If you’re constantly dealing with red, itchy, dry patches of eczema, you're probably familiar with the struggle to find the best eczema creams out there. Chances are, by now, you've tried seemingly every lotion and over-the-counter treatment on the market to help, and you've learned that it's incredibly tough to find a product that moisturizes without irritating your poor skin further. Eczema creams are not one-size-fits-all, and it is way too easy to spend a ton of money on products that do nothing to make your skin any less red or itchy. So how can you be sure you’re using the right one for you?What should you look for in an eczema cream?
Eczema 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 flares 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.
It’s especially important to look for a product that contains humectant ingredients (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin) as well as moisturizing and skin-protecting ingredients (like ceramides, petrolatum, and colloidal oatmeal). 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, recommends Dr. Lipner.
Of course, there are ingredients you’ll 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 (like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids), and retinol, she says: “These can further irritate the skin by drying them out.”
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. Here’s what they suggest.
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