An emollient is essentially a moisturiser that softens and hydrates dry skin. It helps the skin to hold onto water, forming a protective film over the epidermis that prevents moisture loss. You will fine emollients in creams and lotions designed to soften dry or dehydrated skins. They are also effective at soothing eczema and psoriasis.
Emollients can be found naturally in many plants, most commonly in the Aloe Vera plant, but Vitamins A, C and E can all be described as emollients because of their ability to protect the skin and help it to retain moisture.