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Clin Interv Aging. 2014 Jul 17;9:1163-9. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S65448. eCollection 2014.

N-palmitoylethanolamine and N-acetylethanolamine are effective in asteatotic eczema: results of a randomized, double-blind, controlled study in 60 patients.

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Department of Skin and Cosmetic Research, Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital, Shanghai, People's Republic of China.
Research and Studies Center on the Integument, Department of Dermatology, Besançon University Hospital, University of Franche-Comté, Franche-Comté, France.



Asteatotic eczema (AE) is characterized by itchy, dry, rough, and scaling skin. The treatments for AE are mainly emollients, usually containing urea, lactic acid, or a lactate salt. N-palmitoylethanolamine (PEA) and N-acetylethanolamine (AEA) are both endogenous lipids used as novel therapeutic tools in the treatment of many skin diseases. The purpose of this study was to compare a PEA/AEA emollient with a traditional emollient in the treatment of AE.


A monocentric, randomized, double-blind, comparative trial was conducted in 60 AE patients to evaluate and compare the efficacy of the two emollients. The level of skin dryness among the subjects ranged from mild to moderate. The subjects' skin barrier function and the current perception threshold were tested for 28 days by clinical scoring and bioengineering technology.


The results showed that, although some aspects were improved in both groups, the group using the emollient containing PEA/AEA presented a better skin surface change in capacitance. However, the most impressive finding was the ability of the PEA/AEA emollient to increase the 5 Hz current perception threshold to a normal level after 7 days, with a significant difference between values at baseline and after 14 days. A current perception threshold of 5 Hz was positively and significantly correlated with skin surface hydration and negatively correlated with transepidermal water loss in the PEA/AEA emollient group.


Compared with traditional emollients, regular application of a topical PEA/AEA emollient could improve both passive and active skin functions simultaneously.


N-acetylethanolamine; N-palmitoylethanolamine; asteatotic eczema; current perception threshold; pruritus; skin barrier

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