Atopic dermatitis (AD) affects adults and children and has a negative impact on quality of life. The present multicentre randomized double-blind controlled trial showed a barrier-improving cream (5% urea) to be superior to a reference cream in preventing eczema relapse in patients with AD (hazard ratio 0.634, p = 0.011). The risk of eczema relapse was reduced by 37% (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 10-55%). Median time to relapse in the test cream group and in the reference cream group was 22 days and 15 days, respectively (p = 0.013). At 6 months 26% of the patients in the test cream group were still eczema free, compared with 10% in the reference cream group. Thus, the barrier-improving cream significantly prolonged the eczema-free time compared with the reference cream and decreased the risk of eczema relapse. The test cream was well tolerated in patients with AD.