Calm Skin With These Gentle Effective Topicals
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Eczema, also referred to as dermatitis, is a relatively common skin condition impacting approximately one in ten Americans at some point in their lifetime. Eczema is a group of conditions that causes inflamed, irritated, and itchy skin, says Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of the Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Philadelphia. Eczema can appear all overyour face, hands, on your elbows, behind your knees and other places on your bodymanifesting as a pink to red, scaly patch of dry skin, she explains.
There are plenty of factors that can potentially trigger eczema, and genetic and environmental factors may be influential. Cold, dry air can definitely make it worse and we need to be aware as we go into colder months, she says, adding that unfortunately, theres no cure. Its often chronic and the inflammation leads to a disruption in the normal skin barrier.
We researched dozens of lotions and evaluated them for reviews, key ingredients, consistency, ease of application, scent, and usage. Each of the lotions chosen in this article were determined to be the best of these factors.
How Do I Fix Eczema On My Face
The skin on the face is far more delicate than the hands and feet, so if youre dealing with an eczema breakout there, Engelman recommends avoiding any steroid creams. If youd rather go the prescription route, she notes that you may be prescribed a topical, such as tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, which are both steroid-free treatments for eczema.
Best Multitasker: Mustela Stelatopia Emollient Cream
Mustela Stelatopia Emollient Cream
Just because Mustela is targeted towards babies and soon-to-be mothers, doesnt mean you cant reap all its skin-saving benefits, too. This emollient cream uses sunflower oil and avocado to supply essential lipids while relieving itch.
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Best Alternatives To Eczema Lotions
Dermatologists often prescribe ointments as a first-line eczema treatment. Ointments seal in moisture and have a higher oil content than creams and lotions. However, some people dislike the feeling of an ointment. An ointment may also stain clothing.
Another alternative to an ointment is a cream. Creams have a lower oil content than ointments but still contain more oil than lotions. They help trap moisture in the skin but are less greasy than ointments.
Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore : : 2 $130
This is a thicker cream that delivers ultimate hydration to skin to smooth and improve the health of your skin barrier, Dr. Libby explains. Plus, she recommends it because the formula replenishes the ceramides and healthy fats of the skin in the optimal ratio to help repair and restore the skins moisture barrier.
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Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream $10
This formulation contains dimethicone, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and ceramides. All of the above ingredients help to lock in hydration and improve the functionality of the skin barrier, Dr. Mack said. I use this personally after hand washing multiple times a day the nongreasy formula makes compliance easy.
Top 5 Most Common Otc Treatments For Eczema
Eczema treatment can go beyond prescribed medication. There are many OTC products which can provide hydration and itch relief, stop some skin types from becoming scaly and prevent skin dryness. Check out these four OTC products and see how they might work with your eczema therapy and treatment plan.
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What Is Scaly Skin
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a common inflammatory skin condition impacting about 11% of children and more than 7% of adults in the United States. The primary symptom is a scaly, itchy, inflamed rash.
People with eczema are believed to have a genetic mutation that weakens a protein called filaggrin in the epidermis . Filaggrin plays important roles in creating a protective barrier that protects skin cells and keeps them hydrated. The lack of filaggrin triggers numerous changes in your skin:
- Higher-then-normal loss of moisture
- Abnormal build-up of dead cells that results in a scaly appearance
- A weakened barrier that allows allergens to enter through the epidermis, which leads to an immune response and inflammation
To treat eczema, it’s important to remove dead cells and restore moisture, which is where exfoliants and humectants come in.
Exfoliants remove dead cells from the surface of your skin. You may be most familiar with physical exfoliants, which are abrasive or gritty and manually remove dead cells. Lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant, meaning that it isn’t abrasive. Instead, it helps loosen the bonds between cells and allows dry skin to be sloughed off.
Because they act as both exfoliants and humectants, lactic acid and urea have both been studied and found to be among the more effective moisturizers for eczema.
