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Ages 0-18, Atopic Dermatitis, Eczema, Emollient



  1. Barfield, Amanda
  2. Brown, Hope
  3. Pernell, Paige
  4. Woodard, Jessica


Background and Purpose: Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that can develop in early childhood and affects 15%-30% of children. The purposes of this research were to review the literature and critique the evidence to better understand the use of emollient therapy in atopic dermatitis.


Methods: A literature review was performed using the databases CINAHL, Cochrane, and MEDLINE and the clinical decision-making resource UptoDate.


Findings: Recent specialty research has begun to focus on the multifactorial triggers that predispose a child to develop atopic dermatitis and subsequent burden of sequelae later in life. Evidence is beginning to show that long-term control of atopic conditions is better achieved using primary prevention measures.


Conclusions: Emollient therapy is a low-risk primary prevention intervention that has been shown to have a steroid-sparing effect. Effective emollient therapy may also prevent the development of atopic dermatitis in at-risk populations. An algorithm or clinical tool is needed to assist primary care providers in the selection of an emollient, how to apply an emollient when used concurrently with a topical rescue medication, and how to adequately educate parents of the importance of primary prevention in the long-term management of atopic dermatitis.