The effectiveness of specialist bath products that claim to relieve allergic eczema has been questioned in a new report.
The article in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin concludes there is "no evidence" to suggest bath emollients work, and says questions remain as to how these products compare against others.
Emollients are used to improve the symptoms of dry skin problems and reduce use of steroid creams. The theory is they prevent water loss from the skin and form a protective barrier against skin irritants.
According to the DTB, the NHS spends more than £16m a year on bath emollients, almost 40% of the cost of eczema treatments prescribed for preschool children.
The article suggests there is some published research to back up the experience of healthcare professionals that normal emollients applied to the skin are effective.
But the study calls for proper evaluation on the use of bath emollients, especially as they are recommended by the British Association of Dermatologists.