Emollients

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The best emollient on the market is the one you like to use.

Emollients soothe, smooth and hydrate the skin and are indicated for all dry or scaling disorders. Their effects are short-lived and they should be applied frequently even after improvement occurs. They are useful in dry and eczematous disorders, and to a lesser extent in psoriasis. Light emollients such as aqueous cream are suitable for many patients with dry skin but a wide range of more greasy preparations including white soft paraffin, emulsifying ointment, and liquid and white soft paraffin ointment are available; the severity of the condition, patient preference and site of application will often guide the choice of emollient; emollients should be applied in the direction of hair growth. Some ingredients may rarely cause sensitisation and this should be suspected if an eczematous reaction occurs.

Preparations such as aqueous cream and emulsifying ointment can be used as soap substitutes for hand washing and in the bath; the preparation is rubbed on the skin before rinsing off completely. The addition of a bath oil product may also be helpful.

Preparations containing an antibacterial should be avoided unless infection is present or is a frequent complication.

Urea is employed as a hydrating agent. It is used in scaling conditions and may be useful in elderly patients. It is occasionally used with other topical agents such as corticosteroids to enhance penetration.

Emollients available over the counter.
This list is not exhaustive and prices are for guideline purposes only.

Proprietary emollient preparations

Aquamol® (Thornton & Ross)
Cream, containing liquid paraffin, white soft paraffin, net price 50 g = £1.22, 500-g pump pack = £6.40
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, chlorocresol

Aveeno® (J&J)
Cream, colloidal oatmeal in emollient basis, net price 100 mL = £3.78, 300-mL pump pack = £6.80
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, isopropyl palmitate
ACBS: For endogenous and exogenous eczema, xeroderma, ichthyosis, and senile pruritus (pruritus of the elderly) associated with dry skin
Lotion, colloidal oatmeal in emollient basis, net price 400 mL = £6.42
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, isopropyl palmitate
ACBS: as for Aveeno® Cream

Cetraben® (Genus)
Emollient cream, white soft paraffin 13.2%, light liquid paraffin 10.5%, net price 50-g pump pack = £1.40, 150-g pump pack = £3.98, 500-g pump pack = £5.99, 1.05-kg pump pack = £11.62
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For inflamed, damaged, dry or chapped skin including eczema

Dermamist® (Alliance)
Spray application, white soft paraffin 10% in a basis containing liquid paraffin, fractionated coconut oil, net price 250-mL pressurised aerosol unit = £5.97
For dry skin conditions including eczema, ichthyosis, pruritus of the elderly
Note Flammable

Diprobase® (Schering-Plough)
Cream, cetomacrogol 2.25%, cetostearyl alcohol 7.2%, liquid paraffin 6%, white soft paraffin 15%, water-miscible basis used for Diprosone® cream, net price 50 g = £1.28; 500-g pump pack = £6.32
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, chlorocresol
For dry skin conditions
Ointment, liquid paraffin 5%, white soft paraffin 95%, basis used for Diprosone® ointment, net price 50 g = £1.28, 500 g = £5.99
For dry skin conditions
Lotion. White paraffin 6%, glycerol 4%, dimeticone 1.7%
50ml = £1.28; 300ml =£3.49
For dry skin conditions

Doublebase® (Dermal)
Gel, isopropyl myristate 15%, liquid paraffin 15%, net price 100 g = £2.65, 500 g = £5.82
For dry, chapped, or itchy skin conditions

E45® (Reckitt Benckiser)
Cream, light liquid paraffin 12.6%, white soft paraffin 14.5%, hypoallergenic anhydrous wool fat (hypoallergenic lanolin) 1% in self-emulsifying monostearin, net price 50 g = £1.40, 125 g = £2.55, 350 g = £4.46, 500-g pump pack = £4.89
Excipients include cetyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For dry skin conditions

Emollin® (C D Medical)

Spray, liquid paraffin 50%, white soft paraffin 50% in aerosol basis, net price 150 mL = £3.74, 240 mL = £5.98
For dry skin conditions

Hydromol® (Alliance)
Cream, sodium pidolate 2.5%, liquid paraffin 13.8%, net price 50 g = £2.04, 100 g = £3.80, 500 g = £11.09
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For dry skin conditions
Ointment, yellow soft paraffin 30%, emulsifying wax 30%, liquid paraffin 40%, net price 125 g = £2.79, 500 g = £4.74, 1 kg = £8.81
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol
For use as an emollient, bath additive, or soap substitute

