Dry skin is very temperamental and can flare up at the slightest hint of irritants. If left untreated, you may even develop eczema or psoriasis, which will need constant care. Speaking of treating eczema and psoriasis; Dr Manoj Srinivas, a Consultant Dermatologist tells us that emollients are crucial.

Emollients are frequently and effectively used for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis and here is everything you need to know if you want to use these miracle workers on your dry skin as told to us by Dr Manoj Srinivas...

What are emollients?
 

What are emollients?

Emollients are moisturising lotions, ointments, creams or even bath additives that soothe and rehydrate your dry and scaly skin. They are topically applied and therefore the effect is short lived, so you need to keep applying it a few times through the day. 

Dr Manoj Srinivas, Consultant Dermatologist, Bangalore, says that emollients have lubricants, occlusives and humectants. Occlusives create a layer on top of the skin, preventing water loss; humectants draw water to the top layer of the skin and enhance its capacity to retain water and lubricants create a smooth layer that prevents friction when anything comes in contact with your skin.

What are the benefits of using emollients?
 

What are the benefits of using emollients?

  • Emollients help clear the scaly skin that is often found on people with eczema and psoriasis.
  • They soften dry patches which prevents them from cracking.
  • Emollients contain soothing ingredients that relieve the itching sensation that comes with having extremely dry skin.

What kinds of emollients can you choose from?
 

What kinds of emollients can you choose from?

You ideally need to consult with your dermatologist to decide what form of emollients is suitable for your particular condition, but here are the available forms:

  • Ointments, creams and lotions – These are thicker and can be applied at night, before bed. You need to keep reapplying them through the day, depending on what your dermatologist suggests.
  • Sprays – These do not require contact with the skin and can just be sprayed on, which is ideal when the skin is extremely sensitive to touch or has inflammations or has developed painful cracks.
  • Bath oils and bath supplements – These medicated bath oils and other bath supplements can be added to the bath water or the water you bathe in. They will leave a fine film on your skin that will prevent further water loss and protect your skin from external irritants.
  • Emollient soaps – Regular soaps can be drying on affected skin, so a dermatologist recommended emollient soap is always better. These do not foam, are fragrance-free, yet very effective at cleaning your skin.

What kind of skincare routine must you follow when you have eczema or psoriasis?
 

What kind of skincare routine must you follow when you have eczema or psoriasis?

  • Morning – cleanse your skin with the emollient-based face and body cleanser or use bath oils in your water and follow up with a cream or lotion.
  • Through the day – keep reapplying the cream or lotion when you find your skin feels dry or itchy. Try and wash your hands with only the emollients soap substitutes.
  • Nigh time – Again apply the cream or ointment before bed. Wear socks or gloves so the cream won’t rub off on your sheets.
  • Once a week – Make yourself a skincare pack with colloidal oatmeal. Grind oatmeal into a fine powder and soak it in water. Apply this over affected skin and leave it for a few minutes. Dr Mrunal K Modi, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Mumbai says doing this will relieve the inflammation and soothe the itch caused due to the dry, affected skin.