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Emollients and moisturizers.

What are they emollients and moisturizers?

Emollients are products used to soften the skin. Moisturizers are products used to add moisture to the skin. There are numerous emollients and moisturizers for sale in general stores and pharmacies. Options include:

  • Oils
  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Ointments

Emollients and moisturizers are most effective when applied immediately after bathing, but can also be applied at other times.

Why use emollients and moisturizers?

The uses of emollients and humectants include:

  • To relieve dryness and climbing of the skin
  • To hide fine lines and wrinkles
  • To treat mild irritating Contact dermatitis
  • As a base for makeup.

What do emollients and moisturizers contain?

The active ingredients in emollients and humectants are occlusives and moisturizers. They often include other ingredients, such as surfactants (soap-free cleansers), fragrances, and preservatives.

Occlusive moisturizers

Occlusives are oils of non-human origin, often mixed with water and an emulsifier to form a lotion or cream. They provide a layer of oil on the skin's surface to reduce water loss from the stratum corneum.

  • Bath oil deposits a thin layer of oil on the skin when it comes out of the water.
  • Lotions are more occlusive than oils.
  • Creams are more occlusive again. The thicker barrier creams containing dimethicone are particularly useful for hand dermatitis.
  • Ointments are the most occlusive and include pure oil preparations, such as equal parts of smooth, liquid white paraffin or petrolatum.

The choice of stop emollient it depends on the body area and the degree of dryness and peeling of the skin.

  • Lotions are used for the scalp and other hairy areas and for mild dryness elsewhere
  • Creams are used when more emollience is required.
  • Ointments are prescribed for dry, thick, scaly areas, but many patients find them too greasy.

Sorbolene and Glycerin Cream is a general-purpose moisturizer that is non-greasy, inexpensive, and available in bulk without a prescription.

The minimum amount for an occlusive emollient is 250 g (or ml), and often 500 g or 1 kg is needed: liberal and regular use should be encouraged. How often it is applied depends on how dry the skin is: Very dry skin can benefit from a greasy emollient every two hours, but slightly dry skin may only need a light moisturizer at night.


Moisturizers increase the water retention capacity of the stratum corneum. They include:

  • Glycerin
  • Urea
  • Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid or glycolic acid.

  • Salicylic acid

Urea and acidic preparations often itch if applied to scratches or cracked skin. They are also keratolyticthat is, they have a decalcification or peeling effect, important in the management of ichthyosis.


Creams and lotions are prone to microbial contamination and preservatives are added to improve shelf life. Preservatives in moisturizers can cause allergic contact dermatitis in sensitive people.

Other ingredients

Many additional agents can be added to a moisturizer to appeal to the consumer. Be aware that marketing claims about the effectiveness of many of these ingredients in reducing the signs of skin aging can be misleading. Big molecules how peptides and collagen it cannot penetrate through the stratum corneum.

Adverse reactions to emollients

Irritant reactions

People with sensitive skin associated with atopic Dermatitis or rosacea often describe irritating reactions to emollients and moisturizers, such as burning and stinging. If the irritation is transient, the product can continue to be used. Should be discontinued if contact dermatitis appears.

Contact allergy

Contact allergy to moisturizers and emollients is rare. Suspected contact allergy to preservatives, fragrances or vehicles can be investigated by patch tests.


Occlusive emollients can cause or worsen acne, perioral dermatitis, folliculitis and boils.

Thermal burns

Thermal burns of paraffin-containing ointments on clothing or bedding can be dangerous and can occur if exposed to cigarettes or open fire.