Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Frequent Soaks Ease Pediatric Atopic Dermatitis

Key clinical point: Twice-daily soaking baths followed by occlusive moisturizer significantly improved atopic dermatitis in children.

Major finding: Children given twice-daily soaking baths reduced atopic dermatitis severity by 21.2 compared with those given twice-weekly soaks.

Study details: Randomized, single-blind study of 42 children aged 6 months to 11 years with atopic dermatitis.

Disclosures: The researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose.


Cardona ID et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2019 Nov 13. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2019.10.042.


The “soak and smear” technique of treating eczema is often advocated by practitioners. This study lends further support to its use. We have known that simple soaking or bathing alone, without the use of moisturizers afterward may actually cause the skin to dry out more. Applying a moisturizer within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath is recommended to trap moisture and reduce transepidermal water loss. The only negative aspect of this treatment is that it is fairly time-consuming and may be messy, but it is an inexpensive option for effective treatment.— Joseph Fowler, Jr., MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of Louisville, KY