Applying emollients

Applying an emollient at least once a day helps reduce the severity and frequency of flare-ups.

It works most effectively when applied immediately after cleansing. It must be applied using clean hands, with short clipped fingernails, once any jewelery has been removed. It is recommended to "warm up" the cream with the hands before messaging it on gently, consistently, and without rubbing.  Applying an emollient should be a pleasant and relaxing experience.  If the patient experiences burning sensations or redness during application, it is recommended to change the emollient.

Which emollient should you choose?

There are several emollients and a range of textures to choose from. This choice is made based on the degree of skin dryness:

Which emollient should you choose?

  • The best emollient to use is the one that feels best on your skin, or on your child's skin, when applied regularly.
  • It is best to use fragrance-free emollients.

How to apply an emollient ?

Massaging the emollient into your skin helps keep skin extra soft and relaxed, which promotes better treatment acceptability.  It is recommended to apply a sufficient amount of the emollient, starting by warming it up between clean hands then applying in large circular motions. 

There are different application tips for different areas of the body. Your child can quickly learn these simple steps.

  • Legs: Start by massaging the legs, moving up from the ankle to the upper thigh and back to front.
  • Arms: Then proceed by massaging the arms, moving up from the wrist to the underarms, before moving on to the hands, massaging from the fingers to the wrists.
  • Torso: Place hands flat on the lower stomach and, in circular motions, move along the torso up to the neck.
  • Back: From the neck, move hands down along the shoulders in an wrapping-like motion, having the child sit and place his or her head against your shoulder. Then massage the back starting from the lower back, moving upwards towards the back of the neck and up to the ears if necessary.
  • Face: After warming up the cream with the fingertips, place finger flat along the top of the forehead, moving down the temples to come back to the nose, sliding beneath the eyes. Then move down along the sides of the nose, then the cheeks and finally down to the chin.
  • Feet: In the evening, take this moment to relax, gently massaging along the bottom of each foot out towards each toe.

Does your child have atopic eczema? We've made this video to help you explain how to apply their emollient :

Watch the "How to apply your cream" video with your child to help them learn simple steps to moisturize atopic skin

Download the "Details on how to moisturize" information sheet

Download the "Skin and Galenic" brochure

PDF iconhow-to-aplly-the-emollient_uk.pdf

PDF iconleaflet_skin-and-galenic-texturegb.pdf

How to aplly the emollient

Skin and galenic


  • Never apply an emollient to damaged, oozing skin
  • Do not rub skin, as this can cause it to become irritated
  • Washing your hands before each application is essential
Key tips for daily management of atopic eczema:
  • Develop a firm understanding of the pathology (especially triggering factors)
  • Follow the instructions and treatments provided by your doctor
  • Discuss with your doctor about any suspected food allergies, even if it is rare for atopic dermatitis to be caused by food allergies (as explained in Dr. Robert's video)
  • Learn to adapt treatments according to your symptoms and their severity (flare-ups > topical corticosteroids / remission > emollients).   


get access to daily tips


help you assess your eczema's severity, download the PO-SCORAD* app


* PO-SCORAD (Patient Oriented SCOring Atopic Dermatitis) : Allergy. 2011 Aug;66(8):1114-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2011.02577.x. Epub 2011 Mar 18.