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When it comes to managing your child’s mild to moderate atopic dermatitis, an over-the-counter option might be closer than you think. A recent study has shed light on the benefits of using 1% colloidal oatmeal cream for African American children. Let’s dive into the main findings.

  • A 1% over-the-counter colloidal oatmeal cream showed promising results for children with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis.
  • The cream was found to be just as effective and safe as prescription barrier creams.
  • Both treatments showed significant improvements in reducing the severity of eczema symptoms.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common skin condition that often develops in early childhood. If you’re a parent dealing with this, you might notice differences in how it arises based on race. Studies show Black children are more likely to be diagnosed with AD and often present with more severe symptoms than their White counterparts. 

The appearance of thick, leathery skin (known as lichenification) and itchy bumps (called prurigo nodularis) is more prevalent in Black patients. Factors such as genetics, where an individual lives, and even their financial situation can all play a role in whether a person will develop AD.

Why Colloidal Oatmeal Cream? 

Colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient found in many skincare products, is recognized by the US Food & Drug Administration as effective for treating eczema symptoms. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to restore the skin barrier, promote healing, and reduce water loss from the skin. If you’ve been looking for an OTC option for your child, this could provide a solution.

Study Findings 

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In the study, African American children aged 2–15 years with mild or moderate AD were treated with either an oatmeal cream or a prescription barrier cream. Results showed that:

  • Both groups saw improvements in eczema symptoms starting in the first week.
  • By the third week, the oatmeal cream was found to be just as effective and safe as the prescription cream.
  • Children and caregivers reported greater satisfaction with the oatmeal cream than with the product they normally used, praising its ease of application and suggesting that it could be ideal for daily use.

Implications for Your Child 

If your child is struggling with mild to moderate AD, colloidal oatmeal cream might be an accessible and effective solution. Not only is it easy to apply, but its OTC status also makes it more readily available for those facing challenges with insurance or access to care. However, while this cream can offer symptom relief, it doesn’t replace other prescribed treatments, like corticosteroids. It’s best to consider it as part of an overall treatment plan.

Managing your child’s AD can be a journey, but knowing there are effective and accessible options like colloidal oatmeal cream can make the journey a bit smoother. If considering this route, always consult your child’s dermatologist to ensure it’s the right fit for their unique needs.


Lisante, T. A., Kizoulis, M., Nuñez, C., & Hartman, C. L. (2023). A 1% colloidal oatmeal OTC cream is clinically effective for the management of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in Black or African American children. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 34(1), 2241587. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546634.2023.2241587.

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