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07-06-2012 | Article

Antioxidant cream may protect against skin irritation from cleaning products


Free abstract

MedWire News: Applying a cream containing antioxidants to the skin before using cleaning products may help to prevent associated skin irritation, particularly for people who such products regularly, say German scientists.

Antioxidants include compounds such as vitamin C, and it is thought that they may help to reduce the skin rawness or contact dermatitis that occurs in many people after direct skin exposure to irritants or allergens such as those in cleaning products. However, there have been few studies into the protective effect of antioxidants against contact dermatitis in humans.

Christoph Schempp, from University Medical Center Freiberg, and colleagues therefore created a series of experiments that would have a similar effect to working in a humid environment with repeated usage of washing products.

Specifically, they compared the effects of no cream, a normal base cream, a protective barrier cream, and a special cream containing four antioxidants on the likelihood of developing contact dermatitis in 25 healthy volunteers whose forearms were washed with the cleaning product ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate three times daily for 7 days.

The cleaning product caused strong irritation of the skin over the washing period, with drying of the skin, increased blood flow, and other signs of inflammation. While the base cream and barrier cream had some effect in reducing inflammation, the antioxidant had by far the greatest effect, even increasing skin hydration levels above normal readings.

"The data from the present study show the specific ability of the antioxidant cream to prevent the development of...irritant contact dermatitis, as it was superior to the corresponding cream base in all of the parameters evaluated," the researchers conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Liam Davenport