Lipobase® (Astellas)
Cream, fatty cream basis used for Locoid Lipocream®, net price 50 g = £1.46
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For dry skin conditions, also for use during treatment with topical corticosteroid and as diluent for Locoid Lipocream®

Oilatum® (Stiefel)
Cream, light liquid paraffin 6%, white soft paraffin 15%, net price 40 g = £1.30, 150 g = £2.46, 500-mL pump pack = £4.99, 1.05-litre pump pack = £9.98
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol
For dry skin conditions
Oilatum® Junior Cream, light liquid paraffin 6%, white soft paraffin 15%, 150 g = £3.38, 350 mL = £4.65, 500 mL = £4.99, 1.05-litre pump pack = £9.98
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol
For dry skin conditions

QV® (Crawford)
Cream, glycerol 10%, light liquid paraffin 10%, white soft paraffin 5%, net price 100 g = £1.95, 500 g = £5.60
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For dry skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, pruritus
Lotion, white soft paraffin 5%, net price 250 mL = £3.00
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For dry skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, pruritus

Ultrabase® (Bayer Schering)
Cream, water-miscible, containing liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin, net price 50 g = £1.58, 500-g pump pack = £16.23
Excipients include fragrance, hydroxybenzoates (parabens), disodium edetate, stearyl alcohol
For dry skin conditions

Unguentum M® (Almirall)
Cream, containing saturated neutral oil, liquid paraffin, white soft paraffin, net price 50 g = £1.41, 100 g = £2.78, 200-mL pump pack = £5.50, 500 g = £8.48
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, polysorbate 40, propylene glycol, sorbic acid
For dry skin conditions and nappy rash

Zerobase® (Thornton & Ross)
Cream, liquid paraffin 11%, net price 50 g = £1.04, 500-g pump pack = £5.26
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, chlorocresol
For dry skin conditions

Zerocream® (Thornton & Ross)
Cream, liquid paraffin 12.6%, white soft paraffin 14.5%, net price 50 g = £1.17, 500-g pump pack = £4.08
Excipients include cetyl alcohol, hydroxybenzoates (parabens), lanolin anhydrous
For dry skin conditions

Zeroguent® (Thornton & Ross)
Cream, light liquid paraffin 8%, white soft paraffin 4%, refined soya bean oil 5%, net price 100 g = £2.33, 500 g = £7.07
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, polysorbate 40, propylene glycol, sorbic acid
For dry skin conditions

Preparations containing urea

Aquadrate® (Alliance)
Cream, urea 10%, net price 100 g = £4.37
Dose for dry, scaling and itching skin, apply thinly twice daily

Balneum® (Almirall)
Cream, urea 5%, ceramide 0.1%, net price 50-g pump pack = £2.80, 500-g pump pack = £9.80
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol, polysorbates, propylene glycol
Dose for dry skin conditions, apply twice daily
Balneum® Plus Cream, urea 5%, lauromacrogols 3%, net price 100 g = £3.29, 175-g pump pack = £8.33, 500-g pump pack = £16.42
Excipients include benyzl alcohol, polysorbates
Dose for dry, scaling and itching skin, apply twice daily

Calmurid® (Galderma)
Cream, urea 10%, lactic acid 5%, net price 100 g = £5.70, 500-g pump pack = £27.42
Dose for dry, scaling and itching skin, apply a thick layer for 3–5 minutes, massage into area, and remove excess, usually twice daily. Use half-strength cream for 1 week if stinging occurs
Note Can be diluted with aqueous cream (life of diluted cream 14 days)

Dermatonics Heel Balm® (Dermatonics)
Cream, urea 25%, net price 75 mL = £4.00, 200 mL = £9.50
Excipients include beeswax, lanolin
Dose for dry skin on soles of feet, apply twice daily

E45® Itch Relief Cream (Reckitt Benckiser)
Cream, urea 5%, macrogol lauryl ether 3%, net price 50 g = £2.55, 100 g = £3.47, 500-g pump pack = £14.99
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, polysorbates
Dose for dry, scaling, and itching skin, apply twice daily

Eucerin® Intensive (Beiersdorf)
Cream, urea 10%, net price 100 mL = £7.59
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, isopropyl palmitate, wool fat
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema, ichthyosis, xeroderma, hyperkeratosis, apply thinly and rub into area twice daily
Lotion, urea 10%, net price 250 mL = £7.93
Excipients include benzyl alcohol, isopropyl palmitate
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema, ichthyosis, xeroderma, hyperkeratosis, apply sparingly and rub into area twice daily

