Catherine M. Ludwig

Allergenic Potential of Eczema Moisturizers Interview with:

Catherine M. Ludwig

Catherine M. Ludwig

Catherine M. Ludwig is a 4th year medical student at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine.
Her interests in dermatology include inflammatory and genetic conditions, especially within pediatric dermatology.


Alyssa M. Thompson

Alyssa M. Thompson


Alyssa M. Thompson is currently a 2nd year medical student at the UA-COM Tucson. She graduated from the University of Arizona, Summa Cum Laude in 2018 as the athletic department’s Valedictorian with a degree in Physiology and an Entrepreneurship certificate. Her passion for research and dermatology stems from her innovative and integrative mindset with specific interest in inflammatory skin disease. What is the background for this study?

Response: Eczema is very common in children. Prescription medications are important for managing eczema flares, but a lot of the work in treating eczema is preventative, done by consistently moisturizing the skin at home with drug store products. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs more commonly in people with eczema. A previous study was done in characterizing the allergenic potential of drug-store moisturizers and found that 88% of moisturizers contain at least one common allergen. Many moisturizers are marketed specifically to eczema, but the allergen content of these products are unknown. What are the main findings? 

Response: This work points out that eczema moisturizers can contain allergens and may cause allergic skin reactions in eczema patients. Even among eczema-specific moisturizers, we found that 98.3% of the 30 top selling products contain at least one common allergen. These moisturizers actually have an average of 3.6 allergens. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Relying solely on “for eczema” claims is not advisable. Clinicians should acquaint themselves with the top allergens (cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, and aloe) and keep these ingredients, as well as affordability and patient preferences, in mind when making product recommendations. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Patients with eczema are more likely to have allergic contact dermatitis as a result of exposure to allergenic ingredients. Future research might focus on the true necessity of these ingredients in moisturizers. Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: Our senior author, Dr. Vivian Shi, is a stock shareholder of Learn Health and has served as an advisory board member, investigator, and/or received research funding from Sanofi Genzyme, Regeneron, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Novartis, SUN Pharma, LEO Pharma, Pfizer, Menlo Therapeutics, Burt’s Bees, GpSkin, the National Eczema Association, Global Parents for Eczema Research, the Foundation for Atopic Dermatitis, and Skin Actives Scientific. There were no incentives or transactions, financial or otherwise, relevant to this manuscript. 


“Allergenic Potential of Eczema Moisturizers” presented at the virtual Society for Pediatric Dermatology 45th Annual Meeting

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Last Updated on July 25, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD