Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 13 : It may feel nice against the skin, but a recent study has found that wearing silk clothing offers no additional benefit for children who suffer from moderate to severe eczema.
The University of Nottingham research revealed that wearing specialist silk garments did not reduce the severity of eczema for the children taking part, not did it reduce the amount of creams and ointments used for their eczema, or the number of skin infections experienced.
Lead author Kim Thomas said: "The silk garments that we looked at as part of this trial did not appear to provide additional clinical or economic benefits over standard care for the management of children with eczema." "These results provide robust evidence to inform health commissioners and prescribers in making informed clinical decisions about the treatment of their patients," she added.
The CLOTHing for the relief of Eczema Symptoms trial (CLOTHES trial), which involved recruiting hospitals from across the UK, was the first large, randomised controlled trial to evaluate the use of silk garments (DermaSilk or Dreamskin) for children with moderate to severe eczema.
Clothing has been thought to play a role in either soothing or making eczema symptoms worse, and specialist clothing is now available on prescription in the UK in a variety of forms (including silk).
The participants were given either Dermasilk or Dreamskin clothing - the two brands of garments available on prescription at the time the trial was designed.
Both brands are made with antimicrobially-protected, knitted, sericin-free 100 percent silk. The participants were given three sets of long-sleeved vest and leggings (or body suits and leggings depending on the age of the child) and were instructed to wear the clothing as often as possible during the day and night.
All the children continued with their regular use of emollient creams and topical corticosteroids for controlling inflammation, and were asked not to change their standard treatment for the duration of the trial if possible.
Thomas added: "Whilst some may find these results disappointing, we hope that patients and doctors will find the CLOTHES study useful in helping them to make informed decisions about how best to help children with eczema.
Unfortunately, this trial suggests that silk clothing probably does not provide value for money for patients or for the NHS." The research appears in PLOS Medicine.