Skin ageing has intrinsic signs and symptoms, often complicated by extrinsic photo-ageing symptoms and concurrent disease processes. It progresses with age but varies between individuals and its symptoms are numerous. Skin ageing has physical and psychosocial repercussions that can influence coping. Emollient therapy can help to reduce two symptoms--dryness and loss of the skin's barrier function. Better understanding of skin ageing and the usefulness of emollients can be reinforced by education and encouragement from healthcare professionals. Such interventions should encourage self-management and confidence in using emollients. The partnership between healthcare professionals and older people helps to overcome co-existent ageing difficulties, such as cognitive impairment, hearing loss and impairment of manual dexterity and mobility, which enhances self-reliance.