14 of the Best Eczema Creams to Soothe Compromised Skin

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

01.14.22DISCLAIMER

Dry skin is one thing, but how do you know if you need an eczema cream or eczema lotion? Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is a common skin condition affecting 16.5 million U.S. adults. Approximately 7.3% of these individuals have had eczema since they were less than two years of age — with nearly 40% affected by moderate or severe disease. 

This chronic skin condition is characterized by extreme dryness, deep fissures, severe itching, and other uncomfortable symptoms (more those in a bit) that are best addressed with an eczema treatment cream. So, what causes this skin condition, and what ingredients should you look for in the best lotion for eczema? 

We’re glad you asked. Here at the Derm Review, we’ve reviewed hundreds of products with a scientific lens to ensure you’re creating a skincare routine that’s safe and effective. 

Ahead, 14 of the best eczema creams to help soothe, soften, nourish, and repair your skin’s compromised barrier. 

Related: The Best Moisturizers for Dry Skin

Best Eczema Creams: The List

La Roche Posay Lipikar Eczema Cream, $14.99

Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream, $14

Triderma Eczema Fast Healing Face and Body Cream, $24.99

Aquaphor Healing Ointment , $14.99

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, $15.58

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream , $13.89

Avene XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream, $34

DCL Ultra Comfort Cream, $75

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, $16.50

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $15.49

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, $11.24

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream, $21.99

Neosporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisturizing Cream, $12.31

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 skin’s 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 (more on those in a bit) can occur sporadically and sometimes go away for years. 

Related: The Best Face Moisturizers

Eczema Symptoms

The symptoms of eczema vary widely from person to person — and not always just eczema on face symptoms, but other areas of the body — but generally speaking, telltale signs include: 

  • Extremely dry skin, quite possibly coupled with deep fissures.
  • Severe itching, especially at nighttime when you’re trying to sleep.
  • Thickened, cracked, scaly skin.
  • Sensitive, raw, and swollen skin due to excessive scratching.
  • Small red bumps that may leak fluid and crust over.
  • Red, brownish patches, typically on the hands, wrists, neck, eyelids, chest, feet, and inside the bend of knees or elbows.

What to Look for in an Eczema Cream or Eczema Lotion 

It truly is vital that you’re using an eczema treatment cream that’s void of artificial fragrances, colors, and potentially dangerous ingredients like parabens and denatured alcohol because all of these can exacerbate the problem. Also, avoid any creams that contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids, which can dry out the skin even further. 

Aside from reading the ingredient list, you’ll probably know that you’re not using the correct cream or lotion if it burns when or causes further irritation when applied on areas of skin where eczema is present. 

 

Consider What Area of Skin You’re Treating

Another deciding factor when choosing an eczema treatment is the area of skin you’re 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 that’s 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. 

 

Ingredients to Look for in the Best Eczema Creams

Several over-the-counter ingredients are effective in the fight against eczema. They are soothing and can help calm swelling, redness, and itchiness, helping you sleep better and experience overall less discomfort. 

  • Colloidal Oatmeal
    Colloidal oatmeal is a remedy used for centuries to soothe dry, itchy, irritated skin, thanks to the exceptional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant chemicals called avenanthramides, which support the health of the skin.
  • Glycerin
    Glycerin is a desirable choice for those with eczema because it’s an emollient, which means it’s a skin softener. It is also a humectant, so it can retain moisture, relieve dryness, and increase the skin’s hydration.
  • Honey
    The golden nectar of the bees can provide benefits for all skin types. When it comes to eczema, its antibacterial effects can prevent skin infections or calm inflammation associated with flare-ups. Additionally, it provides moisture on a deep level.
  • Aloe
    Aloe is another ingredient that all skin types can benefit from, but thanks to its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s a beneficial ingredient for eczema.
  • Ceramides
    Ceramides are lipids that make up approximately 50% of the skin composition to form the natural skin barrier. In short, they are like the glue that holds our skin cells together to help maintain a healthy skin barrier that seals in moisture while keeping impurities out.
  • Fatty Acids
    Omega fatty acids act as building blocks in the skin cells, strengthening the skin’s surface layers for a smoother, healthier, and younger-looking complexion.

Related: Best Face Oils

Different Types of Eczema

There are seven different eczema types. We’ve already spoken about atopic dermatitis, the most common form — here are the remaining six. A dermatologist can help you determine which type you have to receive proper treatment, which will likely include an eczema cream or eczema lotion. In some cases, a prescription product may be necessary.

