The key to managing any dry skin problem:
Moisturiser and Emollient Therapy
Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacies, Pearse St and Clonmore, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
I have written about dry skin conditions including the likes of eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis in the Westmeath Examiner. No matter what type of dry skin condition you have, keeping the skin well moisturised is key to managing the condition. This article gives advice on using moisturisers and emollients. If you follow the advice below, from experience and from speaking to dermatologists, your skin condition will significantly improve.
- Always use soap substitutes for washing your skin all times. (eg) Silcocks base, Aqueous cream, Emulsifying ointment or any brand name soap substitute such as Aveeno.
- Do not let soap, shower gel, bath foam or shampoo contact your skin.
- Avoid perfumed products – spray on clothes if necessary.
- If possible wash hair over the bath or sink.
Pat dry your skin gently. Avoid scrubbing skin with a towel.
How and how often to use Moisturisers
Moisturise your skin immediately after washing while it is still damp; it is more effective when applied at this stage. The more often you moisturise your skin, the more effective moisturisers are. There is no limit to the number of times that you can apply a moisturiser. Always apply moisturisers in downward motion, in the direction of hair growth. Gently massage it into the skin. Apply enough to moisten the skin without leaving it greasy. To help you remember to apply it, keep samples in various locations at home, at work and in your bag or pocket. Choose one that you like and feels comfortable. Always avoid perfumed products.
Run a luke warm water bath. Put 2 tablespoons of emulsifying ointment in a jug of almost boiling water. Whisk into cream froth and add to bath water. Emulsifying ointment makes the bath slippery, so caution is needed when getting in and out of the bath. Emulsifying ointment can be kept soft by storing it in the hot press. Stay no longer than 10 minutes in the bath. Pat skin dry afterwards and if prescribed steroidal skin cream, apply to affected area then wait 10-15 minutes and apply moisturiser in downward motion.
Practical Advice to manage dry skin conditions
- Nails should be kept short and well filed to reduce damage from scratching.
- Avoid strong detergent for washing clothes, use liquid detergent.
- Double rinse after washing, do not use a fabric softener.
- Keep your skin cool, use 100% cotton, keep wool away from skin.
- Keep dust down, the house dust mite causes a problem for some people with eczema.
- Adults should wear protective gloves when doing housework.
- Avoid pets and animals if possible or at best keep pets out of a sufferers’ bedroom.
Moisturising creams containing the natural moisturizing ingredient, urea, tend to give a deep penetrating moisturising effect. Brands include Calmurid® cream and Whelehans own brand moisturising cream. Whelehans Intensive Moisturising Cream has been developed for face, hands and body. We aim to give an extra smooth feeling on your skin. We see good results from patients from Whelehans own brand moisturising cream. It is non-perfumed. Ask our pharmacist for more information or for a trial size pack.
Thanks to the Dermatology Department at Cavan Hospital for advice and tips for this article
For health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).