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Occlusives are a class of substances used in dermatology that work by forming a protective barrier on the surface of the skin. This barrier plays a crucial role in skin care and the management of various dermatological conditions.

Occlusives are a vital component in skincare, particularly for conditions characterized by impaired skin barrier function and excessive dryness. Their ability to lock in moisture and protect the skin from external irritants makes them invaluable in both therapeutic and preventive dermatology.

Physiological effects of Occlusives
  1. Moisture Retention: Occlusives reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL) by creating a physical barrier over the skin, which traps moisture and prevents its evaporation, thereby keeping the skin hydrated.
  2. Skin Barrier Enhancement: They help in enhancing the skin's natural barrier function, protecting against environmental irritants and harmful substances.
  3. Soothing Effect: By preventing water loss and protecting the skin, occlusives can have a soothing effect, particularly on dry, irritated, or compromised skin.
  4. Improved Skin Texture: Regular use of occlusive agents can lead to improved skin texture, making the skin appear smoother and softer.
Role in Managing Dermatological Conditions
  1. Dry Skin Conditions (Xerosis): Occlusives are essential in the management of dry skin, helping to maintain hydration and reduce scaliness and itching.
  2. Eczema and Atopic Dermatitis: They are commonly used in the treatment of eczema and atopic dermatitis to hydrate the skin and reduce symptoms like itching and inflammation.
  3. Psoriasis: In psoriasis, occlusives can help in managing scaling and dryness, and are often used in combination with other topical treatments.
  4. Wound Healing: Occlusives can be used in wound care to maintain a moist environment, which is conducive to healing.
  5. Prevention of Irritant Contact Dermatitis: They protect the skin from irritants, especially in individuals with occupational exposures to harsh chemicals or frequent hand washing.
  • Rawlings, A. V., & Harding, C. R. (2004). Moisturization and skin barrier function. Dermatologic Therapy.
  • Lodén, M. (2003). Role of Topical Emollients and Moisturizers in the Treatment of Dry Skin Barrier Disorders. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.
  • Proksch, E., & Lachapelle, J. M. (2005). The Management of Dry Skin with Topical Emollients. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.