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Emollients
Emollients

Emollients play a crucial role in dermatological care, primarily by enhancing skin hydration and barrier function. Here's a brief overview of their physiological effects and roles in managing various skin conditions:

Physiological Effects of Emollients:
  1. Hydration of Stratum Corneum: Emollients increase moisture content in the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin, by reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This is achieved through occlusion, which traps water in the skin.
  2. Restoration of Skin Barrier Function: They aid in replenishing the lipid barrier of the skin, which is essential for maintaining skin integrity and protective function.
  3. Soothing and Smoothing Effects: Emollients smooth flaky skin cells, making the skin surface appear smoother. They also provide a soothing effect, which can reduce itching and discomfort.
  4. Anti-inflammatory Properties: Some emollients have ingredients that offer mild anti-inflammatory benefits, helping to reduce redness and irritation.
Role in Managing Dermatological Conditions:
  1. Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema): Emollients are a cornerstone in the management of eczema, helping to maintain skin hydration, reduce flare-ups, and minimize the need for topical corticosteroids.
  2. Psoriasis: Regular use of emollients can reduce scaling and dryness associated with psoriasis, improving the efficacy of other topical treatments.
  3. Ichthyosis and Xerosis: These conditions characterized by dry, scaly skin benefit significantly from emollients, which help in hydrating and softening the skin.
  4. Aging Skin: Emollients improve the appearance of aging skin by hydrating and reducing the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles.
  5. Skin Protection: In individuals with incontinence or those bedridden, emollients can protect the skin from irritation and breakdown.
References
  • Proksch, E., & Lachapelle, J. M. (2005). The Management of Dry Skin with Topical Emollients. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.
  • Lynde, C. W. (2001). Moisturizers: What They Are and a Practical Approach to Product Selection. Skin Therapy Letter.
  • Lodén, M. (2003). Role of Topical Emollients and Moisturizers in the Treatment of Dry Skin Barrier Disorders. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.