Whats The Difference Between Eczema On The Face And Eczema On The Body
The short answer is there is none. People who have atopic dermatitis are prone to eczema rashes that can occur on the face or the body. People just tend to have one area more sensitive than another, explains Dr. Love. She does note that allergic reactions are a common reason for flare ups on the eyelids and round the mouth. However, new rashes can appear anywhere from head to toe.
There is one thing that differs depending on what area of the body you are addressing and that is the treatment plan. For areas like the hands, elbows, knees, where your skin is more thick, Love says dermatologists tend to opt for the thickest topical steroids as an easy solve. However for really thin areas, like the face, she would welcome a steroid alternative if possible. The biggest reason for this is that long term steroid use can cause a thinning of the skin and trigger other underlying skin concerns such as breakouts or rosacea.
What To Look For In An Eczema Cream
The best eczema cream may vary from person to person, depending on what you’re looking for. For instance, your eczema symptoms may be on your face or your hands, or you may have extra-sensitive skin, so you’ll want to tailor the products you choose.
With that said, here are some of the important factors to look for in an eczema cream, according to dermatologists.
When To See A Doctor
In general, it is a good idea to see a doctor about eczema when outbreaks cause a person significant physical or emotional discomfort.
Although doctors often prescribe corticosteroids for eczema, other medications can help people with severe eczema that does not respond to corticosteroids. These drugs include:
- calcineurin inhibitors
Although there is no cure for eczema, working with a health professional can help people manage their symptoms more effectively and control and reduce the severity of their flares.
It is also important for a person to make sure their skin condition is, in fact, eczema and not something else that may require different treatment.
The following are common questions and answers about lotions for eczema.
Best Overall Eczema Treatment
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Best For Face: Cerave Moisturizing Cream
“The hyaluronic acid and ceramides in this super cream trap and retain moisture,” Dr. Marmon says. “Also, it is oil-free and non-comedogenic, which means it won’t leave your skin greasy or cause breakouts.”
For a more affordable option, Dr. Marmon offers Neutrogena.
“This cream protects dry, chapped hands with glycerin,” she explains. “For best results, keep it in your bag and apply immediately after washing and patting your hands dry.”
âBuy itâ: Neutrogena.com âPriceâ: $3.63 for 2 oz
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Which Emollient Is Right For Me
There are lots of emollients available on todays market, and it can often be confusing trying to find the exact product for you. Although everyone is different, and what may work best for you may not be as effective for someone else, there are still products and brands available that can help to treat eczema.
Eye Creams For Eczema
A common complaint among eczema sufferers is inflammation and sensitivity on the eyelids, so finding a suitable eye cream can be a challenge. Zerafite Hydrating and Protecting Eye Serum is the best eye cream for eczema because this eye cream protects the delicate eye area from steroids and other eczema medications that are used on the face at night.
Eczema medications for the face can rub-off onto the pillowcase and irritate the thin skin around the eyes. However, using a safe eye cream for your eczema at night can help protect the delicate eye area and calm any discomfort.
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What Foods Should I Eat Or Avoid To Reduce My Risk Of Eczema
The connection between eczema and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
If you dont have a food allergy then there are no foods, including chicken, that will cause or worsen your eczema.
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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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What Skincare Ingredients Should You Avoid If Youre Dealing With Eczema
As a general rule of thumb, there are a few ingredients that anyone eczema prone should steer clear from. First up is anything that includes a scent. Fragrance is something I would definitely exercise caution with because it is one of the most common cosmetic sensitivities, explains Love. She also warns that active ingredients such as retinols are something that should be started very slowly, consciously, and under the guidance of a dermatologist. Formulas that are traditionally harsh on the skin are more likely to have adverse effects if your skin barrier is compromised or extra sensitive.
If you are someone who has recurring eczema on the face, Love suggests that it might be worth reaching out to your doctor for patch testing. This is when we can test to see if youve developed any potential skin allergies to products that you are using, says Love. This could be makeup, hand soap, or even detergent. After the process, you might have a personalized list of products and ingredients that you can remove from your routine to make room for more friendly formulas.
