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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 836931, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/836931
Review Article

Management of Patients with Atopic Dermatitis: The Role of Emollient Therapy

JOHNSON & JOHNSON Consumer Companies, Inc., 199 Grandview Road, Skillman, NJ 08558, USA

Received 21 April 2012; Accepted 19 June 2012

Academic Editor: Paul S. Horowitz

Copyright © 2012 M. Catherine Mack Correa and Judith Nebus. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Atopic dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin disorder that afflicts a growing number of young children. Genetic, immune, and environmental factors interact in a complex fashion to contribute to disease expression. The compromised stratum corneum found in atopic dermatitis leads to skin barrier dysfunction, which results in aggravation of symptoms by aeroallergens, microbes, and other insults. Infants—whose immune system and epidermal barrier are still developing—display a higher frequency of atopic dermatitis. Management of patients with atopic dermatitis includes maintaining optimal skin care, avoiding allergic triggers, and routinely using emollients to maintain a hydrated stratum corneum and to improve barrier function. Flares of atopic dermatitis are often managed with courses of topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors. This paper discusses the role of emollients in the management of atopic dermatitis, with particular emphasis on infants and young children.