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Are You Applying Enough Emollient?

How effective your moisturising routine is, depends on how regularly you apply the emollients and how much you use. So… are you using enough?

You need more than you think

Most people tend not to use enough emollient product and are often quite surprised by the amount of cream, lotion or ointment that should be applied each day.

In general, apply the amount of product, that feels good and comfortable for your skin. If your skin feels dry after application, apply some more. As long as you are not using any medical topical treatments (e.g. steroids), you can use as much as needed to soothe your skin.

How much you need will, depends on how severe your skin condition is, however, you may find yourself needing up to 500g of emollients per week. This means that it is not unusual to use a tube or two per week depending on how big the packages you buy are.

How to measure your emollient

The amount needed can be estimated by a ‘fingertip unit’ (FTU), which is the
amount of cream that can be squeezed from a standard size nozzle (5 mm
diameter) from the first skin-crease of your index finger to its tip.

Here’s a breakdown of how much product it is recommended to use on different parts of your body for one single application. You should aim for at least 2 applications a day.

  • Face: aim for around 1-2g of an emollient cream a day, that’s roughly 2-4 fingertip units - or 7ml of lotion.

  • Both hands: use between 2-3,5g a day of cream, that’s around 4-7 FTUs - or 15ml of lotion

  • Scalp: use between 3,5-7g of cream, that’s 7-14 FTUs or 15ml of lotion,
  • For both arms or both legs: use  7-14g of cream, which is 14-28 FTUs. or 15ml of lotion,

  • Trunk: Use 29g of cream, which is 58 FTUs, or 35,5ml of lotion.

  • Groin and genitalia: Use 1-2g of cream, that’s roughly 2-4 FTUs, or 7ml of lotion

    Remember, the more liberally you apply your emollient therapy, the more effective it is likely to be at helping to soothe and replenish your irritated, dry skin. 

    Save our handy guide to help you remember how much emollient to use:


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