What is emulsifying ointment?
Emulsifying ointment is a thick, greasy moisturiser, which contains a mixture of paraffin oils.
How does emulsifying ointment work?
Your skin feels dry, itchy and scaly when the outer layer of skin cells, known as the stratum corneum, loses too much water. The stratum corneum normally contains natural water-holding substances that retain water seeping up from the deeper layers of the skin.
Water is also usually kept in the skin by a film of natural oil (sebum) and broken-down skin cells that slow down evaporation of water from the skin surface.
The skin dries out when too much water evaporates from its surface. This increases as we get older, and is made worse by washing, because hot water and soap remove the layer of natural oil on the skin surface. People who suffer from eczema also appear to have less natural oils in their skin.
Emulsifying ointment contains emulsifying wax, liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin. When you apply the ointment to the skin, or use it instead of soap, these oils stay on the surface of the skin to prevent water evaporating from the skin surface.
If you have eczema, using a moisturiser regularly, even once your skin has improved, can help prevent flare-ups and reduce the need for topical corticosteroids.
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