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Treating your dry skin or eczema

When we experience dry skin on the body it’s because this barrier is not working as it should – there are not enough natural oils to provide protection and so water evaporates. This leads to itchy skin and dry flaky skin that feels rough and uncomfortable. In more severe cases, the skin can become so irritated that it becomes red, raw and inflamed, can crack and bleed and increase the risk of infection.

The good news, by restoring the skin’s barrier with moisture, we can reduce the occurrence and severity of symptoms.

How to treat eczema

Eczema and dry skin are treated with specialist moisturisers known as emollients. They soften, smooth and rehydrate, helping to reduce the signs of dry skin such as cracks or scales.2 They do this in two ways:

1)       Trapping water

By creating an artificial layer on the outside of the skin, water is trapped where it belongs, keeping skin plump and soft. On the other hand, irritants, allergens and bacteria are prevented from getting in!

2)       Attracting water

Some emollients, such as Cetraben, contain ingredients such as glycerine, which actually attract water from deeper in the layers of the skin to the outer layer where it is needed.

Types of emollients

Emollients come in the form of lotions, creams and ointments and you can usually get over the counter eczema treatment from your local pharmacist. The main difference between them is their thickness – in general, the thicker the moisturiser, the stronger the protection.


These tend to be lighter in consistency so spread very easily across the body and are easily absorbed. Because they contain more water, they have fewer active ingredients and so are best if you have only slightly dry skin or mild eczema. Find out more about Cetraben Lotion here.


Eczema treatment creams are richer than lotions but still easily absorbed into the skin and not greasy. They’re a great option for everyday use for large areas of eczema and dry skin. Find out more about Cetraben Cream and Cetraben Natural Oatmeal Cream here.


Ointments offer the most moisture, but some people find them difficult to apply as they are thicker. That’s why they can be a good option for night-time use but may not be practical for everyone in the daytime. As they don’t contain water, they don’t need to contain preservatives so if you’re sensitive to additives they are a good alternative to creams and lotions. Find out more the best ointment for eczema from the Cetraben range, here.

A shower alternative

If you’re prone to dry skin or live with eczema you may find that shower gels and soaps can be too harsh for your skin. This is because they contain detergents which strip away the natural oils of the skin. Instead, try using a cleansing cream – these are gentle and can actually wash and hydrate the skin at the same time.  Find out more about Cetraben Daily Cleansing Cream here.

Treating your dry skin or eczema

Applying your moisturiser

You might think it’s as simple as rubbing in some cream, but you’d be wrong. To get the best out of your emollient, follow these tips:

  • Apply often – at least twice a day for dry skin and three to four times a day (or more!) for very dry skin
  • Apply generously – you need more than you think! Apply in a thick layer and leave to soak in. If your skin feels tacky, just wait a few more minutes for it to absorb
  • Don’t rub – This could irritate the skin. Instead, gently apply in smooth long strokes going in the direction that the hair grows
  • Keep using – if you have eczema or are prone to dry skin, keep using your moisturiser even when the symptoms have disappeared to keep them from coming back

You can also help reduce dry skin by avoiding certain triggers. These are different for everyone but can include perfumed products, pet fur, pollen, mould, certain fabrics like wool,food allergies and cleaning products.

Find out more about dry skin conditions and eczema triggers here and discover the best Cetraben option for you from our range of lotions, creams, ointments and more here.

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