Moisturizing and Emollient Creams, Which One Is Better?

While both emollient creams and moisturizers are intended to treat dry skin, emollient creams also incorporate active ingredients to restore elasticity and soothe dry skin.

They have active ingredients such as sodium lactate, urea, allantoin, or special amino acids.

These are indicated in dehydrated skin cases, such as skin with atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis, and psoriasis, among other skin conditions.

Moisturizing and Emollient Creams, Which One Is Better?

What are Emollient Creams and Moisturizers Good For?

The common goal of emollient and moisturizing creams is softening the dry skin and restoring its characteristic appearance.

Although their use is generally very different, these creams start being used as the skin begins to show signs of deterioration, such as cracks, dryness, or tightness.

Contrary to popular belief these conditions can actually appear at any age.

Nowadays, emollient and moisturizing creams are often used by both adults and younger people.

Normally, our skin already fulfills these basic protective functions.

But sometimes there is the need to get some extra skin protection: men’s skin is more resistant and has a higher amount of androgens.

In contrast, women’s skin is more delicate and sensitive to temperature changes.

What Kind of Emollients Exist?

There are two types of emollients: hydrophilic emollients, characterized by their moisturizing action, and lipophilic emollients, which keep the water bound to the stratum corneum by forming an oily emulsion.

Nowadays, there is more demand for fluid emollients of quick absorption, less viscous, and less greasy.

It is recommended to apply emollient creams all over the body regarding its use, concentrating on the drier areas.

The ideal time is after bathing, as they penetrate better, and they can be used once or several times a day, depending on each patient.

Moisturizing or hydrating creams, on the other hand, provide water to the skin, thus recovering the moisture; very useful in cold and dry climates and are the most suitable on healthy skin without any condition.

Still, when in doubt, it is always best to consult a dermatologist about your skin type and needs.

Emollients in Motion

Emollients work by creating an occlusive (airtight and watertight) membrane atop the stratum corneum, which alleviates psoriasis symptoms.

They do so by adding oils, also known as lipids, to the moisturizer foundation.

These lipids penetrate the stratum corneum’s cracks and seal water on the skin’s surface.

The emollient effect is proportional to the lipid material.

Emollients help plump the cells in the stratum corneum known as corneocytes in addition to hydrating the skin.

This has the following consequences:

  • Keeping rid of skin flaking and scaling
  • Cracks in the skin are softened.
  • Irritation reduction
  • Itching relief
  • Keeping scratching and bleeding at bay
  • Inflammation relief
  • Improving the barrier role of the skin
  • Keeping secondary infections at bay
  • Promoting health and healing

Regain Hydration and Smoothness With an Emollient Cream

Unlike a moisturizer for the face, emollient creams are intended for people with skin conditions such as atopic or dehydrated skin or with psoriasis.

Emollient creams are characterized by their soothing properties, which are very effective in combating these types of problems, often associated with poor diet, stress, and temperature changes.

In this sense, emollient creams are the best treatment for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin diseases, strengthening its resistance to allergens and free radicals, which cause skin cell aging. 

Besides, thanks to the soothing effect, discomforts such as rough skin and itching are reduced.

And not only that, but it does so naturally by synthesizing the facts of the epidermis and reducing the irritations and redness that can appear on the surface of the skin.

In short, emollient creams restore the skin’s original properties, repairing all damaged elements and causing the skin cells to regain their normal activity.

This is mainly because the formula of many of these creams includes anti-inflammatory and antihistamine ingredients that prevent and reduce both inflammation and redness.

Moisturizing Cream, an Extra Supply of Water for Sensitive Skins

Similar to emollient creams, moisturizers have also been developed to combat skin dryness.

However, their action is characterized by the high water concentration they bring to the dermal cells to optimize their metabolic processes.

On the other hand, a facial moisturizer can penetrate the skin’s deeper layers using components such as lanolin, vegetable oils, vitamins, and mineral salts.

However, keep in mind that before applying a moisturizer to your skin, you should first make sure that you are clean and toned by following your usual exfoliating treatment.

When it is recommended to apply a moisturizer in the morning, the time of day will protect you from the cold, wind, and sun until you go to bed at night.

In this sense, it is also worth mentioning that not all moisturizers are the same. We distinguish 2 types: moisturizing and occlusive.

Humectant Cream

These cosmetic products act on the skin’s intermediate layers to generate a protective barrier, preventing water loss and stimulating its moisturizing capacity.

Other actions performed by moisturizing creams are softening the dermis, leaving it smoother, absorbing water, and contributing to dermal cells’ growth.

Likewise, the properties of these products are similar to those of an aloe vera cream.

Occlusive Cream

Cosmetic and beauty products called “occlusive” are very similar to moisturizers.

Occlusive creams are characterized by forming an invisible physical barrier on the epidermis (the surface layer of the skin) that prevents water evaporation.

These creams, however, do not share a moisturizing action as in the case of moisturizers.

They use natural ingredients known for their skin health benefits, such as lanolin, shea butter, and beeswax.


Almost anyone with psoriasis, including those with mild, moderate, and extreme symptoms, will benefit from using an emollient product.

Emollients can help protect the skin, facilitate healing, and prevent symptoms from returning.

When treating psoriasis, keep in mind that emollients are rarely used alone.

They can help with dryness and scratching, but they don’t treat the undercarriage.

The importance of emollients during a crisis is already known.

However, if you are not in a flare, it is also important to keep your skin hydrated by using a good moisturizer daily as a form of prevention.