Steroid-sparing effect of emollients in atopic dermatitis and psoriasis


  • Dipesh M. Waghmare Department of Medical Affairs, Ipca Laboratories, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Indranil Purkait Department of Medical Affairs, Ipca Laboratories, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Anil Pareek Department of Medical Affairs, Ipca Laboratories, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India



Emollients, Psoriasis, Atopic dermatitis


The aim of the present article is to analyze the role of emollients in the topical management of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis and also to review the clinical studies available on the beneficial effect of co-therapy of emollients and topical corticosteroids. Understanding the stratum corneum's key involvement in the pathophysiology of atopic dermatitis and psoriasis has led to the development of new therapeutic approaches for treating not just inflammation but also restoring a healthy skin barrier. While topical corticosteroids are the cornerstones of treatment for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, the potential risks of overuse (including atrophy, striae, dyspigmentation, and loss in epidermal barrier homeostasis) must be weighed against the benefits. These risks futher increase the necessity of finding non-steroidal treatments. Emollients aid the epidermal barrier function as they improve the oil and lipid levels and restore its protective function. Used regularly, emollients may reduce flare-ups and may also have a direct anti-inflammatory effect and may reduce the need to use topical corticosteroids, i.e. they have a ‘steroid sparing effect’.


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