There is little published literature on the effects of skin contactants during early infancy on eventual development of atopic dermatitis (AD). The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a relationship exists between the use of skin care products in early infancy and the subsequent development of AD. We studied a group of 54 Kenyan children with AD and 63 age and sex matched controls. Emollients had been used to lubricate the skin during early infancy in a similar proportion of children in both groups (odds ratio = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.14, 0.80). Similarly, no association was found between the use of toilet soaps or laundry detergents in early infancy and development of AD. These findings suggest that baby soaps and vaseline petroleum jelly can safely be used in the skin care of AD susceptible individuals.