What Kind Of Products Treat Eczema
From creams and lotions to ointments and oils, it can be hard to know whats what and whats best. Before you start looking into ingredients, its helpful to understand the difference among products.
- Lotions are spreadable and sink into your skin the best. But because theyre quickly absorbed, they dont last as long as other options. They also have a bit higher risk of stinging raw skin, Dr. Anthony warns.
- Creams have more oil and less water than lotion, and theyre a little thicker/heavier. They wont sink in as quickly, but you also dont need to apply them as often.
- Ointments are the most occlusive option, meaning theyre the best at locking moisture into your skin. But theyre also the greasiest. They spread well and last longer, but they get on things like clothes and bedsheets, Dr. Anthony notes.
- Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature. Most skin oils are plant-based think argan oil, rose hip oil and tea tree oil, among others. And while some people find success with oils, for the most part, Dr. Anthony doesnt recommend them for eczema.
If youre looking for a one-size-fits-all answer to the best product for your eczema, you wont find one. It ends up being about each patients preference and tolerance, Dr. Anthony says. What feels good on your skin is probably the best product for you.
But knowing your options including what products are available, what they do and what ingredients to look for can go a long way in helping you decide.
Avne Soothing Eye Contour Cream
People travel the world to visit Avènes thermal springs in the south of France, known for having minerals that relieve skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. Youll find the thermal water in this eye cream . Whats more, its formulated with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that attracts water to the skin and locks in moisture.
Best For Very Irritated Skin: Avne Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream
Helps skin both look and feel better
Minimal ingredient list
Reviewers note it leaves a greasy feeling
When your sensitive skin has had enough and is starting to look irritated, reach for this guy. Yes, it does the standard duties of helping to moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier and all that good stuff, but its also unique because it contains D-sensinose. The post-biotic ingredient is found in the mineral-rich thermal spring water in the formula, which the brand says can help quickly calm all kinds of feelings and signs of skin discomfortthink tingling, burning, and tightness.
Active Ingredients: D-sensinose | Skin Type: Dry, irritated | Size: 1.3 fluid ounces | SPF: No Cruelty-Free: No | Yes
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Best Budget: Olay Moisturizing Face Lotion Sensitive Skin
Courtesy of Walmart
This is an ideal all-around option for those seeking a lotion that checks all the sensitive skin boxes but wont break the bank. It’s also approved by board-certified dermatologist Ife J. Rodney, MD, FAAD, founder of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, Maryland. Dr. Rodney points out that the aloe leaf and chamomile in the formula help soothe sensitive skin while added glycerin attracts and locks in moisture.
Active Ingredients: Glycerin, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 6 fluid ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | No
What To Look For In Eczema Creams
Eczema, most commonly known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition in which the skin barrier is not able to maintain the necessary moisture to provide protection from allergens and environmental stressors. People with eczema tend to have dry, irritated, inflamed skin, says Shari Lipner, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Choosing the right moisturizer can help in preventing eczema flare-ups and treating the eczema.
The best eczema creams and lotions are thicker moisturizers, Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., double board-certified dermatologist and founder of Mudgil Dermatology, tells SELF. Its especially important to look for a product that contains humectant ingredients as well as moisturizing and skin-protecting ingredients . Humectants help add additional hydration, while ceramides and occlusive ingredients reinforce the skin barrier, ultimately helping to protect you from irritants that might trigger an eczema flare. Keep an eye out for products with a high oil-content-to-water-content ratio as well, Dr. Lipner recommends.
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The Science Behind Eczema
Eczema is believed to be caused by genetics rather than an allergic reaction. It surfaces when the skin barrier, which protects from pollutants, irritants, and bacteria, becomes compromised and cannot provide proper protection.
In 2006, researchers found a strong link between people lacking a specific skin protein and the risk of developing eczema. Scientists built on those results to show exactly what goes wrong, meaning their results could even take us closer to an eczema cure.
In the past decade, scientists determined that eczema is associated with a lack of filaggrin, a filament aggregating protein that plays a vital role in the skins barrier function.
When individuals possess a genetic mutation that inhibits filaggrin supply, they can develop skin conditions such as eczema.
Keeping the skin hydrated can help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier to prevent or treat flare-ups. Flare-ups can occur sporadically and sometimes go away for years.
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Era Organics Rosacea Redness Relief Cream
- Are Rosacea, Eczema, Redness, Dermatitis or Irritation Ruining Your Complexion? Help get calmer and happier looking skin in minutes a day with our powerful, plant based calming face moisturizer cream.
- Rosacea treatments, rosacea cream and hydrocortisone creams can be loaded with chemicals. Our redness relief cream uses anti irritation ingredients Milk Thistle, MSM & Chamomile that are shown to help soothe the appearance of irritation while hydrating dry, distressed skin.