 

Contact Dermatitis

There are two types of contact dermatitis: Irritant contact dermatitis (which accounts for 800% of all CD) and allergic contact dermatitis. The former occurs when the skin comes in contact with irritating substances such as detergents, soaps, makeup, hair dye, bleach, scratchy wool, and certain metals. 

The latter is a delayed allergic reaction that pops up a day or two after the skin is exposed to an allergen. CD isn’t hereditary or linked to other allergic reactions such as asthma or hay fever, unlike atopic dermatitis. 

 

Neurodermatitis

The intense itching and scratching can lead to neurodermatitis, a common type of eczema that affects approximately 12% of the population. It’s typically limited to one or two patches of the skin and seldomly won’t go away without treatment. In fact, it can get worse without it.

 

Dyshidrotic Eczema

Dyshidrotic is characterized as small, itchy blisters that appear on the palms of hands, edges of the fingers and toes, and soles of feet. While the root cause is unknown, it’s more prevalent in people who have another form of eczema — it’s also linked to genetics. 

 

Nummular Eczema

Nummular eczema appears as scattered circular, itchy patches that tend to weep. It tends to develop as a reaction to other forms of eczema. It can be a sign of poor circulation when it appears on the legs. 

 

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis surfaces where there are many oil-producing (sebaceous) glands like the upper back, nose, and scalp. SD is an inflammatory reaction to a surplus of Malassezia yeast. Since the immune system overreacts to this overabundance, it triggers an inflammatory response that causes changes in the integrity of the skin.

 

Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis, also called gravitational dermatitis, is linked to poor circulation in the lower legs. While the cause could be aging, it can also signify a serious underlying medical condition such as kidney or heart disease. 

Eczema Triggers

A person suffering from eczema could have one or more triggers, leading to a flare-up. Being aware of your triggers can help you get your eczema under control. 

  • Allergens such as pollen, mold, pet fur, and dust mites — even dampness or the weather.
  • Stress on a short and long-term basis.
  • Excessive sweating and tight clothing.
  • Irritants such as fragrance, soaps, detergents, solvents, cleaning supplies, etc. 
  • Certain materials such as synthetic fabrics and wool. 
  • Hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy or one’s menstrual cycle. 
  • Food allergies to foods such as eggs, peanuts, cows’ milk, wheat, or soya. 

How To Prevent Eczema Flare-ups

There’s no known cure for eczema, and symptoms won’t 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. We’ve taken the guesswork out of how to stop eczema immediately with an eczema cream.
  • Take shorter baths or showers (approximately 10 to 15 minutes) 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 that’s 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 aren’t working. 

Related: Best Scar Creams

Eczema Cure Diet

While you’re not going to want to forgo using an eczema cream or lotion, tweaking your diet can help improve your condition.  

 

Reach for Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation and eczema go hand-in-hand, so adopting an anti-inflammatory diet can help keep insulin levels at bay. Ditch sugar and refined carbohydrates and eat a diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains. 

While omega-three fatty acids are known for reducing inflammation, the most readily absorbed form for those with eczema is found in oily fish like salmon, mackerel, or sardines.

 

Eliminate Allergens

Over 80 percent of atopic dermatitis sufferers have higher than normal antibodies in their system. The most common foods that spark allergies include gluten, chocolate wheat, peanuts, eggs, milk, soy, and citrus. 

If you’re eating all or several of these items, you should practice the elimination diet, which means you cut one food out at a time to determine which one is the trigger. Work with a nutritionist or general practitioner who can ensure you’re still getting a balanced diet after the elimination process.

 

Take Probiotics

Digestive health can affect eczema sufferers by supporting your immune system. With that said, you need to ensure that your gut contains specific strains of probiotics (healthy bacteria) to build up a robust immune system. Look for supplements containing the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species.

 

Consume the Right Vitamins

The following vitamins and minerals are particularly beneficial for eczema. Try to get them by eating a nutritious diet. 

  • Zinc: Seafood, lean red meat, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds
  • Vitamin C: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables and rosehip
  • Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds, dried apricots, avocado 
  • Vitamin D: Best absorbed from sunlight in the summer months (you should still wear sun protection), and a D supplement in the winter months.
  • Flavonoids: Emerging research suggests that flavonoids (plant molecules) can help rebalance the immune system, therefore, being helpful for those with eczema. 

