Shielding Lotion vs Moisturizer

Most literature about atopic dermatitis and eczema will talk about how you should use a good moisturizer all the time, to keep your skin in good shape and less susceptible to external irritants.
Today, I came across a few products that claim a new product type, the _shielding lotion_, which they explicitly differentiate from a moisturizer. A couple examples are “Gloves in a bottle”:http://www.glovesinabottle.com and “Skin MD”:http://www.skinmdnatural.com.
Both of these products claim that instead of just trying to supply moisture to the skin, the correct approach is to create a lotion that has barrier-forming elements that semi-permanently bond with your skin, and that this has the dual effect of keeping irritants out and keeping natural skin moisture in.
I suppose this is somewhat in line with the new topical ceramide-based approaches as well (in that they all aim for a significant reduction in TEWL, trans-epidermal water loss), but if you look at the ingredients list for each, they seem very very similar to the standard moisturizers out there on the market already. The standard humectant + dimethicone + preservatives + thickeners formula. This makes it hard to tell if the formulations really are different, or if it’s just marketing bullshit.
Anyhow, I’m not about to waste a huge amount of my time trying to do all the research before I put some money down. The Gloves in a Bottle product is less than $20 for a bottle (with shipping) so I’m willing to give it a try and find out for myself. The “few reviews”:http://www.amazon.com/Gloves-In-A-Bottle-8oz/dp/B0001YSKBG/sr=8-1/qid=1165138315/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5399795-2780424?ie=UTF8&s=hpc that I found on Amazon seem somewhat promising.
I’ll have to report back on the actual results.

Listening to Mozart helps with Allergic Skin Reactions?

Smells of the Mozart Effect claims, but this one seems to have also have some scientific experiments behind it.
Apparently, listening to Mozart reduces “allergic skin wheal responses in atopic dermatitis patients”:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GDQ/is_1_29/ai_n6032933.
Sounds pretty out there, but there’s no harm in trying I guess. The same researcher, Hajime Kimata, has also written about how laughter, kissing, and crying with tears all beneficially modulate the body’s allergic response.
*Update*: “Here’a an article”:http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4918 talking about the molecular basis for the Mozart Effect. It’s from 2004, and seems less controversial than the original study.

Early evening for Topical Steroids

“A page from eczemaguide.com”:http://www.eczemaguide.com/eczema_treatments/topical/topical_corticosteroids.html claims that “early evening” is the best time to apply topical steroids, though provides no scientific reason why that’s the case.
There are a lot of pages that have a breakdown of corticosteroids by potency, but the group them into vague groups such as “mild” and “potent,” whereas most doctors carry around the chart that has the the actual 7-class potency breakdown. I was able to find “this pdf”:http://www.skinandaging.com/docs/DrugGuide1006.pdf that breaks down the common ones along the same 7 classes, as well as in another dimension related to their chemical structure.

Safety of Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors

There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding the safety of topical tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) for the treatment of AD, in terms of whether there is a risk that they cause cancer. It all climaxed with the FDA sending out “black box warnings” on these products.
“Here’s an article”:http://www.skinandaging.com/article/5886 that surveys several dermatologists to see whether their prescribing strategies have changed since the warnings were added.
There were a few several interesting points for me:
* Seems most dermatologists don’t think the warning is warranted. Particularly, it was interesting that one said that it was more the primary care physician that would take patients off the prescription instead of the dermatologist. But who knows how the dermatologists in this article were selected.
* The animal studies which lead to cancer claims were for the oral form of the drugs, not the topical form. Of course it’s going to get a lot more in your bloodstream if you eat it instead of rubbing it against your skin. It’s still unclear how much of it has to get into your bloodstream before it starts becoming dangerous.
* TCI’s have lots of studies about them (both orally and topically administered forms). Some of the topical corticosteroids don’t have as many studies. How do we know that they’re any better?