Which emollients are recommended for the treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Frequently recommended emollients are hydrophobic and ointment-based; these include Vaseline petrolatum jelly, Crisco, vegetable oil, Aquaphor, and Elta. Occasionally, parents may find these agents too greasy for everyday use, and cream-based alternatives may be offered. Common creams include DML Forte, Moisturel, Aveeno, Curel, Purpose, Dermasil, Neutrogena, and Eucerin. This latter group of moisturizers is less effective because of the weaker occlusive effects of creams as compared to ointments; thus, they should be used only if the ointment-based emollients are not well tolerated.

The newest type of moisturizing product is a ceramide-dominant, lipid-based emollient (TriCeram) aimed at repairing the stratum corneum barrier function lost in atopic dermatitis. One study showed a significant decrease in clinical severity scores and a decrease in transepidermal water loss in children whose traditional moisturizers were replaced by TriCeram for 3 weeks. [28] Other ceramide-containing preparations are also on the market. [29]

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