Skin cream is a thick, oily composition typically for application on the epidermis. Some creams for use on the mucous membranes like those of the nose or mouth are also employed. A typical skin cream will contain moisturizers, emollients, antibacterial and antifungal agents, preservatives, antioxidants and other substances that are intended to protect the cells and collagen, improve elasticity, or restore a normal appearance to the skin. Skin care products are typically applied topically, although they can be applied to the skin in a cream form for easier administration.
Most creams for dry skin contain emollients. These include humectants, which are substances that help prevent the loss of water from the cells; oils, which provide lubrication for the skin; and emollients, which soften and help retain moisture. The most common of these ingredients is humectant oil, which can be derived from cotton and hemp, and has been shown to effectively reduce wrinkles in animals. Other humectants are glycerin and seaweed. Humectants are especially important because without them the skin can become too dry. Glycerin and seaweed are rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that help to moisturize and soften the skin while also providing emollients that help to repair and restore damaged skin cells.
A doctor may recommend a skin cream for dry skin or an ointment containing humectants and preservatives if a person develops diaper rash. Dermatology professionals suggest applying a small amount of an over the counter skin moisturizer to an area of a skin burn or diaper rash approximately four hours after the area has been burned. Such treatment should not be used by anyone with a history of diaper rash. It should also be used by anyone who has a history of cancer of the skin, as the ingredients in over the counter skin lotions have been known to cause cancer. For these reasons, only a doctor can give the diagnosis and decide on the best course of action for any individual’s skin type and any particular problem.