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Emollient bath and shower preparations

Prescribing Notes

  • Emollient bath and shower preparations are not routinely recommended for use due to a lack of robust evidence of clinical effectiveness.
  • Many standard emollients (creams and ointments) can be used as a soap substitute / body wash. Ointments that are completely immiscible with water (such as white soft paraffin alone or white soft paraffin / liquid paraffin 50:50) are not suitable.
  • Soap substitutes should be applied to the skin before or during bathing / showering / washing and then rinsed off. Patients can be advised to mix a small amount (around teaspoonful) of emollient in the palm of their hand with a little warm water and spread it over damp or dry skin, avoiding contact with the eyes. This should not replace the regular use of a leave-on emollient. It is particularly important to apply the leave-on emollient after bathing / showering / washing, once the skin has been gently patted dry with a towel.
  • Warn people that extra care is required when emollients are used in the bath or shower as they make surfaces slippery.

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