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Ann Dermatol. 2010 May;22(2):143-8. doi: 10.5021/ad.2010.22.2.143. Epub 2010 May 17.

Effectiveness of Topical Chia Seed Oil on Pruritus of End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Patients and Healthy Volunteers.

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Research Division, NeoPharm Co., Ltd., Daejeon, Korea.



Several studies have been performed to evaluate the efficacy of dietary n-3 fatty acid for patients with renal dysfunction. While about 40% to 80% of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) complain about pruritus and xerosis, there are few reports on the effects of topical n-3 fatty acid on these symptoms.


In order to investigate the possible beneficial effects of topical n-3 fatty acid, oils extracted from chia (Salvia hispanica) seed were formulated into topical products, the effects of which were measured.


Five healthy volunteers having xerotic pruritus symptoms and 5 patients with pruritus caused by either ESRD or diabetes were involved in this study. A topical formulation containing 4% chia seed oils were applied for an 8-week duration. Subjective itching symptoms were assessed on a 6-point scale, as were other skin functions, namely transepidermal water loss and skin capacitance.


After the 8 weeks of application, significant improvements in skin hydration, lichen simplex chronicus, and prurigo nodularis were observed in all patients. A similar improvement was also observed among healthy volunteers with xerotic pruritus. Improvement of epidermal permeability barrier function and skin hydration, represented by trans-epidermal water loss and skin capacitance, respectively, were also observed. No adverse effects were observed in all the tested patients and volunteers.


Chia seed oil can be used as an adjuvant moisturizing agent for pruritic skin, including that of ESRD patients.


Alpha-linolenic acid; Chia seed oil; End-stage renal failure; Omega-3 fatty acids; Pruritus

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