Safety advice when using emollients

  • if you are using paraffin-based emollients, keep away from fire, flames and cigarettes dressings and clothing soaked with the ointment can be easily ignited
  • if you keep your emollients in a pot or tub, use a clean spoon or spatula to remove the product this reduces the risk ofinfections from contaminated pots
  • take care when using emollients in a bath, shower or on a tiled floor as there's a risk of slipping protect the floor with a towel or sheet, wash yourbath or shower afterwards with hot water and washing up liquid, then dry with a kitchen towel
  • recent evidence hasshown that in some people, aqueous cream can cause burning, stinging, itching and redness, especially in children with atopic eczema

Thisavoids diluting their effect, spreading them to areas that don't need treating, and increasing the risk of side effects on normal skin.

Emollients are commonly used to treat dry skin conditions such as:

  • eczema a long-term skin condition that causes the skin to become reddened, dry, itchy and cracked (read more about treating eczema )
  • psoriasis a long-term skin condition that causes red, flaky patches of skin covered with silvery scales (read more about treating psoriasis )
  • ichthyosis a long-term condition that results in persistently thick, dry, "fish-scale" skin

If you have a dry skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis or ichthyosis,use a medicated emollient, even when your skin feels better, to help prevent patches of inflammation and flare-ups. This is because dry skin is more prone to infection.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018