Hydromol® Intensive (Alliance)
Cream, urea 10%, net price 30 g = £1.64, 100 g = £4.37
Dose for dry, scaling and itching skin, apply thinly twice daily

Nutraplus® (Galderma)
Cream, urea 10%, net price 100 g = £4.37
Excipients include hydroxybenzoates (parabens), propylene glycol
Dose for dry, scaling and itching skin, apply 2–3 times daily

With antimicrobials

Dermol® (Dermal)
Cream, benzalkonium chloride 0.1%, chlorhexidine hydrochloride 0.1%, isopropyl myristate 10%, liquid paraffin 10%, net price 100-g tube = £2.86, 500-g pump pack = £6.63
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol
Dose for dry and pruritic skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, apply to skin or use as soap substitute
Dermol® 500 Lotion, benzalkonium chloride 0.1%, chlorhexidine hydrochloride 0.1%, liquid paraffin 2.5%, isopropyl myristate 2.5%, net price 500-mL pump pack = £6.03
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol
Dose for dry and pruritic skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, apply to skin or use as soap substitute

Eczmol® (Genus)
Cream, chlorhexidine gluconate 1 % in emollient basis, net price 250 mL = £3.70
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol
Dose for dry and pruritic skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, apply to skin or use as soap substitute

Emollient bath additives and shower preparations

Aveeno® (J&J)
Aveeno® Bath oil, colloidal oatmeal, white oat fraction in emollient basis, net price 250 mL = £4.28
Excipients include beeswax, fragrance
Dose ACBS: for endogenous and exogenous eczema, xeroderma, ichthyosis, and senile pruritus (pruritus of the elderly) associated with dry skin, add 20–30 mL/bath or apply to wet skin and rinse
Aveeno Colloidal® Bath additive, oatmeal, white oat fraction in emollient basis, net price 10 × 50-g sachets = £7.33; Baby Bath Additive, 10 × 15-g sachets = £4.39

Balneum® (Almirall)
Balneum® bath oil, soya oil 84.75%, net price 200 mL = £2.48, 500 mL = £5.38, 1 litre = £10.39
Excipients include butylated hydroxytoluene, propylene glycol, fragrance
Dose for dry skin conditions including those associated with dermatitis and eczema; add 20–60 mL/bath (infant 5–15 mL); do not use undiluted
Balneum Plus® bath oil, soya oil 82.95%, mixed lauromacrogols 15%, net price 500 mL = £6.66
Excipients include butylated hydroxytoluene, propylene glycol, fragrance
Dose for dry skin conditions including those associated with dermatitis and eczema where pruritus also experienced; add 20 mL/bath (infant 5 mL) or apply to wet skin and rinse

Cetraben® (Genus)
Emollient bath additive, light liquid paraffin 82.8%, net price 500 mL = £5.75
Dose for dry skin conditions, including eczema, add 1–2 capfuls/bath (child ½–1 capful) or apply to wet skin and rinse

Dermalo® (Dermal)
Bath emollient, acetylated wool alcohols 5%, liquid paraffin 65%, net price 500 mL = £3.44
Dose for dermatitis, dry skin conditions including ichthyosis and pruritus of the elderly; add 15–20 mL/bath (infant and child 5–10 mL) or apply to wet skin and rinse

Doublebase® (Dermal)
Emollient bath additive, liquid paraffin 65%, net price 500 mL = £5.45
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol
Dose for dry skin conditions including dermatitis, ichthyosis, and pruritus of the elderly; add 15–20 mL/bath, (infant and child 5–10 mL)
Emollient shower gel, isopropyl myristate 15%, liquid paraffin 15%, net price 200 g = £5.21
For dry, chapped, or itchy skin conditions

E45® (Reckitt Benckiser)
Emollient bath oil, cetyl dimeticone 5%, liquid paraffin 91%, net price 250 mL = £3.19, 500 mL = £5.11
Dose ACBS: for endogenous and exogenous eczema, xeroderma, ichthyosis, and senile pruritus (pruritus of the elderly) associated with dry skin; add 15 mL/bath (child 5–10 mL) or apply to wet skin and rinse
Emollient wash cream, soap substitute, zinc oxide 5% in an emollient basis, net price 250-mL pump pack = £3.19
ACBS: for endogenous and exogenous eczema, xeroderma, ichthyosis and senile pruritus (pruritus of the elderly) associated with dry skin

Hydromol® (Alliance)
Bath and shower emollient, isopropyl myristate 13%, light liquid paraffin 37.8%, net price 350 mL = £3.61, 500 mL = £4.11, 1 litre = £8.19
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema, ichthyosis and pruritus of the elderly; add 1–3 capfuls/bath (infant ½–2 capfuls) or apply to wet skin and rinse

