This may be the key to a multi-billion dollar health problem

This may be the key to a multi-billion dollar health problem

Vaseline® may be the cost-effective key to preventing childhood eczema, according to one study. Results show that applying petroleum jelly, the generic name for Vaseline®, regularly for the first six months of a child’s life can head off this itchy, and expensive, skin condition.

Researchers found that applying seven common moisturizers daily or at least five times a week reduced the chances of developing eczema by 50 percent. But, the cheapest option – petroleum jelly – worked just as well as the other more expensive options.

A recent Cleveland Clinic study showed that families caring for a child with the costly skin disorder can spend as much as 35 percent of their spending money, an average of $274 per month, treating the condition. The researchers from the petroleum jelly study estimated an average six-month preventive supply of Vaseline® would cost $7.30.

“So many children suffer greatly from the itching and swelling of eczema,” says Dr. Sandra McGowan, a family medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill. “And so many parents, willing to do just about anything to ease their children’s pain, suffer from the economic burden of dealing with the condition.”

Eczema impacts nearly 20 percent of children in some states and costs the U.S. healthcare system as much as 3.8 billion dollars every year.

“Eczema, with the itching, infections and other complications, can be a terrible disease for children and their families to deal with,” says Dr. McGowan. “It would be a great benefit to very many families if we can fight this condition cheaply and effectively.”

Both the National Eczema Association and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend petroleum jelly as a moisturizer for treatment.

“Many physicians recommend petroleum jelly for eczema because it is generally well tolerated and doesn’t sting, even for the very young, or very sensitive,” says Dr. McGowan. “For those concerned about impurities in petroleum jelly, there are other options, but Vaseline® has proven to be a very good value in the fight against eczema.”

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  1. JOYCE Whitehead March 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm · Reply

    Will using Vaseline also work for adults?

  2. I have use Real Vaseline since I was 15 and now I am 75. No wrinkles. Use it at night and in the morning. I also wash my face with Zest soap and hot water since then. Hosptials will not let you bring it in ( don’t tell them). They claim you will swell up if you have to have oxygen. Never happened to me.

  3. carol a. sanders March 18, 2017 at 3:48 am · Reply

    I have a lot of allergies, and had more as a child. when I had chapped hands, around 10, I tried Vaseline, at night with mittens, and woke with hives, so be careful. and watch for reactions, I think it didn’t happen right away, but within the first week.

  4. You will BLOW UP, as in catch fire if you mix Oxygen and Vaseline ,lipstick, etc. Hope someone clarifies it to this lady.

  5. I have an extreme case of eczema. was using all types of products fro shea butter coconut oil and other various natural remedies. To no avail, none of these things worked. Ine day something told me too back old school and get some petroleum jelly and use it. I remember the older people always raving on its powers. To my surprise, it worked almost instantly. Within two days my dry cracked itchy hands that I was suffering with for months healed. Every night I place a small amount on my hands before going to bed and since doing that I haven’t had dry itchy eczema hands. So despite what some articles say about “THE JELLY”, it works for me.

About the Author

Nate Llewellyn
Nate Llewellyn

Nate Llewellyn, health enews contributor, is a manager of public affairs at Advocate Medical Group. Nate began his career as a journalist and builds daily on his nearly 20 years of writing experience. He spends most of his free time following his wife to their two sons’ various activities.