Use the routine in the...
- Morning: Cream + topical medicine if relevant (wait 30 minutes)
- During the day: Lotion or spray to bring
- Evening/at night: Ointment + topical medicine if relevant (wait 30 minutes)
- Bath/shower: Soap substitutes (e.g. ointment or cream)
In the morning: Cream (+ topical medication if relevant)
In the morning, it is recommended to use a cream to prepare the skin for the day. To make sure the skin gets the needed moisture, this should preferably be a cream with a relatively high content of lipids while still being absorbed quickly without leaving the skin greasy. Keeping the skin well hydrated and moist will help protect the skin from irritants and reduce the itch that is related to skin dryness.
If you use any topical medications, the medication should be applied 30 minutes after your cream.
Keeping the emollient cold (e.g. by placing it in the refrigerator) can help enhance their soothing effect when applied.
During the day: Lotion or spray to bring
As a rule of thumb, always keep your skin moisturised to reduce the itch. Whenever the skin feels dry, it is time to add some extra moist. To make this convenient during the day, you can possibly bring a small pot with you containing a small amount of your preferred cream or lotion.
Lotions contain more water than creams, giving lotions a cooling effect when the water evaporates from the skin surface. This cooling effect can also be seen in emollient sprays, which are easy and quick to use during the day.
Some products (including emollient sprays) are also available in travel sizes, which makes them more convenient to bring during the day.
At night: Ointment (+ topical medicine if relevant)
An ointment is recommended at night to give the skin time to absorb. Ointments are greasy and have a slower absorption time compared to creams, why they may stain the clothes and are therefore not convenient in the morning. If you are supposed to apply topical medications twice a day, wait 30 minutes after you have used your ointment before you apply your medication.
Bath/shower: Soap substitutes
Any soap, however mild, will dry the skin further, which is inappropriate for people with dry and itchy skin. Mix a small amount of emollient (cream or ointment) in the palm of your hand with warm water, and spread it over damp or dry skin. Although the emollients and cleansers for eczema do not produce foam like normal soaps, they are effective at cleaning the skin. Then, the cleanser can be rubbed into the skin and showered or washed off in the bath.
To avoid excessive water evaporation, limit your time in the shower or bath to 5 to 10 minutes and use warm rather than hot water. Always use an emollient (lotion, cream or ointment) after your bath.