Dr. Rowe's Allergy Info

(248) 473-6400
24120 Meadowbrook Road, Suite 201
Novi, MI 48375

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Moisturizers for Skin Diseases: New Insights
By Michael S. Rowe, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.I.

Moisturizers are an important piece in the treatment of chronic skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis, protecting and rehydrating the skin where needed.  A necessary benefit of your skin is to provide a barrier from the outside world, keeping water in and allergens, irritants, and infectious germs out. When your skin barrier is not functioning well, skin difficulties such as eczema may flare.

Moisturizers are beneficial as an adjunct for the normal skin barrier function, ideally helping to restore the skin to its normal state.  Unfortunately, there are no accepted treatment guidelines for the use of moisturizers, leaving advertising to help choose the optimal product to reduce dry and irritated skin. 

A variety of product types are available:

  • Water based products-These gels, lotions, or creams do not leave a sticky residue, but may add very little water to the skin and cause burning or stinging when applied.
  • Ointment based products-Usually greases or oils with little to no water.  May be very occlusive and do not generally sting or burn, but may be perceived as greasy.
  • Emulsions-Usually oil and water based lotions, gels, or ointments.  Most products sold are in this category and generally are associated with the best moisturization.

Moisturizers can be evaluated based on consistency and feel (the degree of greasiness) as well as their acidity relative to that of the skin itself.  Some creams have enhanced barrier activity due to their delivery mechanisms.  The addition of natural oils may give better barrier function and repair.  Safflower and sunflower seed oils appear to be more effective than olive oil.  Preservatives may enhance the stability of the products and inhibit germ growth.     

In conclusion, moisturizers are an important part of therapy for a variety of skin conditions including eczema.  As it can be challenging for a consumer to choose the best option for their skin type, condition, and budget, this accentuates the need for your allergist to help you choose the optimal product.

Make an appointment to see Dr. Rowe to help you get the best result for your skin condition!

  Call our office at 248-473-6400!  Family members and friends are welcome.

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