These are known as ‘emollients’ and are really important for the maintenance and treatment of dry skin conditions where they need to be used frequently to prevent dryness and itching – often up to four or five times a day.
Funding on the NHS is only for diagnosed skin conditions. Mild dry skin is something most people experience from time to time and simple emollients (moisturisers) can be purchased from any supermarket, health shop or pharmacy.
Due to the large quantities of these products prescribed by GP practices, we are asked to prescribe from an approved list of cost-effective products. Many of these contain exactly the same ingredients as more well-known brands, for example ‘Zerodouble’ is the same as ‘Doublebase’ and ‘Aproderm’ is very similar to ‘Aveeno’.
Bath and shower emollients are no longer recommended on the NHS because a large UK study on children with eczema found that using these products made no difference to the improvement of eczema compared to just using leave on emollients. Instead, we recommend using your normal emollient as a soap or dissolved in bath water. You can find more information about the study at https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/bath-oils-childhood-eczema-provide-no-clinical-benefit/