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doi: 10.2310/6620.2008.08052

Novel Antibacterial and Emollient Effects of Coconut and Virgin Olive Oils in Adult Atopic Dermatitis

Verallo‐Rowell, Vermén M.; Dillague, Kristine M.; Syah‐Tjundawan, Bertha S.

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Background:: Atopic dermatitis (AD) skin is dry and readily colonized by Staphylococcus aureus (SA). Coconut and olive oils are traditionally used to moisturize and treat skin infections.

Objective:: To compare virgin coconut oil (VCO) and virgin olive oil (VOO) in moisturizing dryness and removing SA from colonized AD skin.

Methods:: This was a double‐blind controlled trial in two outpatient dermatology clinics with adult AD patients who were diagnosed by history, pattern, evolution, and skin lesions and who were randomized to apply VCO or VOO twice daily at two noninfected sites. SA cultures, photography, and objective‐SCORAD severity index (O‐SSI) scoring were done at baseline and after 4 weeks.

Results:: Twenty‐six subjects each received VCO or VOO. Of those on VCO, 20 were positive for SA colonies at baseline versus 12 on VOO. Post intervention, only 1 (5%) VCO subject remained positive versus 6 (50%) of those on VOO. Relative risk for VCO was 0.10, significantly superior to that for VOO (10:1, p = .0028; 95% CI, 0.01‐0.73); thus, the number needed to treat was 2.2. For the OSSI, the difference was not significant at baseline (p = .15) but was significantly different post treatment (p = .004); this was reduced for both oils (p < .005) but was greater with VCO.

Conclusion:: VCO and monolaurin's O‐SSI reduction and in vitro broad‐spectrum activity against SA (given clinical validity here), fungi, and viruses may be useful in the proactive treatment of AD colonization.

©2008American Contact Dermatitis Society, All Right Reserved

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