A barrier cream is a topical formulation used in industrial, medical, and sporting environments to place a physical barrier between the skin and contaminants which may irritate (contact dermatitis or occupational dermatitis), or infect the skin.
Barrier preparations which can be a cream, ointment or aerosol spray often contain substances which repel water such as silicone, zinc oxide, or dimethicone, sometimes as combinations such as Silon (dimethicone and zinc oxide). Typical applications are in occluded skin-to-skin contacts such as body folds or flexural areas. A common use for barrier creams and ointments is diaper rash. Examples of these products are Desitin and Penaten.
Barrier creams have been used in industry to protect workers' skin from the contaminants encountered in manufacturing trades. In this application a barrier cream may also be water repellent but may also need to repel certain solvents present in mineral oils, gasoline, paints, lubricants and ink. China clay or kaolinite can be added to physically block the skin's pores. Industrial barrier creams have different formulations according to the type or work undertaken. One of the first producers of such barrier creams were Rozalex and they still manufacture application specific barrier creams for the Industrial market.
Wrestlers and others who regularly grapple are exposed to a wide variety of skin problems arising from small cuts and scrapes and germs and bacteria transmitted by close contact. Wrestling teams commonly apply barrier creams before each practice in an attempt to reduce prevalence of skin infection. Studies have shown that use of a barrier cream, in addition to following a strict skin disease protocol reduces the occurrence of ringworm among athletes. Commonly used barrier creams include Kennedy Industries 'KS Skin Creme' and Defense Soap's 'Defense Barrier Foam'.
- Silon in FASS (drug formulary), retrieved October 2012