Emollients are a kind of moisturisers that prevent skin from dryness and water loss. They keep the skin moist and agile by providing an ultra-thin protective layer. Emollients are quite beneficial for patients with severe dry skin, especially those with psoriasis and eczema.
You may find emollients in various skincare products and beauty applications, such as lotions, lipstick and other cosmetics. Usually, an emollient is a kind of lubricant, humectant and occluder. The occlusion property provides a thin layer of oil on the surface of the skin, thus reducing the water loss. A lubricant prevents friction, while a humectant increases the skin’s ability to hold water content.
Types of emollients
Different types of emollients vary on their oil and water ratio. In ointments and creams, the oil content is high, while in lotions, it is relatively low. High lipid content emollients are stickier and greasier; hence, they make skin look shinier.
- Soap substitutes – Emulsifying ointments or aqueous creams are good alternatives for bath soaps. They do not strip the skin of its surface like most of the ordinary soaps do.
- Emollient bath additives – These emollients are added to bathwater tub to prevent the moisture loss from the skin. Bath emollients can make the bathtub a bit slippery so be very careful. For children who are prone to eczema, bath emollients with an antiseptic may offer good protection. Make sure you use them occasionally. Read the advised amount before making use of bath emollient. A high concentration emollient can lead to skin irritation.
- Emollient ointments and creams – They are usually good for dry skin, but they may make your skin feel a bit itchy. In many cases, symptoms subside within a few days. Seek medical help if the stinging sensation persists. In long run, they are quite useful in eczema, psoriasis and other skin issues.
People with eczema and psoriasis with extremely dry skin need to use bath emollients or creams more frequently. They may notice improvement with medicated emollients that help prevent inflammation, infection and flare-ups.
According to medical experts, emollients creams are most effective when applied after bathing with bath emollients, especially in people with complaints of dry and itchy skin.