Aqueous Cream BP is a light, hydrocarbon-based emulsion, which is officially registered in the British Pharmacopoeia and categorised by the British National Formulary as a non-proprietary emollient preparation. It is used as a topical, external medicine, emollient moisturiser and general-purpose substitute for toiletries such as soap, shower gel, shaving cream and lip salve.
The common ingredients are:
- liquid hydrocarbons
- white soft paraffin wax
- purified water
- emulsifying wax containing sodium lauryl sulphate
- cetostearyl alcohol
It is commonly prescribed in the United Kingdom for conditions such as eczema, aquagenic pruritus or atopic dermatitis. Whilst undergoing radiotherapy, patients are advised to use aqueous cream as part of a skin care regime to remedy the erythema that is caused by such treatment.
British researchers found evidence that using the cream to moisturise areas affected by eczema may actually aggravate the condition. They suggested this was due to skin-thinning effects of a detergent sodium lauryl sulfate. The National Eczema Society recommends alternatives such as white soft paraffin wax or other types of emollient without such a high content of sodium lauryl sulfate.