Many of us have cupboards and bathroom cabinets bursting with moisturisers, from delicate eye serums to vibrantly scented balms, but when it comes to the treatment of eczema and dry skin some types of moisturisers are far better than others.
From mango and coconut to blueberry ice-cream, nowadays there are a seemingly infinite number of fragrant moisturisers on our shelves. But, beware of these sweetly scented temptations. Perfumed products are a known trigger for many people with eczema, leading to prickly, red itchy skin. And, be extra careful to read the small print because many manufactures often scent creams even if they don’t explicitly advertise on the label.
It’s best to get a cream that is specifically designed for eczema and dry skin, often known as emollients. These have been especially formulated to soothe itching, moisturise and protect with anti-irritating ingredients that are gentle on sensitive skin. You’ll find eczema treatment over the counter at all your local and national pharmacies.
A good cream like Cetraben will often give you the option of buying it in a smaller bottle so that you can trial the product and make sure it is right for you. Once you’re happy, go big as you’ll need to apply it generously in a thick layer at least twice a day for the best results.
It’s not just the cream itself that is important, but also the packaging. By choosing an airtight pump you can be sure it isn’t getting contaminated with bacteria from dirty hands. A pump also has the bonus of giving lots of control over how much you use.
The right ingredients
Moisturisers work by creating a barrier that traps the moisture in the skin, but some can actually draw water into the outer layer of the skin too. These are creams, such as Cetraben, which contain ingredients known as humectants, such as glycerine.
Go to a pharmacist
Pharmacists are trained in treating eczema prone skin and will be able to expertly advise you on the best treatment for your individual symptoms. For example, they may well suggest that in addition to a cream, you should switch to a cleansing cream and a heavier moisturising ointment at night.
You pharmacist will be able to explain how to treat eczema and dry skin conditions, and why applying emollients are the most important way you can protect your skin.
You can find the Cetraben range in Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and Tesco stores nationwide. Find out more here.
“Some people may feel an emollient isn’t making much of a difference, but very often it’s simply that they’re not using enough, or not using it regularly enough. I always urge people to stick to regular, liberal applications to make the most of their emollient.” Dr Brian Malcolm, GP specialising in Dermatology
“I tried all four of these actions. For the first few days, I didn’t notice much of a difference but then after that the redness and inflammation really started to settle down. Now I find there is next to no itching!” Summer McGregor