This study evaluates the influence of mineral oil and linoleic-acid-containing emulsions on the skin vapour loss (SVL) of detergent-induced irritant skin reactions. During a period of 2 weeks, 2 × 45 min applications of a sodium lauryl sulphate solution of low molarity were performed on the forearm of 9 volunteers. In the same period, a standard amount of each emulsion was applied on the induced irritant skin reactions, 3 times each day. The effect of the emulsions on the barrier function of the skin was evaluated by means of SVL measurements. The emulsion based on mineral greases significantly reduced SVL values during both weeks, possibly because of an occlusive effect. The emulsion with 15% of linoleic acid significantly reduced SVL values during the 1st week but not during the 2nd week. The emulsion with 38% of linoleic acid did not reduce SVL values at all.