"Petrolatum USP has long been considered the gold-standard emollient and excipient for wound management," according to Dr Ian White, consultant dermatologist at St John's Institute of Dermatology in London, UK.
But the new trials, presented at the 7th European Society of Contact Dermatitis Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark, suggest that Croda's Medilan and Medilan Ultra set new standards. "These are highly significant findings which will be of great interest to dermatologists everywhere," he said.
The first study compared Medilan to petrolatum in the management of cracked, dry skin in contact dermatitis, caused by an allergic or inflammatory response to something the patient has come in contact with. Medilan or petrolatum were applied to the affected area twice a day over a two-week treatment period.
Croda's emollient reduced the symptoms of the condition - dryness, scaling, cracks, abrasions, pain and itch - to zero. But in the petrolatum group, mild signs of dryness/scaling and cracks/abrasions remained.
Croda says that the superiority of its lanolin product stems from its higher moisturising power and barrier repair properties.
In the second study, Croda's Medilan Ultra product was compared to petrolatum or no treatment in patients with blisters on their forearms that had the top taken off. These 'de-roofed' blisters are a common way of testing wound healing preparations in volunteers.
The emollients were applied twice daily, and wound sites were clinically assessed each day for 10 days. As early as the second day, wounds treated with Medilan Ultra were less swollen and inflamed than in the petrolatum or untreated groups. By day eight, glyphic lines - a sign that the skin is started to regenerate and cover a wound - were visible in the Medilan Ultra group but not the others, and at the end of the trial, these lines were more advanced with Croda's product.
Croda maintains that Medilan Ultra is better at healing wounds because it creates a covering membrane that lets them breathe but maintains a moist environment. Hydration plays an important role in the wound healing process, and it has been demonstrated that wounds in moist environments typically heal faster with less scab and scar formation.