Aqueous Cream for Dry Skin February 15 2016, 0 Comments
What Is Aqueous Cream?
Why Is Aqueous Cream Prescribed for Dry Skin?
Aqueous cream is often prescribed as a soap substitute for people whose skins are sensitive to the drying effects of soap. It can be rubbed into hands and washed off and although it doesn’t lather it does cleanse the skin of dirt. It is also sometimes prescribed as an emollient for eczema because the oily emulsion forms an occlusive barrier to lock in moisture that severely dry and broken skin needs.
What Is The Problem With Using Aqueous Creams?
The problem with aqueous cream is to do with its use as an emollient, not as a wash-off cleanser, because emollients are left on the skin. Aqueous creams contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is a known skin irritant.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)* have both issued warnings against using aqueous cream as emollients, especially on the extra sensitive skin of children.
Sodium lauryl sulfate seems to cause thinning of the skin and irritation if left on the skin so aqueous cream is not suitable to be used as an emollient; it isn’t unusual for babies and children who’ve been prescribed aqueous cream to become even more itchy and inflamed when the cream is applied, even experiencing burning or stinging sensations, leading to their skin becoming irritated and damaged with long term use.
What Are The Alternatives To Using Aqueous Cream?
People suffering from dry skin and from other more severe skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis really do need to find effective emollients for their skin, in order to protect the skin from external irritants, keep the skin moisturised and soothe the itchiness. Although aqueous cream tends to be the cheapest option, as we can see it is not necessarily the best one. It’s important for those with very dry skin to find an emollient that suits their skin type and works to keep it soft, supple and healthy. We’d suggest products from our Skin Salvation Dry Skin Range, such as our flagship salve, Intensive Moisturising Ointment or our soft and creamy Daily Moisturiser. We also produce a post-bathing emollient, the Bath & Body Oil, which is excellent for locking in moisture overnight.
*The NICE clinical guideline on atopic eczema in children, and the National Eczema Society have reported that aqueous cream may be associated with skin reactions, such as burning, stinging, itching and redness, when used as a leave-on emollient but not when used as a wash product (7,8). This is also stated in the current British National Formulary (1). The reactions, which are not generally serious, often occur within 20 minutes of application but can occur later (6). The difference in the irritation potential in some patients may be related to the contact time with the skin, as soap substitutes are largely removed in the washing process. The National Eczema Society advise to never use aqueous cream as a leave-on emollient as it is likely to exacerbate rather than improve the eczema (8).
Prepared by UK Medicines Information (UKMi) pharmacists for NHS healthcare professionals