Any topical skin treatment will do one thing; deliver an active ingredient through various layers of skin, or dermis.
The most common topical skin treatment is a moisturizer which treats dry, chafed or cracked skin to provide temporary relief from painful symptoms.
There are many causes of irritated and dried skin:
Exposure to elements such as wind, water or sweat
Reduction in production of natural moisturizers, as in old age
A skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis
Occasionally some of these conditions create scaly skin which is a visible detachment of cells from the surface of the skin. Cells slough off in normal skin too however they detach one at a time. In scaly skin the cells attach to each other to form small sheets of skin that can be seen leaving the body.
The best way to reduce the symptoms of irritable, dry or scaly skin is to eliminate, wherever possible, the conditions that cause the trouble. Take fewer baths during the dry winter months, but in the summer take more to wash away sweat and dirt particles that can cause skin inflammation.
When an occupation or sports passion does not allow for a reduction in activity, people with painful skin conditions often turn to emollients and moisturizers. By definition, moisturizers add moisture and emollients soften the skin however, they are commonly used interchangeably.
The most popular moisturizers are occlusive which consist of oil as an active ingredient, mixed with water to form a lotion.
There are a variety of occlusives such as:
Depending upon the severity of the skin irritation, a person might prefer a light lotion to a thicker cream. It is often trial and error as side effects are usually non-existent with a topical skin treatment moisturizer.