Audrey is a lover of all things DIY. The personal touch is so important and something we all can enjoy—in the creation or receiving!
If you have a problem with your skin like eczema or psoriasis, you have probably tried many emollient creams that have proven to be ineffective.
This author suffers from hand eczema which depends upon certain times of the year or skin irritants such as cleaning products, foods used in cooking, or even soaps and lotions, which can be easily flared into the red alarm phase.
Many over-the-counter emollient creams while boasting that they contain "all-natural" ingredients are made with additives and preservatives, dyes and perfumes (even some of the products claiming to be unscented). These can aggravate skin conditions overnight.
For people with skin problems, there is nothing worse under the sun than having dry, itchy, flaking or cracked skin and not being able to find skincare products that help rather than hurt the condition.
In the do-it-yourself world, however, there is a solution. You can make your own emollient creams very quickly and affordably and cut out all the extra ingredients in between. You can also discover which products work best for your skin.
This author would advise caution and trying one type of skin product for a few weeks before moving on to another type of cream. Not all eczema is created equal; likewise not every skin condition responds to the ingredients the same way.
For instance, some people will have good luck with cocoa butter while this author does not. It acts as an irritant for my type of eczema whereas coconut oil products work better for me. As in all things, start slowly and measure your response when using any emollient cream.
Mineral oil is also said to be a great skin product, however, I did not mention it in creams because it has a downside--it blocks pores. All the emollient cream ingredient products can be found online but you can also purchase them in stores like Michaels or other crafter do-it-yourself stores.
Properties of Natural Ingredients for Skin Creams
|Ingredient||Emolient Properties||Healing Properties||Use in Treatment of|
Keeps in moisture and provides barrier
Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial
Eczema or psoriasis
Provides moisture; skin softener; non-greasy; high in fatty acids
Works on dry or chapped skin; anti-irritant
Irritation, rashes or burns
Helps cells repair, blocks free radicals, moisturizing
Anti-aging, vitamins A and E, skin repair
Wound healing or scars
Provides moisture and protectant barrier
Anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory
Reduces scars or stretch marks, eczema
Vitamin E oil
Blocks free radicals and creates new cell growth
Anti-aging and antioxidant; boosts collagen production
Scar treatment; keeps skin soft and supple
Repairs wrinkled skin or dry, flaky skin
Anti-inflammatory and skin firming
Psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, wrinkles
Keeps in moisture and provides barrier; blocks free radicals
Anti-aging and skin elasticity, vitamin E, antioxidant
Rosacea, eczema, psoriasis
Healing Additions to Emollient Creams
Again it's important to note that some people will benefit from some types of ingredients while others may find that it worsens their skin condition. Try one product at a time to see which provides the most relief dependent on your skin's needs.
- Add lanolin for added moisturizing--but caution is required. Many people have an allergy to lanolin which can cause reactive dermatitis or inflammation of the skin.
- Aloe vera gel--add for its healing properties but watch for signs of drying of the skin. While aloe vera gel has many healing properties, it can dry the skin quickly.
- Add water for dilution and also for moisture.
- Essential oils can be added in small amounts to give aromatherapy properties and will also help preserve homemade hand creams.
- Other oils can be used such as grapeseed, avocado, apricot, etc. However, they are heavier oils than those listed above.
- Vitamin E capsules can be opened and added to the creams to provide more healing properties.
- Borax (1/4 teaspoon usually) can be added to help water and oil emulsions to mix appropriately.
- Glycerin is used as well for blending properties.
Cocoa Butter and Almond Oil Emollient Cream Recipe
- 4 ounces cocoa butter
- 4 ounces almond oil
- 2 ounces shaved beeswax
- Melt beeswax and cocoa butter in a double boiler until thoroughly melted.
- Stir in the almond oil.
- Remove from heat. Pour into a heatproof clean glass container.
- Let cool before covering.
Coconut and Olive Oil Emollient Cream With Vitamin E
- 4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ounces Trader Joe organic coconut oil
- 1 ounce vitamin E oil
- 1 ounce shaved beeswax
- Heat beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat.
- Lower heat and stir in coconut oil, olive oil, and vitamin E oil.
- Pour into a clean heatproof glass jar. Cool before covering.
Do-It-Yourself Eczema Cream Recipe
During a recent flare of my hand eczema due to some cleaning product use, this author made the following homemade eczema cream.
The important thing to remember about this cream is that unlike most hand creams, it's a very thin cream and used for covering the affected skin temporarily. You leave on (up to half an hour) and then rinse off.
This author can attest to the fact that it did heal up the inflamed areas quickly. Honey actually has antibacterial properties so it's okay to use on even open or raw areas of eczema.
The only downside to this cream is having to wait for a half-hour for it to sit on your skin and then wash it off.
Note: It also can be used as a skin facial mask--and you can add more egg whites to enhance the liquidy cream's skin softening abilities.
- 1/2 cup ground whole oats--grind in the blender or food processor until powdery
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup of organic unflavored honey
- 1 beaten egg white (or add extra)
- Grind oats to a powdery consistency.
- Mix in water, egg white(s) and honey. (Blend in a food processor or blender or whisk quickly)
- Apply the cream to the affected area (or as a facial mask) for 30 minutes.
- Rinse off and pat dry affected areas.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Emollient Cream
Step 1: Grind rolled oats into a powdery form in a food processor or blender.
Step 2: Add water, honey and egg white(s) to the powdered oat mixture. Blend by hand, in the food processor or blender until relatively smooth and well mixed.
Step 3: Mixture should be on the thin side and will be a little granular because of the oats but it should be well mixed together.
Step 4: Pour into a container with a lid. Store in a dark, cool place. Use as needed. Remember to rinse after a 30 minute application. Add extra egg whites for skin softening properties.
