Using emollients helps to calm your skin: Overall, those who use emollients see a reduction in the number of flare-ups, as well as longer times in between flare-ups.
Not only that, but using emollients helps steroids to work better. Research shows that combining topically applied steroids with emollients is more effective than using topical steroids alone, resulting in fewer flare-ups in the long run.
Using emollients also reduces the need for steroids: People using emollients tend to use less topical steroids than people who don't.
Any emollient is better than no emollient: Though evidence clearly points to the benefits of emollients for those living with eczema, there is not enough evidence to suggest that one moisturiser works better than another.
A summary of what the research shows...
People living with eczema have dry and itchy skin as a result of a dysfunctional skin barrier. Applying emollients (also referred to as ‘moisturisers’) is often the first step in treating eczema, as it may relieve some of the most prevalent symptoms such as itching and redness. Furthermore, emollients make the skin softer and restore the skin barrier. That's why emollients are recommended by all dermatologists as part of the treatment regimen when living with eczema.
The advice in this post are the findings from a recently published study on the link between emollients and eczema. A group of dermatologists gathered all newly published research on this specific topic and made a statistical analysis across all studies. In total, the above conclusions are based on 77 different studies with a total of 6603 people with atopic dermatitis (mostly mild-to-moderate eczema).
Title of publication: Emollients and moisturizers for eczema: abridged Cochrane systematic review including GRADE assessments
Date and journal: British Journal of Dermatology, April 2017
Link to article: Br J Dermatol. 2017 Apr 22. doi: 10.1111/bjd.15602.