Dry skin is a common skin condition as well as a key aspect of a number of diseases such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis but also of other diseases and systemic conditions. Dry skin has an impact on the patient in terms of discomfort, pruritus and impaired quality of life. Within the overall treatment regimen for these diseases, the use of emollients to manage dry skin plays a considerable role in managing skin conditions. In atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, emollients help to improve skin condition and to reduce pruritus alongside more potent pharmacological agents. It is important to choose an emollient that not only soothes and rehydrates the skin but also offers numerous other dermatological supporting roles, especially induction of proper epidermal differentiation. This review will explain the role of emollients within the management of diseases with dry skin as a major symptom and the components of an ideal emollient.

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