Atopic dermatitis (AD), also called atopic eczema, is a common, chronic, recurrent, inflammatory disorder of the skin which affects 5 percent of children worldwide and perhaps more.

Moisturizers bring some relief but studies from PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane library identified relevant studies from their inception through 28 February, 2022 and the systematic review and network meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials involving 3,483 infants found that they can also prevent eczema in high-risk infants.  They evaluated the quality of eligible studies using the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool. Data analysis was performed using STATA 14.0.

Three types of emollients, moisturizers, including cream, emulsion (the combination of two fluids that usually don't mix), and mixed types were comparable in preventing atopic dermatitis; however, an additional analysis suggested that emollient emulsion may be the best option.

In specific, they found that early application of emollients effectively prevented AD development in high-risk infants (risk ratio [RR], 0.64; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.88). Network meta-analysis suggested that emollient emulsion might the better option for preventing infant AD development, with a surface under the cumulative ranking curve (SUCRA) of 82.6 percent for all populations, 78.0 percent for high-risk populations and 79.2 percent for populations with food sensitization.