What Products Should I Avoid If I Have Eczema
You should avoid any ingredients that you have a known allergy to and anything that has irritated your skin previously, Dr. Chan said. Common products that can do this are acne products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. I also would avoid high percentage AHAs.
Be sure to note that developing a skin allergy is higher when you have atopic dermatitis, so avoiding fragrance when you can is a good idea, especially during an active flare.
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Lotions Creams And Ointments
Ointments have the most oil. Theyâre usually the best choice to treat eczema. They wont burn when you apply them to your skin. They help it hold on to moisture.
Some people like to use them overnight. This gives your skin time to absorb them fully. Petroleum jelly and mineral oil are examples.
Creams are a good choice if you dont like the greasy feel of an ointment. They have the second highest amount of oil. They can also seal in moisture.
Be sure to read labels carefully. Creams often contain additives that can irritate your skin or cause allergic reactions in some people.
Lotions are mostly made of water and have the lowest amount of oil. They dont usually work well for people with eczema. They evaporate quickly and may have ingredients that bother your skin.
Best For Dry Skin: Cln Bodywash
Courtesy of Amazon
For use in treatment of eczema, folliculitis, and acne
Safe for anyone 6 months and older
Cleanses without disrupting skin barrier
Some users reported breakouts or rashes after use
More costly than other eczema soaps
CLns BodyWash is designed to reduce redness, dryness, and flakiness. It’s a cleanser that is safe for daily use, preserved with sodium hypochlorite for a strong but calming sensation for your eczema. This body wash does not contain any parabens, steroids, or fragrances, so it’s a great choice for both adults and children.
This product is recommended by the National Eczema Association.
Key Ingredients: Sodium hypochlorite | How to Use: Wet skin and pump small amount of soap into hands lather, massage into skin, rinse, and dry.
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What Kinds Of Moisturizers Are Most Effective For My Eczema
Not all moisturizing creams 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 other than lotion ointments, creams, and skin barrier creams so that you can properly hydrate your skin, get the itch relief you need 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.
What Does Eczema Look Like
Most eczema appears as red, swollen patches of skin, usually on your face or neck, but sometimes on other sensitive skin areas like inner arms or behind your knees. Eczema rashes can also be dry and scaly, and, if untreated, these types of rashes can crack.
All eczema breakouts are itchy, that’s a clear indicator that your rash is eczema. Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that is genetic, and can be found in infants and children. Some children outgrow eczema of this form, but it can persist into adulthood. Other types of eczema appear only in adulthood and are caused by allergies or skincare product irritants.
There is no cure for eczema, but there are several lotions and creams that use ingredients that soothe and repair skin affected by eczema. The best eczema creams and lotions use ingredients are naturally derived and that are safe to use on infants and children as well. Read on to learn more about the ingredients used for eczema flareups and what might work best for you and your family.
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Avoid Fragrances And Botanicals
A good rule of thumb is that if you love the way it smells, dont use it on your eczema. I always recommend fragrance-free, Dr. Anthony says. Some people love scented products, but the botanicals used in lotions and creams can be a problem in terms of allergic contact dermatitis for people with eczema.
He encourages eczema patients to use bland products that dont have fragrances or floral-based ingredients and to avoid ingredients like:
Best Drugstore: Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion For Normal To Dry Skin
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion For Normal To Dry Skin
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion For Normal To Dry Skin
Ceramides are like the mortar between skin cell tiles in the outer skin layer,” says Zeichner. “When the mortar is deficient, the skin can more easily lose hydration. This lotion helps replenish those ceramides.
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What Is The Main Cause Of Eczema How Do You Treat Eczema
A combination of immune system activation, genetics, environmental triggers and stress is what causes eczema. If you have eczema, its likely that your immune system overreacts to small irritants and/or allergens and causes your skin to inflame. To treat eczema, the best practice is to keep your skin moisturised with thick formulas , apply bandages where cases are really bad, and take warm baths regularly to relieve irritation. Avoiding ingredients such as highly perfumed products or things with dye in them is recommended too.
