Three hundred children are being recruited for a clinical trial to establish whether or not specialist silk clothing really does help in the treatment of eczema.
The £1m Clothing for the relief of Eczema Symptoms trial (CLOTHES) is being led by Professor Kim Thomas from the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology at The University of Nottingham with support from clothing distributors Espere and DreamSkin.
Researchers will compare the use of silk clothing plus normal eczema care, to normal eczema care alone as Prof Thomas says the protective and antimicrobial properties of silk clothing have only been explored in small studies previously.
She added: "There have been some ‘impressive’ claims recently promoting specialist silk clothing as a new treatment option for people with eczema.
"However, it is still unclear if these garments really do provide additional benefits for patients. We are carrying out the first large-scale independent, randomised controlled trial of silk clothing for the management of eczema in children to establish whether or not these new products live up to the claims that are currently being made."
Children enrolled in the study will be put into one of two groups. The first group will receive three sets of silk underwear — this will be either a bodysuit and leggings, or vest and leggings depending on the child’s age. The children will be asked to wear the clothing underneath their normal clothes for six months.
Those who do not receive the clothing straight away will be given the clothing to try for themselves for two months after the first six months of the trial has finished. Throughout the trial all of the children will be free to continue with their usual eczema treatments, such as moisturisers and topical steroids.
Each child will be enrolled in the trial for eight months and will be asked to attend their local recruiting hospital on four different occasions throughout the trial period. Parents will be asked to complete a weekly questionnaire at home so that they can track how the eczema has been and how often the clothing has been worn.
For more information contact the trial team on 0115 8844938 or visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/clothes