What lotion helps eczema?

Finding a soothing solution for eczema

For one with eczema, keeping your skin hydrated is one of your best defenses against unpleasant symptoms like itching. Moisturization not only eases the dry, itchy skin often linked with eczema, but it also helps to repair the skin barrier function. This is crucial because during a flare-up, when you scratch uncontrollably, any tears in the skin make you more prone to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.

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How to find the best lotion for your eczema

Top lotions, creams, and moisturizers for eczema

Moisturizers trap water and create a barrier against things that can aggravate your skin. You can select from plenty of products, but they’re not the same. You should also know when and how to apply them. Because there is no cure for eczema, treating the symptoms is essential — and what you do not put on your skin is almost as important as what you do. Avoid acids like alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, fragrances, products with excessive additives, and preservatives because they can trigger irritation and further aggravate the condition.

What choices do you have for a moisturizer?

There are three kinds of moisturizers: lotions, creams, and ointments. They’re ranked by the amount of oil and water they contain. The more oil they contain, the better they are for eczema.

  • Ointments contain the most oil. They’re usually the best choice for eczema-affected skin. They do not burn when you apply them and help hold in moisture. Some people prefer using them overnight allowing your skin to absorb them fully. Examples include petroleum jelly and mineral oil.
  • Creams are a great choice if you dislike like the greasy feel of an ointment. With the second highest oil content, they are good for sealing in moisture on the skin. Be sure to read labels thoroughly. Creams often include additives that can cause irritation or cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Lotions comprise mostly of water and have the lowest oil content. They evaporate quickly and may have ingredients that bother your skin, so read the labels well.

How you include these creams and moisturizers to your skincare routine is also crucial. Applying moisturizers just after showering helps to trap more moisture in the skin, repair the skin barrier function, and make the skin less prone to irritation and further flares of dermatitis. 

Lotion for your eczema: Tips to keep in mind

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Avoid fragrances as they are known eczema irritants, as well as artificial dyes. You should also skip formulas with exfoliating ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid—the last thing your dry skin needs is extra exfoliation. And lay off the botanicals. Plant-based ingredients like citrus fruit extracts and mint can irritate if the plant is a primary ingredient. Instead, look for eczema lotions with these soothing ingredients:

  • Colloidal oatmeal: It’s FDA-approved to protect skin and treat eczema.
  • Petroleum jelly: It locks in hydration and seals the skin. This can help prevent infection.
  • Mineral oil: Like petroleum jelly, it creates a protective seal over the skin to keep moisture in.
  • Petrolatum
  • Silicone derivatives (such as dimethicone)
  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Ceramides
  • Fatty acids

When in doubt, check to see that the product has the approval seal from the National Eczema Association.  Always perform a patch test to see if the moisturizer you choose causes a rash, redness, or itching before applying it on your entire body.

The Benefits of an Emollient Moisturizer

For those with eczema, an emollient moisturizer makes a big difference in your skin. Emollients are substances that act as lubricants and are believed to fill in the crevices between the microscopic skin proteins that are shedding. Their capability to reverse dryness and scaling makes them extremely useful in treating eczema symptoms, as well as other skin conditions like psoriasis and ichthyosis.

The best eczema lotions, creams, and moisturizers

Our picks for the best eczema lotions, creams and moisturizers give the skin the hydration it needs without causing irritation or unwanted greasiness

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CeraVe Eczema Soothing Creamy Oil

This creamy oil glides smoothly on the skin, absorbs quickly, and offers many of the benefits of a thicker cream. It has three essential ceramides, can help strengthen your skin’s barrier and provide long-lasting hydration, and safflower oil, which is gentle on eczema-stressed skin, to lock in moisture post-shower. It’s hypoallergenic, fragrance, and alcohol-free.

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Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Creme

This Eczema Relief creme soothes eczema itching while improving skin hydration. It contains colloidal oatmeal, which calms irritated skin, ceramides to boost your skin’s barrier and moisturization, and licochalcone to improve the appearance of red, flaky skin. This gentle formulation is fragrance, steroid, and dye-free.

