Using emollients helps to calm your skin: Overall, when comparing people who use emollients with those that do not, those who use emollients have beneficial effects in terms of reducing the number of flare-ups and prolonging the time to flare-ups
Using emollients help steroids work better: Combining topically applied steroids with emollients is more effective than using topical steroids alone, resulting in fewer flare ups in the long run.
Using emollients reduces need for steroids: People using emollients use less topical steroids than people not using emollients
Any emollient is better than no emollient: Though evidence clearly points to the benefits of emollients for those living with eczema, there is not enough evidence suggesting that one moisturiser works better than another.
So, to summarise...
People living with atopic dermatitis have dry and itchy skin due to a dysfunctional skin barrier. Applying emollients (also referred to as ‘moisturisers’) is often the first step in treating the chronic inflammatory skin condition, because it may relieve some of the symptoms such as itching. Furthermore, emollients make the skin softer and restore the skin barrier. Therefore, emollients are recommended by all dermatologists as part of the treatment regimen when living with eczema.
The advice in this post are the findings from a recently published study on the link between emollients and eczema. A group of dermatologists recently gathered all newly published research on this specific topic and made a statistical analysis across all studies. In total, the above conclusions are based on 77 different studies with a total of 6603 people with atopic dermatitis (mostly mild-to-moderate eczema).
Title of publication: Emollients and moisturizers for eczema: abridged Cochrane systematic review including GRADE assessments
Date and journal: British Journal of Dermatology, April 2017
Link to article: Br J Dermatol. 2017 Apr 22. doi: 10.1111/bjd.15602.