InStep Foot Clinic

The Specialists in
Podiatric Medicine

Opening Hours

Monday: 8.00am - 5.00pm
Tuesday: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Wednesday: 8.00am - 8.30pm
Thursday: 8.00am - 6.00pm
Friday: 8.00am - 2.00pm


01780 783982

Dry Skin

What is Dry Skin

Skin is affected by a number of factors that can cause dry skin. We will try and find out what is causing your dry skin by assessing your medical history , bathing routine and medication. The full cause is often a combination of a number of factors. For example soaking in a bubble bath for 20 minutes, followed by vigorous towelling dry is three causes in one simple event. If skin dries out too much it loses its elasticity, thickens and cracks.

The causes may be physiological or pathological as shown here:

Young or elderly, Menopause, Soaps, bubble bath and shower gels, Soaking the skin, Insufficient rinsing of skin cleaning products , V ig orous drying with a to w el, Ov er-ba thing, Temperature and humidity, Sun exposure

Skin conditions e.g. eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, Skin infection, Peripheral vascular disease, Iron deficiency anaemia, Diabetes mellitus , Th yroid disease, Anorexia nerv osa, Vitamin deficiency of A, B, C &E, Renal failure, Lymphoma and other internal malignancies, Drugs including statins, cimetidine, retinoids

Which Emollients are Best?

‘Leave On’ Emollients - Gehwol, CCS,
‘Leave on’ Humectants - CCS Heel Balm
Bath Additives - Diprobath, Diprobase, Oilatum

What are the Benefits of Emollients?

The term emollient, derived from Latin is used to describe substances that soften and improve hydration within the skin such as moisturisers, soap substitutes and bath oils. They work by trapping or concentrating water content within the epidermis replenishing the corneo- cytes with water causing them to swell and replacing depleted Natural Moisturising Factors to improve waterproofing and restore the barrier function to the epidermis. Immediately after application, the skin feels smooth due to the filling in of cracks within the epidermis and has increased flexibility .

How Much Emollient Should I Apply?

Emollients should be applied to the feet as frequently as possible. However, people with busy lifestyles will struggle to follow a frequent dosage regime. It has been suggested that 25-50g per week is appropriate.

1 single pump of emollient = 1g
• Mildly dry feet = 4g per day
• Very dry feet = 8g per day

How to Obtain Best Results

• Apply ‘leave on’ emollients for day use and humectants for night use
• A damp sock or Clingfilm applied over the foot
• Leave on overnight, apply emollient for day use
• Wash using a bath additive

Complete Emollient Therapy

Previous thinking was for podiatrists to prescribe only a ‘leave on’ product. In 2013, this was replaced by Complete Emollient Therapy. This expounds that for moderate and very dry skin, a ‘leave on’ product alone may be inadequate and that the addition of a soap substitute i.e. bath oil or shower gel is necessary to increase the effect. Many emollient creams and ointments can be used in the place of soap when washing to prevent drying of the skin. Stopping the use of all soaps, shower gels and bubble baths will reduce the dryness of the skin during washing and bathing. This will enhance the effectiveness of the emollient products used. To obtain maximum effect and to achieve a successful outcome, you must follow the instructions closely and regularly.

Complete Emollient Therapy is not necessary for all patients; it is suitable only for those with moderate to severe dry skin. However, anyone wishing to improve the condition of their skin can benefit from the Therapy.

The recommended optimum approach:

• Bath or shower using a bath oil or an emollient was product.
• Then, when the skin is still damp, to apply a ‘leave on’ product. This traps a double layer of moisture in the skin.
• Always use a bath mat when using bath oils and emollient wash products as they can make bathroom surfaces slippery.