- As Safe As It Is Effective. Rosacea and eczema face creams, while effective, can be loaded with chemicals and steroids. Support your delicate skin with this clean moisturizer containing no parabens, alcohol, mineral oil or petroleum and made of mostly nutrient-rich ingredients, perfect for dry, irritated skin.
- Calming Facial Cream Made For Sensitive Skin. Potent botanical dry skin face moisturizer for women and men. Whether you have rosacea, face eczema, dermatitis or just have a red nose, red cheeks or rashes- the wrong product can make them worse. Help moisturize, rejuvenate and support your skin without worrying about irritating your delicate skin conditions.
- Try It Now With Confidence. Era Organics is family owned and operated so customer service and happiness are our top priority. Damaged skin can happen to all of us so if youre not completely satisfied, let us know and well help make it right.
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Eczema. Even the word sounds irritating, like an itch we want to scratch .
But, with eczema comes the urgency for near-instantaneous relief. Smooth skin is the goal, but product choices usually have to be specific to sensitive skin types and, of course, must be effective to head toward smoother skin.
Some signs that eczema is starting to occur is if your skin is feeling dry, rough, red or flaky,Tiffany Libby, MD, FAAD, FACMS, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Brown Dermatology in Rhode Island, told the Post. When eczema becomes severe, you may notice more extensive involvement of your skin and or cracks in the skin, which can be painful and may risk becoming infected.
To help solve the tangible side effects of eczema, we consulted Dr. Libby and two other dermatologists on the best eczema creams, treatments, ointments, balms and everything in between. But first, take a look at the following FAQ.
Focus On What You Eat
Sometimes, eczema is best treated from the inside out. Look at your diet and what might be making things worse. Milk, fish, eggs, gluten, soy, and peanuts have often triggered eczema.
With a little more attention to your daily routine and the right moisturizing cream, you can keep your eczema under control.
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Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Unscented Body Moisturizer $1569
This body lotion is one of Dr. Libbys favorites for relieving dry, itchy eczema-prone skin. Its armed with colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, shea butter, ceramides, sunflower seed oil and Cetaphils patented Filaggrin Technology to help soothe dry, stressed skin, and repair and nourish the skin barrier, she notes.
Best Face And Body: Eltamd Intense Moisturizer
Works for face and body
EltaMD may be more often associated with sunscreen, but it does more than just great SPF. Case in point: this guy. The rich consistency truly melts into the skin, and, according to the brand, it can help skin retain up to 90% of its moisture for 12 hours. Its great not only for sensitive skin but for post-procedure skin, too, a true sign that its mega-gentle.
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Skin Type: Sensitive, dry, post-procedure | Size: 2.8 or 3.8 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | No
A little goes a long way, so you only need to use a pearl-size amount for your whole face.
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What Causes Eczema On The Face
Theres no clear indicator of why eczema appears on a specific area of the body, like the face. However, certain environmental triggers like sunlight, friction, dirt, or perfumed soaps might cause a flare-up on the face.
Usually, eczema is genetic in nature. Its caused by a flaw in your skins protective layer, so allergens, irritants, and other environmental factors can penetrate the skin barrier at a certain point and cause itchy, dry patches.
What Should You Look For In A Moisturizer
Moisturizer ingredients will vary depending on your skin type.
Dry skin types benefit from heavier, oil-based options. Oily skin types benefit from lighter, water-based moisturizers.
Mature skin types tend to do well with oil-based products. Sensitive skin types benefit from soothing ingredients, such as aloe and fragrance-free formulas.
Combination skin types often do well with lighter, water-based formulas.
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Where Exactly Should I Apply It
Apply sunscreen evenly to all uncovered skin, paying special attention to your lips, nose, ears, neck, hands and feet. If you dont have much hair, apply some to the top of your head, or wear a hat. And remember, never apply sunscreen to damaged or broken skin. Instead, wear bandages or protective clothing over those areas to avoid infection, while still protecting the skin from sun rays.
Best Hand Cream: Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream
This hand cream contains dimethicone, which Dr. Hayag describes as a skin protectant that blocks cold wind and other irritants from wreaking havoc on your delicate skin. The drugstore-favorite formula, which has been accepted by the National Eczema Association, also has hyaluronic acid and ceramides, both of which help maintain the skin’s natural moisture.
“I have eczema, so I’m pretty picky about what I put on my skin,” , who said that this is the “only moisturizer” they’ll use on their hands. “When I saw this, I decided to try it for my dry, often cracked, itchy, over-washed hands. It works great! I love that it absorbs quickly, so there’s no greasy feeling âââ just leaves my hands feeling soft and moisturized.”