How To Prevent Eczema Flare
Theres no known cure for eczema, and symptoms wont go away on their own. For most people, eczema is a chronic condition that requires careful avoidance of triggers to help prevent flare-ups.
- Moisturize the affected areas at least twice a day. Weve taken the guesswork out of how to stop eczema immediately with an eczema cream.
- Take shorter baths or showers with tepid versus hot water. Pat versus rub your skin dry afterward.
- Only use gentle soaps, cleansers, and body lotions.
- Keep a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, like the bedroom. Hot, dry indoor air can parch sensitive skin and worsen itching and flaking. Opt for a portable unit or attach one to your furnace to add moisture to the air inside your home.
- Wear cool, smooth-textured clothing and avoid clothing thats rough, tight, or scratchy. Also, wear appropriate clothing in hot weather or during exercise to prevent excessive sweating. Take a short, tepid shower immediately after physical activity.
- Get a hold of your stress and anxiety. Such emotional disorders can aggravate atopic dermatitis. Try yoga, meditation, exercise, or an activity that brings you pleasure. Speak to a professional if need be.
- See a dermatologist to discuss your treatment options if topical creams and lotions arent working.
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Eucerin Eczema Relief Cream $7 Original Price: $9
Eucerins Eczema Relief Cream for eczema-prone skin is excellent at reducing flare-ups thanks to its ingredients of colloidal oatmeal, which treats redness and swelling, and ceramides that help to repair the skin barrier, Dr. Mack said.
Not to mention, the less-than-$10 ticket price on this formula cant be beaten.
What Is The Best Prescription Ointment For Eczema
Over the Counter hydrocortisone is frequently the best prescription ointment doctors recommend to treat mild eczema. It relieves your symptoms and help the skin heal when taken or applied as advised by the doctor. Eczema can be an annoying skin condition, whether you deal with it every day or get it often. Its important to work with your physician closely to help you control the itch and rash. The right course of treatment for you will depend on your age, medical history, how bad your symptoms are, and other factors. Ointments are a great treatment option for eczema sufferers due to their composition.
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Emollients Help Repair Your Skin
Emollients fill in the cracks in dry skin, which helps soothe, soften and ultimately heal. They restore some of the natural fats in the skin, Dr. Anthony says. Fats are important in enabling the skin barrier to exist, and emollients help repair your skin barrier.
But some emollients are better than others for eczema. Good choices include:
Ceramides fats derived from plants or animals are especially good for eczema. Data shows that products that are high in ceramides work well for a lot of patients with eczema due to their anti-inflammatory effects, Dr. Anthony says.
Reserveage Nutrition Hydrating Hand & Foot Cream $37 Original Price: $46
According to Dr. Libby, Reserveages hand cream is a rich, luxurious cream that absorbs in quickly to moisturize skin with humectants like glycerin and repair the skin barrier with copper-encapsulated peptide technology. Not to mention, its a collagen booster and comes in the loveliest pink packaging weve seen.
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Topical Steroids For Treating Atopic Dermatitis
Topical treatments are medications that are applied to the skin to reduce or control eczema symptoms and inflammation.
Corticosteroids, also known simply as steroids, are a first-line anti-inflammatory topical treatment for atopic dermatitis. These drugs relieve itch and reduce redness additionally, depending on the preparation, they can also help combat dry skin.
Eczema Cream: The Bottom Line
Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is characterized by extremely dry skin, severe itching, red bumps that may leak fluid, and deep cracks. 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. Keeping the skin hydrated can help maintain the integrity of the skin barrier to prevent or treat flare-ups.
Along with avoiding the triggers that cause flare-ups and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet,
Several over-the-counter eczema creams can help alleviate even the most aggravating symptoms. Avoid those formulated with fragrances, dyes, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, and potentially dangerous ingredients like parabens and denatured alcohol.
The best eczema creams contain skin-soothing and reparative ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, aloe, honey, ceramides, fatty acids, and glycerin.
Whats the best eczema cream, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!
