

The 12-week, open-label, single-arm, single-center clinical study was conducted on 30 children ranging in age from 1 month to 12 years who had mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. The subjects were asked to apply a topical moisturizer three times daily, for 12 weeks, on skin sites affected with atopic dermatitis lesions.

The moisturizer used was the REMDI Sensitive Intensive Moisturizing Cream, a nonsteroidal topical cream containing natural vitamin E (mixed isoforms of tocopherols and tocotrienols), among other ingredients. The researchers note that “Natural phenolic antioxidants such as vitamin E is an added lipophilic compound of skincare products due to its dermatological benefits. It was suggested that vitamin E plays a vital role in inhibiting lipid peroxidation and stabilizing lipid bilayers of stratum corneum.”

They added: “The lipophilic properties of vitamin E allows them to travel down to the deeper stratum corneum layer within the cell membranes through sebaceous gland secretions and protect them from oxidative damage.”

By the end of the study, most of the atopic dermatitis patients saw an improvement in clinical symptoms. The researchers concluded that “the tocotrienol-enriched moisturizer used within the study [is] a safe and effective moisturizer for management of AD in young children.”

The authors added that intervention with vitamin E could be an alternative to pharmaceuticals typically prescribed to treat atopic dermatitis. They noted, “Despite the broad range of drugs (corticosteroids) available, patients are often dissatisfied with the treatments due to the risk associated with long-term usage. Topicals such as moisturizers are the first-line therapy in AD due to lower risk of adverse effects than the systemic medications used.”

PhytoGaia Sdn Bhd (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), a palm-phytonutrient ingredients supplier, noted in a press release commenting on the study, “The study’s findings revealed a significant improvement in the children’s skin conditions following the use of the tocotrienol-rich moisturizer. There was a decrease in the Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis Index (SCORAD) and Patient-Oriented SCORAD (PO-SCORAD) scores from week 0 to week 12. Additionally, there was a significant reduction in investigator global assessment (IGA) at week 12 compared to baseline (p < 0.05). These results indicate a positive impact on AD throughout the trial.”

Ariati Aris, scientific affairs specialist at PhytoGaia, added, “This is an exciting breakthrough in dermatology that holds great promise. Tocotrienols’ anti-inflammatory properties play an important role in alleviating inflammation in AD. It is anticipated that this research will contribute to enhanced eczema management, particularly for children.”

Reference

  1. How, K.N.; Chang, H.W.; Lai, O.M. Open-label, single-arm, single-center clinical study on the effectiveness and safety of a moisturizer containing tocotrienol-rich composition in children with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online May 4, 2023. DOI: 10.1111/jocd.15793
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