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Best Natural: Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis Cream
Courtesy of Wild Naturals
Contains manuka honey for moisturizing and soothing properties
pH balanced at 5.5 to support skin’s natural barrier function
Not endorsed by the National Eczema Society
While some dermatologists will only recommend products formulated with well-studied ingredients, some people with eczema want an all-natural option to relieve some of their symptoms, such as dry skin and redness. Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis is not endorsed by the National Eczema Association, but it does contain manuka honey, which studies have found to have antibacterial benefits. It also contains aloe vera, which can help soothe irritated skin.
This moisturizing cream has a lightweight, non-greasy texture, and users report that they only need a little product to target affected areas.
Price at time of publish: $22
Active Ingredients: Aloe vera, manuka honey | Scent: Fragrance-free, but users report a slight scent of honey | Usage: Patch test on skin before applying to all affected areas or as recommended by doctor
What Kinds Of Moisturizers Are Most Effective For My Eczema
Not all moisturizers are created equal. In fact, there are many types of common moisturizers that arent good at helping control your eczema and may even make it flare or get worse. Its important to understand the differences between the three basic types of moisturizers ointments, creams, and lotions so that you can properly hydrate your skin and help keep your symptoms under control.
Moisturizers are classified based on the amount of oil and water they contain. The more oil in a moisturizer, the better it usually is at treating eczema. The best moisturizers to use are the ones that feel greasy , because they contain more oil. These are very effective at keeping moisture in and irritants out.
All moisturizers should also be applied to your hands immediately after washing and gently blotting them dry. For this reason, its a good idea to keep moisturizer near every sink in your home and carry a small tube with you at all times, so that you can reapply it throughout the day.
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Shah says she sometimes prescribes special moisturizers called barrier repair creams for patients. And if the eczema is severe and not responding to topical treatments, other options include , aka light therapy. There’s a wide range of treatment options for facial eczema, so it often comes down to trial and error in order to figure out what works for you. We’d recommend always consulting your dermatologist before trying anything new.
All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Now read more about eczema:
Best For Face And Body: Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Perfect if you can’t stand heavy, thick consistencies, this lightweight cream has a non-greasy, fragrance-free formula that’s suitable for use on the body and face, making it a great option for people who prefer a low-maintenance moisturizing routine, notes Dr. Hayag. It’s formulated without common chemical skin irritants, including dyes, lanolin, formaldehyde, and parabens, and has even been ââawarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.
“I have dry skin, and eczema and I’ve tried hundreds of lotions and potions over the years,” . “This brand is the best! It moisturizes without feeling greasy, and without the itching and/or chemical burn that I encountered with so many other brands.”
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What The Experts Say
Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotions formula has hyaluronic acid, an ingredient recommended for building up the skins moisture barrierit can retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so it will keep skin hydrated throughout the day. Angie Seelal, registered physicians assistant at Advanced Dermatology PC
When Should You Seek Medical Attention
If your skin isnt responding to over-the-counter treatments, there are prescription topicals that your dermatologist can prescribe. Stronger prescription topical steroids are available for short-term use. Protopic 0.03% and 0.1% ointment and Elidel 1% cream are calcineurin inhibitors, meaning topical medications that work to inhibit the immune system to reduce inflammation and irritation. Dr. Lortscher typically uses Protopic ointment and Elidel cream to wean patients off topical steroids.
- Eucrisa is a topical, non-steroid treatment. Eucrisa works differently than Protopic and Elidel, targeting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase that helps the body deal with inflammation.
- Dupixent is an injection for individuals who have eczema resistant to topical treatments or who do not have access to topical treatment. Dupixent works by blocking factors that allow white blood cells to communicate inflammation.
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Consider What Area Of Skin Youre Treating
Another deciding factor when choosing an eczema treatment is the area of skin youre targeting. Different consistencies and ingredients are better for some regions than others the severity of your eczema is also an influence.
So, while your face may respond to an eczema lotion thats formulated with non-pore clogging ingredients, your hands, elbows, knees, and other parts of the body may have tremendous success with a thicker eczema cream.
What To Know About Prescription Eczema Creams
If your eczema isnt letting up, see your dermatologist, who may write you a prescription for something stronger.
- Hydrocortisone cream: Hydrocortisone is an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid that can soothe severely dry skin. The strongest you can buy over the counter is 1% hydrocortisone, but your doctor can prescribe up to 2.5%. And there are even stronger prescription steroid products that might be prescribed in certain situations.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories: Prescription-strength hand creams and lotions may better hydrate and repair your skin barrier than products you buy on your own.
- Calcineurin inhibitors: These topical medications help suppress your overactive immune system, which can decrease inflammation caused by eczema.
- Crisaborole ointment: Sold under the brand name Eucrisa®, crisaborale is a boron-based medication that helps reduce redness, itching and swelling.
There are other options, too, like JAK inhibitors and biologics .
In short, there are a variety of ways to treat and control your eczema, so if over-the-counter products arent doing the trick, seek guidance from your dermatologist about what might work best for you. There are new products coming out all the time, Dr. Anthony encourages.
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