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The Difference Between Moisturisers and Emollients

Living with psoriasis can be difficult and at times frustrating to deal with. As an incurable autoimmune disease it's important to relieve some of the symptoms of psoriasis through the use of moisturisers and emollients.

While the ancient Egyptians began using wool fat to soften the skin over two thousand years ago, modern moisturisers and emollients are far more user friendly. There's a lot of confusion about the two terms, but there are important differences between the two, particularly in the way they can be used to help managing psoriasis symptoms such as skin scaling and itching.


Moisturisers hydrate the skin by applying a humectant
to the skin's surface while emollients, on the other hand,
prevent the
loss of hydration by forming an occlusive barrier.



The British Dermatological Nursing Group defines a moisturiser as a lipid that will actively hydrate your skin by applying a humectant to the skin's surface. The Psoriasis Association defines moisturisers as the creams and ointments used in emollient therapy that are widely available and don't need to be prescribed by a doctor.

Moisturisers generally come in three consistencies: water-based lotions used for maintaining good skin condition; thicker creams for day to day use; and thick, oil-based ointments that are usually your best option for dealing with very dry skin such as psoriasis.



According to the British Dermatological Nursing Group, the lipids in an emollient prevent the loss of hydration from the skin by forming a waterproof barrier. This is known as occluding the skin. Emollients also include the wider family of skincare products like soap substitutes and bath oils while emollients can also be found in the form of creams, lotions and ointments. Emollients may also include additional ingredients that have a therapeutic rather than a cosmetic effect. Some can be found on prescription but most of them can be purchased without a prescription, like here at HelloSkin.

The ability for an emollient to hold water in the skin depends on the proportion of fats to liquids. As a general rule, the thicker and greasier they are, the more effective they will prove at forming an occlusive layer. Paraffin-based emollients are particularly efficient at forming a barrier but can be unpleasant to use.

A good skin maintenance regime that includes both emollients and moisturisers is key to effective psoriasis treatment and remember: Moisturisers add hydration while emollients prevent the loss of hydration.

About HelloSkin

HelloSkin is the world's first online store for people with psoriasis. We provide a meticulous selection of non-prescription products ranging from creamslotionsointmentsbath additives and shower products to nutritional supplements and accessories.

Our team of experts research all products for scientific evidence and present the information in order for people to make a considered choice for their psoriasis. The mission is to provide transparency in the product selection process and provide people with all available product information at one place.


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