HealthDay News — For infants with atopic dermatitis, topical application of human breast milk has the same efficacy as hydrocortisone 1% ointment, according to a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology.

It is estimated that about 50% of infants are affected by atopic eczema in the first years of their lives, noted Hengameh Kasrae, from the Arak University of Medical Sciences in Iran, and colleagues.

To examine the short-term efficacy of topical application of human breast milk versus hydrocortisone ointment in infants with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis, the researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial. Infants diagnosed with atopic dermatitis within a pediatric unit were randomized to receive human breast milk or hydrocortisone.

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At days zero, seven, 14, and 21, there were no significant differences between the groups, reported the investigators. The interventions in both groups demonstrated similar effects.

“The results of the present study suggest that the human breast milk can improve infant atopic eczema with the same results as 1% hydrocortisone ointment,” concluded the scientists.

“We recommend the use of human breast milk for curing infant atopic eczema due to its healing effect and availability.”


  1. Kasrae H et al. International Journal of Dermatology. 2015; doi: 10.1111/ijd.12764