There is no ‘best’ when it comes to skincare products – everybody’s skin is different. Different people’s skin will react to skincare products differently, and you might prefer to use certain types of products at certain times of the day or year.
However, there are some types of products which work well for many people. Emollients are a key product that can usually be built into your skincare routine. Not only do they help restore moisture to dry or itchy skin, they also help form a barrier over your skin to help keep moisture in and protect your skin from irritants.
A complete skincare routine is most effective when your emollient cream is used alongside soap-substitute products, as normal soap products can make your skin more dry. In some cases a healthcare professional can also advise eczema sufferers to use topical steroid creams to help manage their skin during flare ups (when their skin is particularly red or itchy).
When used properly, topical steroids can be an effective treatment for conditions such as eczema. Your healthcare professional will only advise you or your child to use a topical steroid that’s appropriate for specific needs.
Whilst topical steroids can have some side effects, if they’re used properly as directed by a healthcare professional there’s no reason to worry.
Lanolin is used in lots of emollient products. The oils in lanolin have a similar chemical composition to those found in your skin and can help your skin retain water.
Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, where it acts as a natural water repellent. Many decades ago there was an issue with Lanolin because it wasn't sufficiently purified, which caused some people to be sensitive to creams that included the ingredient.
Still, evidence has shown that very few people in the normal population are sensitive to Lanolin. Certain people can be allergic to Lanolin, but they often have a related allergy e.g. people who are allergic to wool.
Some creams, including E45, contain an ingredient called Medilan™. This is a purified form of Lanolin with the same moisturising properties – but it’s also a hypoallergenic, medical-grade Lanolin, which means it’s less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
For eczema sufferers it’s important to use emollient around 2–4 times a day (depending on instructions from emollient manufacturers), even if you feel your skin’s improving. Adults with eczema should use at least 500g every week (about one handful every day) while children with eczema (under supervision) should usually use at least 250g a week (about half an adult handful every day or as indicated by a healthcare professional).