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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger HendersonReviewed on 13.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

The Cetraben range of skincare products has been formulated to treat dry, sensitive or eczema-prone skin. It includes creams, lotions, bath additives and ointments and comes in a variety of pack sizes.

Like many other dry skin products, the main ingredients in Cetraben are white soft paraffin and light liquid paraffin. These work by protecting the skin barrier and preventing water loss from the skin. It also contains glycerol, a humectant that retains water in the skin, and citric acid, a gentle exfoliant that can help to remove a build-up of dead skin cells that’s common in eczema.

With regular use, this repairs dry skin, but depending on the severity, this might need to be used up to four times a day to see the best effect.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

While this is targeted at those with inflamed, irritated or dry skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, it’s effective and gentle, so anyone can benefit. As we get older and lose the protective properties of collagen and elastin, our skin can become drier so it’s a good choice for the elderly. Children may also benefit, as they often have more sensitive skin or need moisture replaced from activities such as swimming.

So many eczema creams available, which one is best?

There is no one right answer. In general, most eczema-targeted skin products contain the same main ingredients: white soft paraffin and light liquid paraffin, but in different quantities. But different products may add in other types of moisturiser, or exfoliants and antimicrobials. So, it really is about trying a product and seeing if it works for you.

In terms of formulations, ointments are recommended for very dry, scaly or rough skin, as they last much longer between applications and provide more skin repair. But they have a greasy texture and may not be agreeable to everyone. Creams and lotions are less greasy but will need frequent reapplication.

Some skin products use an alternative to paraffin, such as oatmeal in the Aveeno range.

Pharmacist recommended products

Any reason to avoid it?

Cetraben is very well-tolerated. However, anyone with any allergies to any of the ingredients listed, such as paraffin should avoid Cetraben. Cetraben should not be applied to a fresh burn.

Are there any side-effects?

Cetraben contains white soft paraffin which is flammable. This may transfer onto clothing or bedding, so care should be used to avoid open flames.

The ingredients in Cetraben may cause allergic or sensitivity reactions in some. Side effects include burning, stinging, itching, redness of the area. In this case, stop using it, remove it from the skin by washing with water and a mild soap, or wiping away with a towel. Seek medical advice if necessary.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 13.10.2023
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