Related: Best Night Creams

Best Eczema Creams

La Roche Posay Lipikar Eczema Cream, $14.99
This is an excellent eczema cream with multiple ingredients that help treat and soothe the condition. It’s formulated with 1% colloidal oatmeal, which is extremely soothing and alleviates itching. La Roche Posay’s cream also protects the skin to keep it from becoming further irritated. 

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) helps improve the skin barrier, which is essential in the fight against eczema. The stronger the skin barrier, the less likely it is that you’ll have eczema flare-ups. Shea butter and glycerin are moisturizing agents that help lock in moisture to alleviate an eruption and keep skin soft.

Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream, $14
The main ingredient in Eucerin’s Eczema Relief cream is oatmeal. Other active ingredients include ceramide-3 and licochalcone (a flavonoid isolated from licorice root), which help reduce redness and itching. They also fortify the skin barrier, keeping essential lipids locked in to prevent further dryness. 

Licochalcone can also be found in some acne medications, thanks to its ability to relieve redness and inflammation. It has been proven to be as effective as hydrocortisone; an ingredient often used to treat atopic dermatitis.

Triderma Eczema Fast Healing Face and Body Cream, $24.99
This eczema treatment cream promises to help reduce eczema quickly, thanks to powerful ingredients like aloe, oatmeal, and arnica Montana flower. Aloe soothes and reduces swelling while also moisturizing to help protect the skin barrier. 

Arnica montana flower is an anti-inflammatory that can help reduce swelling. This formulation also contains shea butter and beeswax to help hold moisture in to keep skin soft and healthy, alleviating scaliness and rough texture.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $14.99
This preservative- and fragrance-free formula for very dry and chapped skin is dermatologist-recommended. It can help treat cracked skin, minor cuts and burns, and parched lips. The ingredients list for this product is concise — but that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective. 

Petrolatum, a skin protectant, helps thoroughly moisturize and replenish dry skin. Bisabolol,  derived from chamomile, is soothing. Finally, panthenol is a moisturizer that improves hydration to help treat and prevent chapped skin. 

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, $15.58
Aveeno’s Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream has a nearly five-star rating, attesting to its efficacy. Oat is a top ingredient, as it helps soothe and restore the skin’s natural pH balance. Other components include feverfew, blackberry, and southernwood, which work together to create a formidable force against even the most frustrating eczema symptoms. 

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream, $13.89
If you’re struggling with eczema on your face, consider the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream. This facial moisturizer is said to refresh and hydrate tired-looking skin while helping to restore the skin’s natural barrier overnight.

This rich yet non-greasy night cream is formulated to continually release moisturizing ingredients — such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter — all night so that you can wake up looking rested and rejuvenated. In addition to these moisturizing ingredients, you’ll find critical ingredients like niacinamide, allantoin, and biomimetic peptides in the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream.

Avene XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream, $34
This product previously won Allure’s Best Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin Award, so it’s also perhaps the best eczema cream over the counter. On average, it relieves itching in five days and begins to noticeably hydrate within seven days.

This eczema treatment cream is specifically formulated to target the itching, redness, dryness, and irritation associated with eczema. Active ingredients include glycerin, evening primrose oil, and thermal spring water, which work together to provide moisture while restoring the damaged lipid barrier. 

DCL Ultra Comfort Cream, $75
Several ingredients give this cream its potency. Coconut, aloe vera, and allantoin are incredibly soothing, relieving itchiness and redness. Hyaluronic acid, jojoba, and vitamin B5 act as moisturizers to reduce dryness. Seaweed extracts and vitamin E are included to strengthen the skin by improving elasticity. 

Oat complex, marine algae, and Canadian willowherb are also soothing, reducing redness and alleviating itchiness. This cream can also help relieve sunburn and the swelling and redness that come with it.

Kiehl’sUltra Facial Cream, $16.50
Ultra Facial Cream is the #1 moisturizing cream by Kiehl’s that provides ultra-lightweight 24-hour hydration. It is recommended for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin. This cream contains a high concentration of squalane, which plays a vital role in skin lubrication and protection. 

In addition to squalane, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream contains a high concentration of glycerin (a humectant), cyclohexasiloxane (a silicone), and several different emollients. The formula is paraben-free, fragrance-free, mineral oil-free, dye-free, and TEA-free.

