A Dermatologist Breaks Down The Best (& Worst) Eczema Cream Ingredients

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If you have eczema, then you are all too familiar with some of the symptoms, including itchiness, dry skin, and rashes. Luckily, the best eczema creams can help. According to dermatologist Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, the key is applying these creams head to toe within minutes of bathing (and on your hands after washing them) in order to lock in moisture, she told Bustle in an interview. This is super important because people living with eczema actually have a damaged skin barrier (so their skin is extra sensitive to bad stuff like irritants, allergens, and bacteria, and it’s also harder for their skin to retain water), and so these creams offer protection for the skin, according to the National Eczema Association.

When picking an eczema cream, Dr. Feely has a couple of things that she recommends. She first says to “avoid fragrances and preservatives, such as parabens, as these can irritate the skin.” Oh, and make sure that the product is actually fragrance-free, not just “unscented.” (An unscented product often contain fragrances meant to neutralize odors.) She also says to pick a product that is dye-free. Another helpful tip? Look for products that contain ceramides and other lipids, which help to lock in moisture (and keep impurities out). Just keep in mind that the symptoms of eczema can totally vary from person to person, so what works for one might not work for another.

Whether you prefer the ease of a pump, the portability of a tube, or want an extra dose of itch relief, there’s a top-rated pick for the eczema on your skin or your child’s skin.


The Best Overall Eczema Cream

With more than 900 reviews on Amazon and a stellar 4.7-star rating, you can rest easy knowing that this cream from Eucerin is an effective pick for those with eczema. This cream can help with a range of symptoms including relieving itching, dryness, and even minor skin irritations. It’s enriched with colloidal oatmeal for soothing skin protection, and the ceramide-fortified formula strengthens the skin’s barrier. It does all of this while being fragrance-, dye-, paraben-, and steroid-free.

Amazon reviewers say that they especially love this cream because of how easy it is to use and how quickly it works. “Out of the over-the-counter eczema remedies I've tried, this is one of the best. There's no scent to possibly further irritate skin. The cream is rich, thick, and applies smoothly. It absorbs quickly and leaves the skin cooled and moisturized without a greasy feel,” one reviewer wrote.


A Cult-Favorite Eczema Cream With A Pump

If you're looking for a product that is super easy to use, then look no further than this moisturizing cream from Vanicream which costs about half as much per ounce as the top pick. The pump dispenser quickly distributes the product and is especially beneficial if multiple people use it since it helps to prevent germs from transferring between users. The nongreasy and long-lasting formula helps soothe red, irritated, cracked, or itchy skin, all without containing any dyes, fragrances, parabens, or formaldehyde.

It was awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, and Amazon reviewers? Well they give it a 4.5-star rating on the site, and one reviewer even noted, “Don’t think twice if you have dry sensitive skin that is prone to eczema! I bought this product originally because I had an outbreak of dry cracking skin. My sister in law recommended this to me and I have never looked back! I use this all over my body daily as well as on my face. Makes my skin look dewy and beautiful without breaking out.”


The Best Eczema Cream For Itching

If itching is one of your main skin concerns, this moisturizing lotion from CeraVe is specifically designed to help. It’s formulated with three essential ceramides that help to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier, and 1% of the anesthetic pramoxine hydrochloride. In a clinical test, it was found that 100% of people experienced relief from even their most severe itch (yes, you read that right... every single user got relief).

The fragrance-, sulfate-, and steroid-free cream offers eight hours of relief for most people and was awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. It’s gotten more than 900 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5-star rating, with one person writing: “If you have dry skin at all, this is the best lotion to have available. It completely has taken away the itchy dry skin when applied after each shower. My granddaughter suffers with eczema and she loves this cream. She was so happy I told her about it.”

CeraVe doesn't market this pick as paraben-free, but the most common parabens are not found in the ingredients list.


A Gentle Oatmeal Eczema Cream In A Tub

This eczema relief balm from Aveeno is formulated with colloidal oatmeal and ceramides like the first pick to help relieve dry, itchy, eczema-prone skin. Awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, this pick is certainly a favorite among those who’ve tried it. “I have tried dozens of lotions for my eczema to no avail. This is the first product I've found that eliminates the itch. After just a few days the itch was gone and my skin was healing. 30+ years of battling eczema on and off and I finally found something other than steroid cream that helps,” one reviewer wrote on Amazon.

The nongreasy formula absorbs quickly into your skin, and is even steroid-, paraben-, and fragrance-free.


5. The Best Budget Eczema Cream

Get eczema relief on a budget with this low-cost, yet effective, pick from Solimo. This moisturizing oatmeal lotion helps to protect and soothe very dry, chapped, or cracked skin. While this lotion doesn't contain ceramides or other lipids, many Amazon reviewers say that it still works well. “Works awesome with my eczema. I use it daily as it’s a large bottle that costs well below the name brand,” one fan wrote.

Solimo doesn't market this pick as paraben-free, but the most common parabens are not found in the ingredients list. Oh, and don't worry about any irritating fragrances; you'll find none here either.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.


Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, board-certified cosmetic, general, and surgical dermatologist