I think it is quite reasonable that childhood skin care practices is involved in the increase in atopic dermatis (AD) according to a recent review.
Kelleher and colleagues found skin barrier dysfunction precedes AD development. Thus, soaps and detergents may aggravate preexisting tendencies to skin barrier dysfunction and promote skin inflammation and initiate AD in susceptible individuals. Whether skin care practices have changed over time to explain the increase in AD incidence remains unknown, but high bathing frequency and the use of fragranced lotions are commonplace in US children, two practices potentially harmful to the skin barrier. Protecting the skin barrier early in life with emollients appears to reduce the risk of AD development.