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What Ingredients To Avoid In Eczema Creams
Of course, there are ingredients youll want to avoid too, Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, tells SELF. Ingredients to watch out for include fragrances, exfoliating acids , harsh soaps, and retinol, she says: These can further irritate the skin by drying them out.
Dr. Nada Elbuluk, M.D., director of the Skin of Color Center and Pigmentary Program at USC, also notes to look at ingredients lists for anything you might be allergic to, because that will also cause a flare-up. I also recommend avoiding physical exfoliants and even certain fabrics such as wool, which can make eczema worse, she says.
So what are the absolute best eczema creams to hydrate, strengthen, and protect against flare-ups? We asked dermatologists to tell us what moisturizers they commonly recommend to their eczema patients. Heres what they suggest.
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Treatments For Mild Eczema
In most cases, if your eczema is mild a doctor may prescribe a moisturising cream or ointment .
These are applied directly to the affected area and should be used regularly to prevent your skin from drying out — often several times a day, depending on how dry your skin is.
Topical corticosteroids are available in varying strengths, and they are used to reduce itchiness and inflammation during a flare-up.
A mild topical corticosteroid such as hydrocortisone, or a moderate strength option may be prescribed to you. Once applied to the affected area, you should see improvements in your symptoms within a few days.
However, topical corticosteroids should always be used sparingly. If used for too long, on the wrong part of the body , or the dose is too strong this can lead to thinning of the skin.
A doctor will prescribe one that works best for you and explain how to use it.
If youre scratching a lot, speak to a pharmacist about bandages or wearing cotton gloves while you sleep. The gloves can allow moisturiser to soak in and reduce the risk of scratching during the night.
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Cerave Moisturizing Cream Is A Favored Option For Treating Eczema
According to Self, the best eczema creams contain ingredients like humectants , emollients , and occlusives . One of the best options on the market is La Roche-Posay Lipikar Eczema Cream it contains ingredients like soothing colloidal oatmeal and hydrating shea butter . The product claims to visibly reduce signs of eczema, and regular use can help prevent skin from developing discoloration and scarring from scratching.
Meanwhile, the New York Post favors the best-selling CeraVe Moisturizing Cream . It contains ceramides that help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier, and hyaluronic acid that attracts hydration. CeraVe is reportedly gentle enough to be used on the face or body as it is hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic. Deep Science recommends Kiehl’s Since 1985 Ultra Facial Cream , which claims to provide 24-hour hydration to even the most sensitive skin. Ingredients such as squalane, glycerin, and glacial glycoprotein work together to provide hydration and protection. It is fragrance-free and also protects you from the sun.
Another option is Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream , according to The Cut. It can help with dryness, redness, and itchiness and is said to work almost as well as steroids. This cream was formulated to speed up healing and recovery by two times by maintaining a hydrated and protective skin barrier.
Burt’s Bees Hydrating Overnight Mask
Dr. Baumann also recommends trying the Burt’s Bees Hydrating Overnight Mask if you need a quick boost of hydration in a travel size. It’s 99% natural and includes fatty acids from avocado, as well as prebiotics to support the skin’s microbiome.
âBuy itâ: BurtsBees.com âPriceâ: $14.99 for 2.5 oz
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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
Best Overall: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Multiuse: Good as a moisturizer and as an ointment for cuts, scrapes
Not suitable for those sensitive to lanolin
Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping, The Strategist, and Byrdie all picked Aquaphor Healing Ointment.
What do buyers say? 87% of 62,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.
We love this ointment as our best overall pick because it’s made with 41 percent petroleum, but also contains glycerin, which has humectant properties that attract water from the dermis and a humid environment into the epidermis. The addition of lanolin in the ingredient list also adds more occlusive benefits for those who are not allergic. A 2017 study indicates that lanolin can reduce water loss through the skin by 20 to 30 percent, so it helps to hydrate and soften the skin.
Aquaphor is a multitasking skin protectant. Its not only a great, thicker moisturizer, it can also be used to relieve dry, chapped lips, and can enhance healing and soothe minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.
Price at time of publish: $14
Active Ingredients: Petroleum | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Apply to the affected area and can be used as often as needed
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