Cetomacrogol cream

Cetomacrogol is an emollient (moisturiser) used to treat dry skin conditions such as eczema. Find out how to apply it safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Emollient
  • Moisturiser
  • healthE® 
  • healthE Non-ionic cream®
  • Sorbolene with glycerin® (cetomacrogol aqueous with glycerol) 
  • Dermasoft® (cetomacrogol aqueous with glycerol) 

What is cetomacrogol cream?

Cetomacrogol cream is a non-greasy emollient or moisturiser, used to treat dry skin conditions such as eczema.  It is sometimes combined with glycerol (or glycerine). Gycerol increases the water holding capacity of the skin, which enhances the moisturising effect. Cetomacrogol cream is also used as a base for the preparation of other creams. 

When applied to the skin, cetomacrogol works by providing a layer of oil on the surface of the skin, which traps water beneath it and prevents water evaporating from the skin surface. In this way, it helps to retain moisture on the skin and reduce dryness.

Cetomacrogol cream does not contain any perfumes or sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) which can irritate the skin. 

Read more about emollients and moisturisers. 

How to use cetomacrogol cream

  • Wash your hands before applying cetomacrogol cream.
  • Apply generous amounts to affected areas of skin all over the body, including the face.
  • Apply several (at least 3 to 4) times a day or as required.
  • It is best to apply it immediately after washing, bathing or showering, while the skin is still damp.
  • Apply in a downward motion, in the direction of hair growth and gently massage into your skin. Avoid rubbing.
  • Do not put your hands into the pot, tub or jar of cream when removing for use. This will contaminate the cream. Instead, use a clean spoon or spatula to scoop out the required amount of cream. Some people put the cream in a pump bottle to reduce contamination.

Possible side effects

Side effects to cetomacrogol cream are rare. Some people may get sensitivity or an allergic reaction such as worsening redness or itchy skin. This may be confused with a flare-up of the eczema or dermatitis. If you get this, stop using cetomacrogol cream and tell your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

Emollients and moisturisers Dermnet NZ
Emollients for eczema Patient Info, UK


  1. Emollient and barrier preparations New Zealand Formulary

Additional resources for healthcare professionals

Treating childhood eczema – a topical solution for a topical problem BPAC, NZ, 2015
“Seventh age itch” – preventing and managing dry skin in older people BPAC, NZ, 2014

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 22 Jan 2019