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If you have eczema, you’re all too familiar with flare-ups of itchy, patchy, and inflamed skin and the quest for the perfect cream to soothe it.
Though there are many types of eczema, there’s one type of product that can help prevent and manage symptoms across the board. Using a quality moisturizer daily can help ease flare-ups, provide itch relief, and aid in healing your inflamed skin.
With the help of two board certified dermatologists, we sorted through the sea of salves to bring you only the best eczema creams and help you pick the best one for your skin.
Best eczema creams of 2022
- Best rated eczema cream: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
- Best everyday eczema cream: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
- Best eczema cream for flare-ups: CeraVe Healing Ointment
- Best heavy-duty eczema cream: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
- Best eczema cream for itch relief: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Balm Relief
- Best aloe cream for eczema: Gold Bond Medicated Eczema Relief Cream
- Best lactic acid cream for eczema: AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion
- Best full body cream for eczema: Eucerin Eczema Relief Full Body Lotion
We talked with the pros to find out what to look for in an eczema cream as well as what to avoid. The advice of board certified dermatologists informed every option on our list, helping us single out the products that truly deliver.
- Contains proven ingredients. Dr. Jeannette Graf, board certified Dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai, gave us some tips for scouring ingredient lists:
- Unscented petroleum jelly helps “repair skin barrier function and lock in hydration.”
- Aloe vera “soothes inflammation and can aid in the healing process.”
- Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) helps improve skin function.
- Other effective ingredients include ceramides, colloidal oatmeal, and other humectants (moisture-retaining ingredients) like glycerin, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid
- Doesn’t contain harmful ingredients. We found products free of potentially harmful allergens that could worsen symptoms. Since eczema and sensitive skin typically go hand-in-hand, you’ll want to avoid any irritants. Board-certified dermatologist Anna Chacon suggests that “you want to avoid any alcohol-based products, as these are particularly drying.” Other common irritants include:
- essential oils
- cocamidopropyl betaine
- propylene glycol
- A price point for every wallet. Eczema cream’s no good if you can’t afford it. We included several effective, dermatologist-approved options at the lowest price points on the market — as well as a few splurgier options with added, nice-to-have ingredients like natural botanicals.
- Expert and consumer-approved. We looked for options approved by the National Eczema Association, dermatologists, and of course, consumers like you. Sifting through reviews can take time, so we did the heavy lifting for you and your skin.
- $ = under $13
- $$ = $13–26
- $$$ = over $26
Best rated eczema cream
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
If you’re overwhelmed by the options out there, Vanicream is a solid place to start. The petroleum jelly-based formula seals in moisture and is perfect for dry, sensitive skin — which more than likely describes your skin sitch if you have eczema.
Chacon recommends this moisturizing cream for a fairly budget-friendly pick that’s hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. It also skips out on parabens, dyes, and other potential irritants. Since just *one* wrong-for-you ingredient can trigger an eczema flare-up, it’s ideal to stick with something super gentle. In general, the fewer ingredients a product has, the less likely it is to spark an allergic reaction.
Reviewers praise its ultra-hydrating properties while remaining nongreasy, although some accuse it of being a little too thick. Pro tip: If you’d prefer a thinner option, you can pick up Vanicream’s Moisturizing Lotion instead which contains less oil. Ointments and creams tend to be better for eczema, but a lotion is better than nothing.
Best everyday eczema treatment
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
“CeraVe moisturizing cream is a simple choice and it’s one of my favorites to pair before bedtime,” Chacon says. It contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides, all of which help repair the skin’s natural barrier and aid in hydration. Bonus: The company also offers a PM version that contains niacinamide which eases inflammation. It’s a great option for your face or any inflamed skin.
It goes on a bit like a lotion and some users rave that it eases itchiness in no time. Reviewers also say it helps eczema-related redness fade away. They also love that despite its thick texture, it’s not greasy.
A few reviewers complain it’s too heavy to use on their face, but the ingredient list *does* check out as gentle enough for all-over. Do a patch test to see if it’s right for you.
Best eczema cream for flare-ups
CeraVe Healing Ointment
According to the National Eczema Association, ointments are the ideal first line of defense against eczema. Since they contain more oil than creams and lotions, they’re especially skilled at sealing in moisture. While this ultra-thick treatment might be a little much for all-over applications, it’s a perfect option for active flare-ups.
