Should I use an emollient cream or a moisturiser?
Well, the truth is that there isn’t really much of a difference between the two!
Technically, an 'emollient cream' is a non-cosmetic moisturiser, named as such because they are used in a medical capacity to hydrate and condition severely dry skin, often in the prevention of eczema flare-ups.
Emollients are generally prescribed to soften skin (hence the name, which means 'softener'), especially the hard and scaly skin associated with eczema, and to form a protective occlusive barrier over broken or fragile skin so that it can heal.
A 'moisturiser' is the cosmetic term for a cream, ointment or lotion that feeds moisture into the skin. If it helps, think of your moisturiser as a skincare product that works to maintain healthy, soft, hydrated skin as part of a daily routine, and an emollient as a treatment for a skin that has already been diagnosed as suffering from severe soreness, dryness or itch, but remember that the right moisturiser can do exactly the same thing as an emollient when chosen carefully and used regularly.
With that in mind, it is important to think about what kind of emollient cream or moisturiser is best suited to your needs.
Dry skin is not a medical condition in itself, but leaving skin to dry out can lead to eczema flare-ups if you are already prone to to such conditions. Daily moisturising should be a standard part of any skincare regime but picking the right emollient cream or moisturiser could play a significant part in whether your skin is healthy or struggling from day to day.
Moisturisers come in various forms: they’re usually creams, lotions, oils or ointments but they can also be bath or shower additives that are designed to minimise the drying effects of water.
The difference between these options is the oil to water ratio in the product.
If you are prone to dry skin, a moisturiser with a high oil content can work really well as oil-based ointments are thicker in consistency and will stay on the skin for longer than a cream tends to. Oil-based salves are particularly good at forming non-stinging semi-occlusive barriers so they are useful if you have flaky or itchy skin that could do with being protected from the elements or from external irritants.
If your skin is sensitive to petrochemicals then you could think about choosing a moisturiser that has a vegetable or seed-based oil rather than a mineral-based one. For daily skin maintenance, a cream or lotion may be more useful as it will be absorbed into the skin faster, be easier and quicker to apply, and be less greasy under clothing.
Be cautious however that creams and lotions are more likely to contain irritating synthetic ingredients such as perfumes, colourants, emulsifiers and preservatives than ointments, so may be less suitable for highly sensitive skin.
Skin Salvation: Intensive Treatment for Dry Skin
For intensive, pure and natural dry skin moisturising care, that's also suitable for those who may be prone to eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and other dry, sensitive skin conditions, try Skin Salvation. The beeswax base of this product forms a semi-occlusive barrier, locking moisture in for longer and helping to keep external irritants out whilst providing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory protection. Herbal tinctures and natural vegetable oils feed essential fatty acids into the skin whilst soothing any itching and redness often associated with dry skin. Perfect for protecting and nourishing dry, sensitive skin without the use of harsh chemicals or perfumes.
To read more about this product and how to use it click here.
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream: Daily Maintenance
It is important for those who have a tendency towards to apply moisturiser throughout the day to skin in good, healthy condition. Our Daily Moisturising Cream is free from parabens and perfumes, so it's perfect for those with sensitive skin and those who may also be prone to eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Shea butter is used to soften and moisturise the skin and is also known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and regenerative properties. A natural way to keep skin moisturised all day long. No perfumes or masking chemicals are added to ensure this product is also suitable for those with highly sensitive skin. Available in 100ml as well as a bumper 300ml size. To read more about this product and how to use it click here.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.