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What are emollients?

Discover how emollients can benefit dry and sensitive skin

Emollients are a medical term for a moisturiser and can be an effective way of treating dry and sensitive skin in need of comfort. This is due to the way emollients hydrate the skin on contact while trapping in moisture with an invisible protective film. Emollients come in a range of textures such as ointments, lotions and creams and can help to reduce inflammation and prevent further flareups from happening. They can also be used as a substitute for soap. Read on to find out how they can benefit individual skin types.

What are the benefits for dry skin?

Dry skin can be caused by a number of external factors such as cold weather, central heating and a weakened skin barrier function. When the skin’s barrier is compromised, trans-epidermal water loss can occur and the skin loses natural oils that are essential for good skin health. Applying an emollient can help to improve dry skin conditions such as this by repairing the skin’s barrier function and creating a protective oily barrier to lock vital moisture in. An emollient will also reduce any related itching or risk of infection to the skin.

What are the benefits for sensitive skin?

When the skin is dry and lacking in moisture, water can easily escape from the skin and irritants move in. This can lead to skin sensitivity and conditions such as eczema and rashes. Emollients can help with skin sensitivity as they provide immediate comfort while strengthening the skin’s natural barrier function, reducing transepidermal water loss, and reducing inflammation and redness.

What other skin conditions can emollients benefit?

Due to the soothing and protecting nature of emollients, they can also be used to soothe burns and rashes and protect them from infection. This is due to the protective oily barrier that emollients provide the skin – keeping irritants and infection out and locking moisture in. Applying an emollient to a skin condition such as a rash will also prevent you from scratching which can introduce bacteria and infection.

How can you add emollients into your skincare routine?

There are a few ways you can add emollients into your skincare routine such as lotions, creams and oils. Lipikar Baume AP+M from La Roche-Posay, for example, is an effective way to hydrate and soothe dry, itchy skin that is also prone to eczema. This soothing baume provides the skin with triple-action efficacy and up to 48-hours of hydration. Its formula also restores the skin’s barrier function while reducing dry skin flareups and rebalancing the skin’s microbiome.

For soothing hydration on the go, Lipikar AP+ stick is another good option for the whole family – especially if you’re prone to itching and need instant relief to stop the itch-scratch cycle. Its high-tolerance formula can be used on any part of the body including the eyelids and on children as young as three months.

If your skin is very dry, cracked or damaged, Cicaplast Baume B5 SPF50 can be applied to restore comfort. Non-greasy and ultra-nourishing, it contains very moisturising ingredients including 5% Panthenol, Vitamin B5, Madecassoside, Glycerine, Shea Butter and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water.

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