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, $15.49
This lightweight, oil-free moisturizer by CeraVe is an excellent option for those with dry skin and/or eczema because it helps to improve the skin’s hydration by restoring its natural barrier. The formula is non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores), which means you can use this CeraVe lotion on both your face and body. A few of the key ingredients in the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion include glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, $36
This head-to-toe moisturizer by First Aid Beauty can be used as a daily moisturizer to prevent and alleviate dry, itchy, and red skin. After applying First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, the skin is left feeling smooth, hydrated, and comfortable after just one use.

The active ingredient in First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration is 0.5% colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal is a skin protectant that has been used for centuries to soothe and heal the skin and reduce inflammation and redness. There are also several emollients in the Ultra Repair Cream, including shea butter and squalane. An emollient is an oily substance that fills in the spaces between dead skin cells, thus creating a smooth skin surface.

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, $11.24
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is a fragrance-free, oil-free facial lotion that is said to help calm the skin, increase moisture retention, and restore the skin’s barrier while you sleep. 

Like all CeraVe skincare products, the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion includes ceramides as crucial ingredients. Specifically, this formula contains ceramide NP, ceramide AP, and ceramide EOP. Topical application of ceramides helps maintain epidermal hydration and serves as a barrier that responds to environmental stressors, infections, irritants, and allergens. The result is skin that is smooth, moisturized, and healthy.

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Cream, $21.99
This cult-favorite moisturizer is multi-purpose and can be used on the lips, face, body, hands, eyes, and even hair to replenish hydration. Its all-natural formulation makes it a favorite of celebrities like Kate Hudson, Rihanna, and Lauren Conrad — because it simply works. The ingredients list is quite simple, including beeswax, honey, olive oil, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. 

Propolis, a type of resin created by bees, is especially great at reducing inflammation, a critical factor in eczema. Honey is an antibacterial and calming ingredient, while royal jelly (produced by honeybees to nourish their larvae and queen) soothes and hydrates.

Neosporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisturizing Cream, $12.31
Neosporin’s eczema cream has a unique formulation that combines a humectant, emollient, lipid, and botanical to provide ultimate hydration and nourishment to dry, chapped and painful skin. It is steroid and antibiotic-free and has been shown in clinical studies to relieve eczema symptoms in as little as three days while relieving itchiness upon contact. 

The colloidal oatmeal in this formula also helps create a barrier that protects skin from outside irritants and moisture loss from environmental exposure. The National Eczema Association has also approved this product.

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. 

What’s the best eczema cream, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

 

FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently answered questions about eczema.

Dermatologists recommend providing relief to itchy areas with a cool compress or ice pack and an oatmeal bath to soothe. Always use gentle, fragrance-free products, such as an eczema lotion, to help protect the skin’s barrier while preventing flare-ups. If necessary, there are prescription-strength treatments available, including topical steroids or anti-inflammatory agents known as calcineurin inhibitors.
Those with eczema battle with extremely dry skin and quickly become irritated and break out in itchy, red patches. You can rehydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water and moisturizing well, especially after showering and running a humidifier, but water consumption alone will not cure eczema.
During the day, the body produces a natural anti-inflammatory called cortisol. However, our cortisol levels drop during the night, which leaves eczema sufferers without the natural protection against itchy, heated skin.
Eczema is a type of inflammation, and the sun provides an anti-inflammatory effect — it’s the ultra-violet (UV) rays that may help improve eczema. The science behind this concept is phototherapy, which is used to minimize flare-ups.
Your skin may be more prone to eczema flare-ups when it isn’t clean, so daily showering and face cleaning can be helpful. Just be sure to apply an eczema lotion or cream immediately afterward.
Physical activity can make your heart stronger and keep your weight in check, but if you have eczema, it can cause your skin to become even more red, sensitive, and itchy. But that’s no reason to skip exercise. In fact, breaking a sweat can actually help eczema because it lowers stress and boosts your mood — and stress can trigger flare-ups.
Vaseline is used for various skincare concerns, including sensitivity, which makes it an efficient product to help calm eczema flare-ups. Unlike some creams and lotions, Vaseline (petroleum jelly) doesn’t sting. Instead, it soothes, moisturizes, and alleviates redness, irritation, and discomfort.
Sometimes, wet wrapping treats moderate to severe eczema, but it doesn’t come without risks such as infection. However, covering the skin increases the potency of topical treatments, making them more effective.

References:
Eczema Stats,” National Eczema Association.
Neurodermatitis,” Cleveland Clinic.
How to Relieve Itchy Skin,” American Academy of Dermatology.

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