A new era of moisturizers

Neha Chandan*, Jeffrey R. Rajkumar, Vivian Y. Shi, Peter A. Lio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Moisturizers traditionally function to replenish both the intercellular lipid lamella and natural moisturizing factors, and form a hydrolipid film on the skin surface to decrease transepidermal water loss and improve hydration. As we continue to identify epidermal lipid imbalance in patients with atopic dermatitis, we turn to the use of bioactive ingredients in moisturizers for improving barrier repair and function. Methods: This review aims to explore the modern use of moisturizers in targeting various components of the skin barrier, dampening immune response, and restoring microbial balance. We conducted a balanced and comprehensive narrative review of the literature. Studies were identified by searching electronic databases (MEDLINE and PubMed), focusing on studies and trials regarding moisturizers that include endocannabinoids, bioactive lipids, anti-inflammatory agents, antioxidants, and microbiome modulators. Only articles published in English language were included. Results: The aforementioned ingredients exert additional biological effects to improve skin function by upregulating lipid synthesis, decreasing neurosensory transmission of itch signals, reversing oxidative stress, decreasing inflammatory cell activity and cytokine release, and modulating skin microbiota. The shift from traditional moisturizers to those with bioactive ingredients, anti-inflammatory agents, and microbiome modulating effects opens a realm of possible therapeutic options for patients with barrier-defective cutaneous conditions. Conclusion: Focusing on the disrupted skin barrier as a target for both prevention and treatment and incorporating a combined strategy that utilizes the aforementioned agents to tackle barrier dysfunction from different angles remains a promising area for clinical impact in dermatology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2425-2430
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cosmetic Dermatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • atopic dermatitis
  • barrier
  • moisturizer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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