Seal Of Acceptance Product Directory
The product directory contains a listing of products which have received the Seal of Acceptance. Products eligible for the Seal have been created or intended for use by persons with eczema or severe sensitive skin conditions and that have satisfied the Seal criteria.
The Seal criteria includes a list of ingredients and contents that should be avoided because they contain known irritants. Depending on the product, the Seal Review Panel considers testing data on sensitivity, safety, and toxicity, as well as the ingredients, content, and formulation data.
Acceptance of a specific product does not represent an endorsement of that product. Acceptance of a product means that the product has been evaluated to determine that it does not contain ingredients or contents that are known to be unsuitable for use by persons with eczema or sensitive skin conditions.
The National Eczema Association makes no representation or warranty regarding any of the accepted products including without limitation any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.
We update our product directory of eczema products as new items are released check back regularly for information on new products for eczema symptoms.
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Things To Consider With Otc Products
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration decides whether a medicine is safe enough to sell over the counter. However, using OTC medicines still has potential risks. Some interact with other prescription or OTC medicines, supplements, foods or beverages. Others cause problems for people with certain medical conditions. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist or healthcare provider before taking any OTC medicines for eczema.
Its important to correctly follow directions for OTC medicines and be careful when administering them to children. You should never take OTC eczema drugs for longer durations or in higher doses than the product label recommends.
How To Find The Best Eczema Cream
When considering over-the-counter creams, Dr. Hayag suggests keeping an eye out for occlusives, humectants, and emollients. Occlusive ingredients to look out for are petrolatum and silicone derivatives such as dimethicone, says Dr. Hayag. Humectants are hygroscopic moisturizers that actively pull and absorb water and hydrate the outer layer of the skin, she adds. Youre likely to find humectants, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, in many of the skin-care products already in your arsenal. Shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, and ceramides are all emollients that are great for moisturizing the skin, as well.
Those with eczema should lean into moisturizers that have high oil content over water content, as this will actually draw more water into the skin and reduce water loss. An ointment is actually a far better option over a lotion, notes Dr. Hayag. Why? Ointments have the highest oil content of all the products, so they dont generally burn when theyre applied to sensitive skin and are very good at sealing in moisture, she explains.
If youre looking specifically to relieve flare-ups, Dr. Hayag recommends creams featuring ingredients such as pramoxine hydrochloride, niacinamide, and hydrocortisone, which work quickly to soothe itchiness and irritation.
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Sarah is a freelance writer with a focus on health and wellness. She has written for publications like Women’s Health, Healthline, and Parents. She taught creative writing for five years, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University.
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One in 10 people will experience eczema at some point in their life. Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a condition caused by a defect in the barrier of the skin in combination with inflammation in the skin,” explains Charlotte Birnbaum, MD, FAAD, at Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. “Because the barrier is defective in eczema, the skin is more sensitive to allergens and irritants. That’s where soaps for eczema come in.
Humectants Bring In Moisture
Humectants are designed to try and draw moisture into the skin, Dr. Anthony explains. They attract and bind to water, pulling it from the air and from deeper within your skin. They include:
- Alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid and lactic acid.
- Hyaluronic acid.
Applied on their own, humectants can cause stinging and burning. Instead, eczema creams combine these ingredients with more soothing emollients and occlusives.
Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream $1356
As one of Dr. Chans favorites for those with allergies especially, Vanicreams Moisturizing Cream comes in an easy-to-use pump, is fragrance-free and is non-comedogenic, so it wont clog your pores.
The lotion formulation makes this product cosmetically elegant for the face, while still being effective to minimize eczema flares, Dr. Mack said.
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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Three Steps To Caring For Eczema
Note: serious cases of eczema may require prescription treatments.
Luckily, there are plenty of over-the-counter options that can help eczema-prone skin. We have found the 5 best moisturizing creams that are fragrance-free and have been awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association. Their criteria include a list of ingredients and contents that should be avoided because they contain ingredients known to induce eczema and irritate sensitive skin.
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