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On this page you will find information, links and resources relating to prescribing for skin conditions.

The NHS Health and Care Video Library has some useful videos for patients to support them with various skin conditions


See [NG198] Acne vulgaris: management*New* June 2021

Formulary Chapter 13.6.1- Acne and Rosacea

Oral isotretinoin is a RED drug. See Traffic Light System, MHRA Drug Safety Update and Safety Advice. If the person has the potential to become pregnant then they will need to follow the MHRA Pregnancy Prevention Programme.

British Association of Dermatologists – Patient Information Leaflets.ACNE

See our formulary page on contraceptives with acne.

Co-cyprindiol is non-formulary. An alternative combined oral contraceptive may be chosen for people with PCOS and acne if first line treatment options are not effective alone for their acne. See FSRH CEU Statement: Strengthening of Warnings about use of Dianette and other brands of co-cyprindiol (June 2013) – Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare


  • Emollients should only be prescribed for the management of diagnosed dermatological conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Minor conditions are suitable for self-care.
  • Patients who do not have a diagnosed dermatological condition or risk to skin integrity (maintenance) should no longer receive NHS prescriptions and are advised to purchase emollients over the counter. Refer for self-care.
  • See emollient quick reference guide below for cost effective emollients.
  • If the most cost effective choice emollients are not satisfactory for a patient, after a trial, then all other emollients remain on formulary as patient choice is an important factor in the management of eczema and other skin conditions.
  • Bath oils/ shower products should not be prescribed. See BATHE study.
  • Aqueous cream is non-formulary: may cause skin irritation, particularly in children with eczema, possibly due to sodium lauryl sulfate content.

View BNF prescribing quantity guidance

Emollients are flammable

Dressings and clothing that have contact with emollients are easily ignited by a naked flame. Advise patients to keep them away from fire or flames and not smoke when using them. Patients should be counselled to wash bedding/clothing regularly at 60 degrees celcius, to minimise the build-up of impregnated emollient.

Patients on medical oxygen who require an emollient should not use any paraffin based products.

The risk of fire should be considered when using any emollient as there is a risk with all emollients, including paraffin-free emollients.

For more information please refer to MHRA drug safety update.

Further guidance for patients and useful resources can be found on the MHRA website. A useful presentation pack from the MHRA and National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) can be found under further advice and resources.


See the Specials Recommended by the British Association of Dermatologists for Skin Disease guidance.