How to use them

Soap substitutes (emollient wash products)

Mix a small amount of soap substitute in the palm of your hand (about half to one teaspoonful) with a little warm water, and spread it over damp or dry skin. Rinse and pat the skin dry, but do not rub.

If you are using a soap substitute as well asother treatments, apply the soap substitute first. Allow 30 minutes after using a soap substitute before applying theother treatments.

The soap substitute can be rubbed into the skin and showered or washed off in the bath.

Although aqueous cream is often prescribed, thereare better emollients available. Some people may have a reaction to aqueous creamused as an emollient, and it has a high water content, making it less effective than other products as a leave-on emollient.

If your skin stings after using an emollient wash product and does not settle down after rinsing, speak to your GP or pharmacist about an alternative soap substitute.

Bath additives

Emollient bath additives can be added to lukewarm bath water to help prevent the loss of moisture from your skin. They can make surfaces slippery, so always use a non-slip mat and be careful when getting yourself or your child out of the bath.

Some bath oils contain an antiseptic, which can help prevent infection.But these products should only be used occasionally, unless the infection is recurrent or widespread.

Never use more than the recommended amount of bath additive.It may cause skin irritationif the concentration is too high, particularly when used with antiseptic bath oils.

Creams and ointments

Emollient creams are less greasy than emollient ointments. They are easy to spread, absorb easily into the skin and are good for use during the daytime. They can alsobe used on weeping eczema.

Emollient ointments are most suitable for very dry, thick skin and are not suitable for use on weeping eczema. Find one that is best suited to your or your child's skin.

Occasionally, emollient creams may sting when they are first applied to very dry skin. This usually settles down after a few days of treatment.

If it persists, it may becaused bya reaction to a preservative in the cream. If this occurs, talk to your GP or pharmacist about possible alternative emollients, such as an emollient ointment.

Emollients can be used to replace lost moisture whenever your skin feels dry or tight. They are very safe and you can't overuse them because they don't get absorbed through your skin into your body.

You may need to try a variety of different emollients before you find one that is best suited to you or your child. For example, you may decide to use a cream-based emollient during the day and an ointment base at night.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018