Moisturisers are the fundamental part of AD care, they act to restore the skin barrier function to that of healthy skin.
July 5, 2023
Moisturisers are the fundamental part of AD care, they act to restore the skin barrier function to that of healthy skin. If the barrier function is able to act normally we can stop irritants from entering the skin preventing the subsequent allergic and inflammatory responses from occurring. Proper moisturiser use is both an effective treatment and preventative measure.
Moisturisers ingredients & functions
Occlusive agents are oily ingredients that form a thin layer on the skin blocking moisture loss
Humectants are ingredients that attract water vapour to moisturise the skin
Emollients fill in the cracks between skin cells to smoothen the skin
Moisturisers contain multiple ingredients with the above functions, choosing the right one for you is based on your personal preference, what works best for you may not work best for someone else.
Categories of moisturisers
Ointments have the highest concentration of oily ingredients, meaning they work well at blocking moisture loss but are often heavier and can have a greasy feel. They take longer to absorb and can be difficult to apply over large areas. People often use ointments at night. As a rule the drier your skin the more likely you are to tolerate heavier oily products.
Creams have a higher water to oil content, this means they are better absorbed, lighter and feel less greasy than ointments. They still contain some oil and therefore stay on the skin longer and have some moisture-locking action. They are often used during the day due to their less greasy appearance than ointments.
Lotions have the least oil content, this means they absorb fastest and are easy to apply thinly to large areas of the body. Because they absorb quickly and don’t have a strong moisture-locking function they need to be applied regularly throughout the day.
When choosing a moisturiser you should consider how often you’re willing to apply the product (the more frequent the lighter), whether you like or don’t like the feel of heavier products and which part of the body you are needing to moisturise. People often require more than one moisturiser for different body areas or different times of use.
*Aqueous cream used to be recommended as a moisturiser for AD but has been shown to irritate the skin and exacerbate the condition so should be avoided.