Aqueous Cream BP, commonly used as an emollient in the treatment of dry skin and eczema, contains the known irritant sodium lauryl sulphate (approximately 1%), also found as an excipient in many household cleaning products. The continuing effects of Aqueous Cream BP on skin barrier function were previously unknown.
In this study, the authors investigated its effects on the stratum corneum of 6 volunteers with healthy skin. Treatment consisted of twice-daily application of Aqueous Cream BP for 4 weeks, after which concomitant tape stripping and transepidermal water loss were measured versus controls.
Treatment with Aqueous Cream BP resulted in decreased stratum corneum thickness (p = 0.0015) and increased transepidermal water loss (p <0.0001).
The authors concluded that the use of this emollient to treat eczematous skin should be queried, bearing in mind the adverse events associated with its use, especially in children.
Tsang M, Guy RH. Br J Dermatol 2010; 5: 954-8