Natural advances in eczema care

Cutis. 2007 Dec;80(6 Suppl):2-16.


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic relapsing dermatitis characterized by increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and subjective symptoms of pruritus, inflammation, skin sensitivity, and dryness. AD is a frequent issue for individuals of color, though it may be underrecognized. Therapy for AD is based on reducing pruritus and inflammation, and normalizing skin surface lipids, particularly ceramides. Topical corticosteroids are the gold-standard treatment for controlling disease flares, but a variety of active natural ingredients can be used adjunctively to help control itch, inflammation, and dryness. Oatmeal, particularly avenanthramides, a newly discovered oat fraction, may be of particular value in restoring the cutaneous barrier and reducing symptoms of AD. Feverfew, licorice, and dexpanthenol also have been shown to be effective in the management of inflammation. Licorice, which has some skin-lightening activity, may be helpful in patients with postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). The compromised skin barrier in AD is especially vulnerable to UV radiation exposure. Several new long-lasting photostable sunscreen ingredients provide longer durations of protection with improved cosmetic attributes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Eczema / diagnosis
  • Eczema / metabolism
  • Eczema / therapy*
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Melanoma / prevention & control
  • Mutation
  • Phytotherapy
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use
  • Water Loss, Insensible


  • Ceramides
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • filaggrin