There are numerous preparations for softening dry scaling skin and it is largely a matter of personal preference as to which one is used.

Official preparations

• Soft white paraffin—greasy; protects skin and is long lasting.

• Emulsifying ointment—less greasy; mixes with water and can be used for washing.

• Aqueous cream—oil in water emulsion; useful as a vehicle, as an emollient, and for washing.

• Liquid paraffin: white soft paraffin, equal parts—spreads easily and is less greasy than white soft paraffin.

• Hydrophilic ointment—contains propylene glycol; mixes with water and spreads easily.

• Lanolin (hydrous wool fat)—the natural emollient from sheep; mixes with water and greases, softens the epidermis, but can also cause allergic reactions.

Proprietary preparations

Proprietary preparations are numerous, varied, and more expensive than the standard preparations. They may also contain sensitisers—lanolin and preservatives (hydroxybenzoate, chlorocresol, sorbic acid)—and can cause allergies. Some examples are E45 cream (Crookes), Oilatum cream (Stiefel), and Lacticare (Stiefel), Unguentum Merck (Merck), Aquadrate (Norwich Eaton), and Diprobase (Schering-Plough).

Bath additives

Bath additives comprise dispersible oils such as Oilatum (Westwood, United States), Aveeno (Bioglan), Balneum (Merck), Alpha Keri (Westwood, United States), Emulsiderm, and Dermol (Dermal).

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