Emollients: What they are and how to use them

Emollients protect and soften flaky, dry, or rough skin. Some create a film to keep water and moisture within the skin. Using emollients correctly is vital so they protect the skin effectively.

Types of Emollient

Emollients are treatments used to soothe and hydrate the skin. They work by covering the skin with a protective layer to retain moisture. Emollients come in different formats to best treat the problem at hand. They are used to treat conditions such as psoriasis and are also used in skin inflammation and soreness. An emollient comes in different formats, depending on how they are used in a treatment plan. Lotions are good for hairy areas and damaged skin as they spread easily but they are not as moisturizing as a cream. A spray is another way emollients are used and are absorbed quickly. They are ideal for hard to reach or infected areas.

Cream emollients are effective in treating dry skin conditions. Many emollient products such as Cutemol Emollient Cream lock in moisture using beeswax and emollients to prevent further drying out of the skin, and to restore the skin’s natural barrier function. Some emollients such as Cutemol Emollient Dry Skin Cream contain oil which forms a film to protect the skin. The film locks in moisture and ensures the skin stays supple and soft. Oil-based emollients are good for dealing with cracked skin and damaged cuticles as it promotes healing. Some emollients are leave-on products to maximize benefits whereas others are easily absorbed into the skin.

How Emollients Protect the Skin

There are several factors that expose the skin to damage. Cold weather, frequent handwashing, and exposure to irritants are just a few. Alcohol in hand sanitizer is an example of something that can quickly dry out the skin but is something that most people are using to avoid infections. Fragranced soaps, cleaning fluids, and other lotions also irritate the skin. When the outer layer of the skin or epidermis is damaged it becomes dry or flaky which leads to cracking. Emollients fill the dry spaces in the skin with lipids or fatty substances which make skin smoother. In Cutemol Emollient Cream, beeswax is used to lock in any moisture and is good to apply after frequent handwashing. Natural products that are fragrance-free reduce the risk of further skin irritation.

Research has shown that using emollients also provides an anti-microbial barrier in babies as well as skin integrity which helps prevent problems. For eczema, using an emollient can help prevent scaling and avoid cracks in the skin. It also protects against infection by creating a protective barrier across the skin.

What Are The Benefits Of An Emollient?

Emollients are effective at healing dry and flaky skin. They are most effective when used regularly and at times of the year when your skin has a tendency to be drier. Emollients improve cracks in the skin, preventing water loss and further damage. The worse your symptoms, the more frequently you should apply an emollient to get the benefits. Emollients can treat dry and cracked skin from a range of conditions including eczema, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. They also work on diaper rash.

Choosing the Correct Emollient

Selecting the correct emollient depends on several factors. These include the part of the body affected, the dryness level of the skin, any allergies, and the skin problem. Another important factor is whether there is any additional active treatment and how the emollient interacts with other medications. Doctors and pharmacists can support people to choose the correct emollient. Hypoallergenic products and those that are fragrance-free reduce the risk of irritation. Sometimes people need to try several emollients before finding the one that is right for them.

Where Emollients Should be Used

We know emollients to be effective in treating eczema and some cases of psoriasis. Ichthyosis is another skin condition characterized by fish scale-like dryness that benefits from using an emollient. Contact dermatitis and dry flaky skin from frequent exposure to handwashing is another reason to consider using an emollient. Some chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism lead to the development of dry skin and an emollient can help prevent further skin breakdown.

How to Use Emollients

Alongside using an emollient, it is important to try to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. It is vital to maintain good handwashing techniques to prevent infections. Using minimal amounts of fragranced soap, making use of gloves where needed, and applying an emollient throughout the day and not just after hand washing helps maintain skin integrity. An emollient should be applied at the first sign of trouble with dry skin, not waiting until the problem has worsened. Summers Laboratories products are highly effective at keeping dry skin under control.

Emollients need to be applied to clean dry skin. An emollient needs to be directly applied to the skin for the best effect. They should be smoothed and not rubbed into the skin, using the direction that hairs grow because this prevents hair follicles from becoming blocked. Some people find using an emollient during the day and an ointment at night works. Using an emollient before an activity that leads to skin flaking such as swimming or gardening helps protect the skin.

If you are using a steroid cream or other topical medication besides an emollient you should plan your treatment by applying the emollient at least 30 minutes before the steroids or other treatments. This ensures the steroid treatment is not diluted and that it is not inadvertently spread to other parts of the skin that do not require treatment.

When using emollients there are safety issues to consider. When removing emollients from a pot, use a clean spatula to avoid cross-contamination and potential infection. Emollients should not be used in the presence of a naked flame or cigarettes as clothing or material that has been in contact with an emollient can catch fire. If you are using emollients in a shower or bath, you need to be careful not to slip. Use a non-slip mat and protect the floor with a towel. You should also clean the bath with washing up liquid afterward to avoid the buildup of emollient which can lead to a fall.

Emollients are highly effective at treating dry and flaky skin conditions. By applying emollients properly and taking care of your skin, you will avoid problems and stay healthy. Shop our Cutemol Emollient Cream or Cutemol Sensitive Emollient Cream today and take proper care of your skin.

Sources:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29489859/