The clinical benefit of moisturizers

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2005 Nov;19(6):672-88; quiz 686-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2005.01326.x.


Moisturizing creams marketed to consumers often contain trendy ingredients and are accompanied by exciting names and attractive claims. Moisturizers are also an important part of the dermatologist's armamentarium to treat dry skin conditions and maintain healthy skin. The products can be regarded as cosmetics, but may also be regulated as medicinal products if they are marketed against dry skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis. When moisturizers are used on the so-called dry skin, many distinct disorders that manifest themselves with the generally recognized symptoms of dryness are treated. Dryness is not a single entity, but is characterized by differences in chemistry and morphology in the epidermis depending on the internal and external stressors of the skin. Patients and the society expect dermatologists and pharmacists to be able to recommend treatment for various dry skin conditions upon evidence-based medicine.

Learning objective: Upon completing this paper, the reader should be aware of different types of moisturizers and their major constituents. Furthermore, s/he will know more about the relief of dryness symptoms and the functional changes of the skin induced by moisturizers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Emollients / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis / therapy*
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects*
  • Skin Care / methods*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects*


  • Emollients