Obviously the best way to decrease the need for skin emollient creams and products is to not have problems with your skin. Look for common triggers such as foods, cleaning products, soaps and detergents.
Many people use aqueous creams or emulsifying ointments instead of hand and bath soaps because of the drying properties of soaps and body washes. This is a good alternative if you find an aqueous cream that soothes your skin rather than inflames it.
Remembering to use emollient creams or products right after bathing is crucial. This is when skin most needs additional moisture. Pat skin dry, then apply emollient creams and products.
Always test a product slowly, whether store-bought or homemade, to see how your skin will react. A best practice is to spot test a small area for a reaction before applying liberally. Especially if using essential oils, be sure that your skin will tolerate add-ins.
Emollient products are great for adding to the bathwater. Especially for children with skin problems, this can be an effective way to provide all-over coverage though have caution with slippery tubs when using emollients in the bathwater.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: How long can these emollient creams last?
Answer: I have had some homemade ones that have lasted for over a year.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 20, 2012:
Thank you Helen and if I had a dime for all the creams I have bought that said they were "perfect for eczema"...hmmm--I'd be rich. I just bought TWO hand creams not a month ago that totally flared up my hand so badly that it took me a week to get it back to the un-burning, non-itching stage...and that was after the tiniest of applications. They claimed to have no additives, no alcohol, no nothing--but they were definitely irritants!
You are right and I do wound care reports every day with the honey dressings--I actually used the "dip" I show above for my hand after I'd used those horrid creams and it DID make it better within hours. I just have to remember to wash it off~ Either that or my dogs may eat my hands the next time!
Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on October 20, 2012:
Audrey this is one class A++++ Fabulous hub! There is so much information here that is knew to me and it was fascinating!
I don't have a skin condition myself, but I will try some of your recipes just because they seem a wonderful way to keep your skin moisturised and with all healthy products in them to boot!!
I am a big fan of honey as well. I think this is such a wonderful, natural all round product that can be used for so many things. I've seen very nasty, infected ulcers that were healed very quickly using a honey based dressing - with no side affects!!
I agree with you entirely that not all creams and lotions will work for everyone. I hate the way companies advertise their products like it was the miracle of the century, when half the stuff they have their products are irritants and very unhealthy for the skin I think!
I loved this wonderful hub, it will be a real god-send to many, many people who are looking for a advice on skin care!! Voted up + shared!
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 15, 2012:
Thanks Om--I had the problems with acne too in my 20's and 30's--very annoying to say the least....but THAT I could clear up-once I figured out what foods (chocolate--boo hoo as I've told you) did it pretty consistently. Now if I could just figure out the trigger for the eczema though cleaning products are the WORST! I find that most gloves also flare it up so that really is a pain--but I found some new gloves at Whole Foods that (knocking on wood) seem to be working! Oh my gosh---could I be that lucky?
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 15, 2012:
Thanks so much, Virginia for the info--that is true---except that what I read said that for people with eczema, petroleum jelly can make things worse. For me that is the case---not for dry skin run of the mill though so that works. I've had this for decades now and can't quite figure out why just ONE hand! It makes no sense if you ask me--and in the same spot!
The bathing thing really does work though- my middle guy has it really bad and that was what we had to do for him too.
Glad you found it useful--I'm going to be experimenting with some of these after mine settles down but that oatmeal honey did the trick pretty quickly---only dumb me--I didn't read the fine print about washing it off and couldn't figure out why my hand was stuck (literally) to my mouse!
Om Paramapoonya on October 15, 2012:
What a helpful hub! I love your chart that shows different natural ingredients for skin creams and their healing properties. Although I don't have eczema or any serious skin problem (only annoying occasional acne!), I surely found this hub to be very interesting. Rated up and awesome!
Virginia Kearney from United States on October 15, 2012:
Absolutely terrific Hub--voted up and pinning. I did some of this sort of mixing of my own creams way back in the 70s when it was much harder to get ingredients. I'm excited to try some of your suggestions--many of these things I've seen at my local grocery store but didn't know what to do with them. I should add that I thought my daughter from China had skin problems because of itchy bumps (lots of adoptive parents were finding the same thing and going through expensive therapy). I took her to our pediatrician who told me that it was probably mostly due to dry skin. She advised not giving her a bath more than twice a week and coating her when wet with oil or vasoline--messy but it absolutely worked. I actually use shea butter or vasoline on my own dry hands, but I do not have any ezema problems. Love, love, this Hub.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 15, 2012:
Thanks Eddy--and amen~
Eiddwen from Wales on October 15, 2012:
Useful and one which I am sharing onto my FB page.
Enjoy your day and here's to so many more to come.
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 14, 2012:
Thanks for the laugh as usual, BJ--I remember going to an all natural makeup party when I was about 20 and making a joke about eating the creams when I ran out of grocery money--she did not think I was too dang funny and packed up her stuff and left the building~
I figure when times get tough...if you can't afford food, eat your natural makeup~ Or creams--or whatever else is handy! Just not dog food as there are too many recalls to make it safe for human consumption!!!
drbj and sherry from south Florida on October 14, 2012:
These hand-made skin cream recipes are terrific, Audrey. I can't wait to eat them .... I mean, try them. Thanks also for helping me finally learn how to spell emollient. :)
Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 13, 2012:
Thanks, Denise~ I forgot to put my own recipe and pictures on there--too much~ Good luck and I hope you have great success with your creams!
Denise Mai from Idaho on October 13, 2012:
This is FABULOUS! I have wanted to do this since forever. Thank you for sharing. I can't wait to try making my own healing creams. We have a wonderful store down the street that has all of those ingredients. Voted up and sharing on HP and Pinterest. (So I can find it easily.)