Oilatum® (Stiefel)
Emollient bath additive (emulsion), light liquid paraffin 63.4%, net price 250 mL = £2.75, 500 mL = £4.57
Excipients include acetylated lanolin alcohols, isopropyl palmitate, fragrance
Dose for dry skin conditions including dermatitis, pruritus of the elderly and ichthyosis; add 1–3 capfuls/bath (infant 0.5–2 capfuls) or apply to wet skin and rinse
Junior bath additive, light liquid paraffin 63.4%, net price 150 mL = £2.82, 250 mL = £3.25, 300 mL = £5.10, 600 mL = £5.89
Excipients include acetylated lanolin alcohols, isopropyl palmitate
Dose for dry skin conditions including dermatitis, pruritus of the elderly and ichthyosis; add 1–3 capfuls/bath (infant 0.5–2 capfuls) or apply to wet skin and rinse
Shower emollient (gel), light liquid paraffin 70%, net price (with fragrance or fragrance-free) 150 g = £5.15
For dry skin conditions including dermatitis

QV® (Crawford)
Bath oil, light liquid paraffin 85.09%, net price 200 mL = £2.20, 500 mL = £4.50
Excipients include hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema, ichthyosis, and pruritus of the elderly, add 10 mL/bath (child 7 mL, infant 4 mL) or apply to wet skin and rinse
Wash, glycerol 10%, net price 200 mL = £2.50
Excipients include hydroxybenzoates (parabens)
For dry skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, and pruritus, use as soap substitute

Zerolatum® (Thornton & Ross)
Emollient medicinal bath oil, liquid paraffin 65%, acetylated wool alcohols 5%, net price 500 mL = £4.79
Dose for dry skin conditions including dermatitis, pruritus of the elderly, and ichthyosis, add 15–20 mL/bath (child 5–10 mL)

Zeroneum® (Thornton & Ross)
Bath oil, refined soya bean oil 83.35%, net price 500 mL = £4.48
Excipients include butylated hydroxytoluene, fragrance, propylene glycol
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, add 20–60 mL/bath (child 5–15 mL)

Zerozole® (Thornton & Ross)
Bath oil, refined soya bean oil 83.45%, macrogol 4-lauryl ether 15%, net price 500 mL = £5.55
Excipients include butylated hydroxytoluene, fragrance, propylene glycol
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, add 20–60 mL/bath (child 5–15 mL), or apply to wet skin and rinse

Emollient bath additives and shower preparations with antimicrobials

Dermol® (Dermal)
Dermol 600® Bath Emollient, benzalkonium chloride 0.5%, liquid paraffin 25%, isopropyl myristate 25%, net price 600 mL = £7.55
Excipients include polysorbate 60
Dose for dry and pruritic skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, add up to 30 mL/bath (infant up to 15 mL); do not use undiluted
Dermol® 200 Shower Emollient, benzalkonium chloride 0.1%, chlorhexidine hydrochloride 0.1%, liquid paraffin 2.5%, isopropyl myristate 2.5%, net price 200 mL = £3.55
Excipients include cetostearyl alcohol
Dose for dry and pruritic skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis, apply to skin or use as soap substitute

Emulsiderm® (Dermal)
Liquid emulsion, liquid paraffin 25%, isopropyl myristate 25%, benzalkonium chloride 0.5%, net price 300 mL (with 15-mL measure) = £3.85, 1 litre (with 30-mL measure) = £12.00
Excipients include polysorbate 60
Dose for dry skin conditions including eczema and ichthyosis; add 7–30 mL/bath or rub into dry skin until absorbed

Oilatum® Plus (Stiefel)
Bath additive, benzalkonium chloride 6%, triclosan 2%, light liquid paraffin 52.5%, net price 500 mL = £6.98
Excipients include acetylated lanolin alcohols, isopropyl palmitate
Dose for topical treatment of eczema including eczema at risk from infection; add 1–2 capfuls/bath (infant over 6 months 1 mL); do not use undiluted

Zerolatum® Plus (Thornton & Ross)
Bath additive, light liquid paraffin 51.66%, benzalkonium chloride 6%, triclosan 2%, net price 500 mL = £5.81
Excipients include acetylated lanolin alcohols, isopropyl palmitate, polysorbate 80
Dose for prophylactic management of eczema at risk from infection, add 1–2 capfuls/bath (infant over 6 months, 1 mL); do not use undiluted