NHS Dudley Health Economy Medicines Formulary
Home > 13 Skin > 13.2 Emollient and barrier preparations

13.2 Emollient and barrier preparations

General Guidance

  • Emollients soothe, smooth and hydrate the skin and so are indicated for all dry and scaling disorders.
  • The severity of the condition, patient preference and site of application will often guide the choice of emollient.
  • ZeroAQS cream is suitable for many patients.
  • More greasy preparations such as white soft paraffin and emulsifying.
  • ointment and a mixture of white soft paraffin and emulsifying ointment have a greater hydrating ability than aqueous cream. Emulsifying ointment may also be used as a soap substitute.
  • Preparations containing an antibacterial should be avoided unless infection is present.
  • Many proprietary products have few advantages over those listed above, some contain excipients such as stabilisers or fragrances to which patients may develop sensitisation therefore these should be avoided were possible.

Recommended drugs

Zerobase cream

Zeroderm ointment

Dermol cream

ZeroAQS  cream

White soft paraffin

Emulsifying ointment

Liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin (50:50 mixture)

Hydromol intensive urea 10%


Drug Traffic Light Key:

Green – On Formulary

Amber – Restricted use, see local guidelines      

Purple – Specialist use/initiation

Red – Non Formulary


Relative Costs Key (where indicated):

£££££ - high

£££ - moderate

£ - low

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