Emollients are often considered an essential part of the management of many dry skin conditions such as dermatitis and psoriasis. They act by mimicking the barrier effect of surface lipids that are defective in diseased skin: this increases hydration of the keratin of the stratum corneum.1 Clinically, this leads to a softer, more supple skin and potentially a reduced need for topical corticosteroid applications.1 Emulsiderm (Dermal) and Oilatum Plus (Stiefel) bath additives and Dermol 500 (Dermal) lotion are emollient preparations containing antiseptics, which are licensed for the treatment of dry skin conditions. We assess the manufacturers' claim that the presence of antiseptics enhances the emollients' therapeutic effect by acting against Staphylococcus aureus in the skin.
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