MIAMI BEACH – Virgin coconut oil is superior to mineral oil for lessening both the signs and symptoms of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in children and senile xerosis in elderly adults, according to findings from separate randomized controlled studies.
In the pediatric atopic dermatitis study, 117 children were randomized to receive 8 weeks of twice-daily topical application of either virgin coconut oil (VCO) or mineral oil. Of those treated with VCO, 93% experienced improvement on the Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index, compared with 53% of those treated with mineral oil. An excellent response, defined as 75% or greater improvement on SCORAD, occurred in 46% and 19% of the patients in the VCO and mineral oil groups, respectively, Dr. Mara Therese P. Evangelista reported at the annual meeting of the American Contact Dermatitis Society.
The children treated with topical VCO were 85% more likely to experience treatment success than those treated with mineral oil, said Dr. Evangelista, a resident at Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Manila, Philippines.
Like mineral oil, VCO has both occlusive and emollient properties. But unlike mineral oil, it is believed to have both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, Dr. Evangelista said.
In this double-blind study, the VCO was significantly more effective than mineral oil on all subjective and objective measures, including SCORAD, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance, she noted.
Treatment was safe and well tolerated; no differences were noted between the groups with respect to adverse effects.
VCO, which is readily available in health food stores and in many Asian food markets, represents an effective and inexpensive alternative to other commercially available moisturizers for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in children, Dr. Evangelista concluded.
Similarly, in the senile xerosis study, 148 patients with mild to moderate leg xerosis were randomized to receive 2 weeks of twice-daily application of either VCO or mineral oil. The therapeutic response rate was 32.1% in those treated with VCO, compared with 8.9% for those treated with mineral oil, Dr. Mariecon Escuadro reported in a poster at the meeting.
VCO treatment was associated with significant improvement on most subjective and objective measures used in this assessor-blinded study, including the Overall Disability Sum Score (ODSS), patient-assessed efficacy, corneometer reading, and sebumeter reading (relative risk reductions of 60.5%, 27.6%, 51.75%, and 55.5%, respectively), said Dr. Escuadro of the University of the Philippines, Manila.
Scores on the Filipino Dermatology Life Quality Index did not differ significantly between the two groups, nor did adverse events.
VCO in this study was associated with effective and immediate improvement in senile xerosis of the legs in elderly patients, Dr. Escuadro said.
The ACDS Annual Meeting Review Committee reported resolving any real or apparent conflicts of interest prior to presentations being made at the annual meeting.