Novel Antibacterial and Emollient Effects of Coconut and Virgin Olive Oils in Adult Atopic Dermatitis

Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell; Kristine M. Dillague; Bertha S. Syah-Tjundawan


Dermatitis. 2008;19(6):308-315. 

In This Article


A total of 52 subjects met the inclusion criteria and were randomized to receive topical VCO (n = 26) or VOO (n = 26). There were no dropouts or protocol violators. Tests of baseline homogeneity of the sample revealed no statistically significant differences in age (p = .76), sex (p = .78), duration of illness (p = .09), pruritus (p = .515), lesion morphology (p = .58), or family history of atopic dermatitis (p = .26) (see Table 1 ).

The clinically noninfected sites that were (1) chosen and recorded for culture swabs at baseline; (2) identified from photographs, drawings, and anatomic landmarks after 4 weeks of intervention with VCO or VOO, and (3) reswabbed, were the following: antecubital (VCO, 16; VOO, 14), popliteal (VCO, 8; VOO, 9), and trunk (VCO, 2; VOO, 3).

Assessment of the growth effectiveness of the SA cultures was based on the SA culture results (positive or negative colonies) at baseline as compared with postintervention results. Of the 20 patients whose cultures were positive and who were randomized to VCO, 1 subject (5%) remained positive; of the 12 patients whose cultures were positive and who were randomized to the VOO arm, 6 (50%) remained positive. Compared to the VOO arm, the calculated relative risk of nontreatment was 0.10 among those in the VCO arm and was thus superior to that of the control arm. The risk of nontreatment with VOO was 10 times higher (or 1/.10), relative to the VCO arm. The calculated absolute risk reduction was -.45, which means that just two subjects needed to be treated with the VCO (number needed to treat [NNT] = 2) to prevent one treatment failure (or failure to sterilize cultures) ( Table 2 ).

At baseline, no significant difference was seen between the O-SSI scores of the two treatment arms (p = .15), but postintervention scores differed significantly (-4.1; p = .004). Postintervention SCORAD index scores were lower for both oils but were statistically lower in the CO group ( Table 3 and Figure 1). The composite interpretation of SCORAD index scores for both groups was from high moderate to low moderate for the VCO group and "worsened" for the VOO group (Figure 2).

Changes in objective SCORAD index scores from baseline to after intervention.

A, Non-infected atopic dermatitis site before treatment with virgin coconut oil, SCORAD 35. B, The same site 4 weeks after treatment with virgin coconut oil, SCORAD 20.