Background: Dry skin is a common skin condition in childhood. Few studies exist investigating the influence of daily skin care on dry skin in infants at risk of developing atopic dermatitis (AD). We aimed to assess the effect of skin care on dry skin in this special cohort using validated scores for AD and analysis of skin microtopography. Methods: 43 children were randomized to group 1 (G1) and group 2 (G2) and 22 infants to group 3 (G3). During 16 weeks, G1 and G3 applied daily a plant-based emollient and G2 a petrolatum-based emollient. The core outcome was assessed by Severity Scoring of Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) and Patient-Oriented SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (PO-SCORAD). The influence on the parents' life was evaluated by a questionnaire and microtopography by Visioscan® VC 98. Results: The SCORAD index declined significantly until week (W) 16 in all groups (p ≤ 0.041). The sleeplessness score analyzed by PO-SCORAD was highly reduced after W12 in G1 and after W16 in G2 (p ≤ 0.030). The influence on the parents' anxiety was reduced in G3 at W12 and W16 (p = 0.016). The Visioscan parameter scaliness strongly diminished at W4 (p ≤ 0.049) and W16 (p ≤ 0.013) in all groups. Conclusions: This trial demonstrates improved skin conditions and sleep following daily emollient application in infants and children having dry skin and being at risk of AD. Especially parents of infants showed a reduced fear that their children might develop AD. Further studies are required to investigate the preventive effect of daily emollient therapy in this special cohort evaluating the outcome measures used in this trial.

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