What are the best moisturizers for the scratched, scaly skin?

The old standard of care was petrolatum-based moisturizers, such as Vaseline and Aquaphor. Unfortunately, these are really goopy, they stain sheets and are unpopular among patients because they feel heavy and greasy on the surface of the skin.

The newer generation of emollients that work as well, if not better, are ceramide-based moisturizers. Ceramide-based moisturizers try to mimic the natural lipid milieu that you have within your dermis, thereby approximating the natural blend of lipids that you have in your skin. This can be a very effective way to lock moisture in and help the skin stay well hydrated and protected.