Emollients are typically the first, and are the mainstay of treatment for all severities of eczema, and are used to provide continual repair of the skin's outer barrier. These treatments soften the skin by providing oils, reducing epidermal water loss and forming a layer to protect against skin exposure to allergens or irritants. Formulations without fragrances or perfumes should be used.1,3
The choice of a specific emollient is based on you or your child's specific needs - age, body area involved, acute versus chronic lesions, climate and your preferences.1,3-5
The "trial and error" approach for finding the right emollient can be difficult and demoralising when they are not effective.6 Talk to your doctor or practice nurse about this.
You should be clearly shown how to apply emollients correctly, how much to use, and when to use them, as this can lead to improved control of eczema.7
The order of topical treatment application is important. It has been suggested that emollients should be applied first and then a period of at least 1 hour should be left before the application of corticosteroids or a particular calcineurin inhibitor, tacrolimus. Alternatively, treatments can be applied at different times of the day.1
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UK/GEN/16/0051 Date of preparation: October 2016