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Gentle Cleansing and Moisturizing for Patients with Atopic Dermatitis and Sensitive Skin


Atopic dermatitis is a common condition characterized by pruritus, inflammation, and dryness of the skin. Inflammation disrupts the barrier function of the stratum corneum, predisposing the skin to be dry, and increases susceptibility to irritants and secondary bacterial infection. Sensitive skin is common, reported by 40–50% of women and 30% of men in the US, Europe, and Japan. Basic requirements in managing eczema and sensitive skin include effective cleansers that do not compromise skin barrier integrity, alleviation of skin dryness, and restoration of skin barrier function through the use of therapeutic moisturizers. The selection of a skin cleanser is therefore an important part of managing these conditions. Studies have reported clinical improvement with the use of soap-free cleansers in combination with topical treatments. While topical corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents are mainstays of treatment for atopic dermatitis, therapeutic moisturizers are important adjuncts. Moisturizers improve skin hydration, reduce susceptibility to irritation, restore the integrity of the stratum corneum, and enhance the efficacy of topical corticosteroids.

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The author has received lecture grants from Galderma and honoraria for participation in the SENSE Advisory Board that led to this publication.

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Correspondence to Wai Kwong Cheong.

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Cheong, W.K. Gentle Cleansing and Moisturizing for Patients with Atopic Dermatitis and Sensitive Skin. AM J Clin Dermatol 10, 13–17 (2009).

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  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Stratum Corneum
  • Topical Corticosteroid
  • Skin Barrier
  • Sensitive Skin