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Eucerin Daily Replenishing Moisturizing Lotion

Eucerin has been one of the most trusted brands for those with eczema and good reason. It moisturizes the affected skin with petroleum and mineral oil and has been chosen as the product of choice for people with troubled skin since German scientist Isaac Lifshulz first invented it in the early 1900 hundreds.

There are many different versions of Eucerin. The standard cream-based options tend to be greasy, while the lotion formulations are less so. The lotion-based products are recommended for use on normal to moderately inflamed skin as it has a thinner consistency than what would be required for more severe cases. It is this lighter creaminess that makes the lotion more readily absorbed into the skin.

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Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly

This classic Vaseline product is often the go-to recommendation of dermatologists. Petroleum jelly forms a thick barrier between your skin and the external elements, allowing your skin to heal and reduce the risk of infection. But many don’t like its thick and gooey feel, and if that’s you, use it as a targeted treatment for eczema hotspots or only apply it at night. Put it directly onto damp skin for excellent results. The Vaseline brand petroleum jelly has been purified three times to remove any impurities, plus it’s free of paraben, dye, fragrance, and phthalates, that might irritate skin.

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Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream Fragrance-Free

Hands can be particularly challenging to treat for eczema as they’re often exposed to the elements and you need to wash them often throughout a day. To help fight the damage, slather on a Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream each time after your hands come in contact with water or irritants. A small dab of this glycerin-rich formulation goes a long way to soothe and protect your hands instantly. It’s also fragrance and dye free.

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Moisturel Therapeutic Lotion

This petroleum-based lotion is mixed with glycerin and dimethicone, a kind of silicone, to help it glide silkily on your skin and get absorbed quickly. It’s a great option for those who want the protection of petroleum without the gunky feel of it. It’s free of paraben, lanolin, fragrance, and dyes.

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Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor is another trusted moisturizer made by the same company as Eucerin and is equally effective in treating even the driest and flakiest of skin. Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment contains 41 percent petroleum jelly, which gives it a thicker consistency than Eucerin. This product can be applied on more severe instances of eczema that need extra emollients to maintain hydration on the skin adequately.

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Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion

Cetaphil has a long history of producing products that are a godsend for people with dry, sensitive skin. It doesn’t have any skin irritants; it has none of the greasiness that can put people off and absorbs into the skin quickly for longer lasting moisturization.

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Nivea Original Moisture Daily Lotion

Nivea Original Moisture Daily Lotion has more mineral oil than petroleum, so it soaks into the skin quicker than some of the other moisturizers. Nivea is a German brand founded in 1882 whose product line is marketed a gentler, “purer” skin care alternative. It was the first company to produce a stable emulsion of water and oil to provide better hydration of the skin. The name Nivea itself comes from the Latin for “snow white.”

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Curél Intensive Healing Daily Cream

This fragrance-free cream by Curél contains mostly water and glycerin. Unlike the other recommended products on the list, it doesn’t replace the skin’s natural oils but is still a solid choice for someone who isn’t experiencing a flare up and wants to keep their skin fresh and moisturized. Curél is a line of skin care products owned by Tokyo-based Kao Brands made specifically for dry, itchy skin.

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Curel Hydra Therapy

This moisturizer is designed to be used right after you get out of the shower before you dry off – it’s activated by water to penetrate deep into the skin. It has glycerin and shea butter, two ingredients recommended for boosting the skin’s moisture barrier.

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Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream

This lotion has moisture-locking glycerin and lipids to boost the skin’s moisture barrier and is specifically formulated for eczema-prone skin.

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SkinClinical Extreme Healing Daily Treatment

This moisturizer was developed to help those with dry skin conditions like eczema. It has soothing Shea butter and Chinese angelica, an herb that enhances healing and blood circulation.

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Mustela Stelatopia Emollient Balm

The avocado molecules and plant oils in this moisturizer protect and nourish the skin.