Bath Oils

  •      are solubilising agents designed to disperse in water leaving a fine film over the entire body.
  •      help to hydrate the skin as well as soften it.

Ointments (oil/grease)

  • are occlusive and have a softening protective action on the skin.
  • are useful for dry scaling areas.
  • are not water soluble and so difficult to wash off.
  • are not suitable for wet/weeping areas of the skin as they seal in moisture and keep the area warm, this may result in further damage to the skin.

Creams (water/oil)

  • mix easily with body fluid therefore drainage is not impaired.
  • are water soluble and easily washed off.
  • are soothing to dry skin.


  • are preparations that contain salicylic acid, lactic acid and urea's. They can cause irritation to inflamed and/or broken skin and may be absorbed through the skin. Use under the guidance of a medical professional. Keratolytic agents are used to induce desquamation (shedding) of the horny layer (outside layer) without affecting the function of the epidermis.


Part of the reason the skin is dry is because it lacks moisture, therefore the aim is to hydrate the skin as much as possible.

Using bath emollients will help to soften and hydrate the skin.

Applying greasy emollients to the entire body after bathing will help to seal in moisture to the outer layer (stratum comeum), minimising cracks and fissures. These emollients should be applied at least 4 hourly by day.

The older child and adults may require medicated shampoo's designed to loosen scale.  A fine comb should be used to gently remove the scale. Never be tempted to force the scale off as this can damage the root and can aggravate hair loss.

Important points to remember

Creams/ointments that do not come in a pump dispenser should be decanted out on to a saucer by means of a spoon. This will reduce the risk of contamination that may result from dipping fingers into it.

In hot weather it may be necessary to discontinue the ointments and change to a cream, as ointments can cause the sufferer to feel uncomfortable and it will also reduce the risk of overheating.

This information is for advice only, please consult your doctor before altering any treatment.

Download The Skincare Treatments Factsheet

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