Skin Protectants

What Skin Protectant Medicines Are For

Skin protectant medicines address several common skin issues. For example, some skins protectants temporarily protect minor cuts, scrapes, or burns, while others help to relieve chapped, cracked skin or lips. There are also medicines available that soothe irritation and itching due to rashes, eczema, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and insect bites. Certain skin protectant medicines may even help stop bleeding caused by minor surface cuts and abrasions as may occur during shaving.


How Skin Protectant Medicines Work

Skin protectants, like all over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, contain certain active ingredients that make them work on the human body. The product’s active ingredients, including how much of a substance is in each dose, are listed first on the Drug Facts label.

Skin protectant active ingredients are available in topical medicines such as bath treatments, lotions, ointments, powders, wet compresses, lip balms, and styptic pencils (short sticks of solid medication). These medicines are to be used only on the outer surface of body, including the skin and lips.

Symptoms of skin irritations may include:

  • Minor cuts, scrapes, and burns: Some skin protectant medicines contain active ingredients that protect cuts, scrapes, and burns by providing a protective barrier against external irritations that helps the skin heal faster.
  • Chapped, cracked skin or lips: Some skin protectant medicines contain active ingredients that act as an emollient, which means that they soften and moisturize dry skin and lips and help decrease flaking.
  • Rashes, insect bites, and other skin irritations: Some skin protectant medicines contain active ingredients that relieve skin itching from rashes and insect bites and help dry the oozing from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Minor bleeding due to surface cuts as may occur during shaving: Some skin protectant medicines contain active ingredients for styptic pencils that help stop bleeding from minor surface cuts, such as razor nicks. These products also seal the affected area to keep dirt and germs out.

Skin protectant active ingredients include:

  • Aluminum sulfate
  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Dimethicone
  • Petrolatum
  • White petrolatum
  • Zinc oxide
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All of the tips for the safe use of OTC skin protectant medicines also apply to children. But there are some additional considerations when it comes to treating kids.

  • Skin protectant medicines are available in different dosage strengths. Some products have dosing instructions for infants aged 6 months and older, while others have recommendations for use in children age 2 and older. Read the Drug Facts label carefully for appropriate dosing information and contact a healthcare provider as directed.

Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.