Chacon compares CeraVe’s healing ointment to Vaseline, another petroleum-based fave that works well for eczema. The advantage of using this over Vaseline is that CeraVe’s also contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which will give your skin some much-needed moisture.
This healing ointment has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Approval. A bunch of reviewers call it their “holy grail” product for eczema outbreaks.
Best heavy-duty eczema cream
Aquaphor Healing Ointment
Here’s another ointment to add to your shopping list. “Aquaphor healing ointment is one of my favorites for wound healing as well as for lip dryness,” Chacon says.
If you have a particularly red, inflamed, or wound-like eczema outbreak, reach for the Aquaphor. This formula contains particularly high petroleum content as well as mineral oil, glycerin, and panthenol, which makes it one of the most effective options for sealing in moisture.
Aquaphor is a long-time, trusted brand that’s reached cult fave status in recent years. Reviewers love it for easing eczema symptoms as well as rashes of all kinds.
Keep in mind that it does contain lanolin, which the National Eczema Association notes may irritate eczema-prone skin. Even though lanolin is a solid emollient derived from sheep’s wool, it’s not unheard of for folks with atopic dermatitis to have an allergy to it.
Reviewers sensitive to lanolin confirm: This one’s a no-go for them. Some broke out in a bumpy red rash after applying. Remember, always do a patch test when trying new products.
Best eczema cream for itch relief
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Balm Relief
Who knew treating eczema could be so… enjoyable? Chacon loves the pocket-sized, “fun” convenience of this Aveeno Eczema Therapy balm. It’s easy to apply and lends immediate itch relief.
It’s formulated with colloidal oatmeal, which helps heal and soothe skin quickly. (Remember those oatmeal baths your grandma always recommends? She’s onto something.)
This fragrance-free, glycerin-based balm may also help fade any hyperpigmentation spots that eczema can leave behind. Reviewers rave that it eases eczema flare-ups in less than 24 hours.
Some with eczema did say they had some sensitivity to it, though. While it doesn’t contain any ingredients flagged by the National Eczema Association, the small quantity of citric acid it contains could be the culprit.
Best aloe treatment for eczema
Gold Bond Medicated Eczema Relief Cream
This brand calls itself the #1 eczema symptom relief lotion brand, and they may not be far off. Chacon recommends Gold Bond products in general for folks with eczema. This 2 percent colloidal oatmeal formula, which was formulated with help from dermatologists, may be particularly effective.
Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, dye-free, and approved by the National Eczema Association, this product’s other standout healing and hydrating ingredients include aloe, jojoba, shea butter, bisabolol, and ginger root extract.
While lots of reviewers swear by this cream for healing and soothing eczema, a few did complain of a slight burning sensation after application. (So don’t skip that patch test, just in case!)
Best lactic acid cream for eczema
AmLactin Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Chacon recommends AmLactin for eczema thanks to the company’s staple ingredient: ammonium lactate (aka lactic acid). The 12 percent lactic acid lotion aids in skin renewal with gentle exfoliation, which makes it pretty dang good at clearing those pesky eczema flakes away.
The fragrance-free, paraben formula is formulated for the body, but may be gentle enough for your face, too.
Some reviewers even claim that it works as well or even better than their prescription topical steroid treatment for fading flare-ups. Bonus: The lactic acid also can help heal and lighten scars and dark spots left behind by eczema.
Although it’s formulated without fragrance (a major pro for sensitive and eczema-prone skin), quite a few reviewers were hating on its au natural odor. But hey, they *did* say that it still works well. Just make sure not to use it near any open areas of your skin or on your face because it can cause stinging.
Best full body cream for eczema
Eucerin Eczema Relief Full Body Lotion
Chacon also stands by Eucerin, a company that’s been a go-to for folks with dry, sensitive skin for generations. This lotion is formulated with colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, glycerin, and castor seed oil for hydration and healing.
Heads up: It’s so thick that some reviewers call it slow-absorbing or even goopy. But they do say that when it does finally soak into your skin, you’ll be stoked with the results. (So stoked, in fact, that one reviewer says they’d like to dip their bod in a barrel of it.)
The company claims to be clinically-proven to treat eczema in infants and children, and there’s some research to back this up. Though the sample size was small (under 100 children), a 2015 study concluded that Eucerin Eczema Relief significantly boosted skin hydration and reduced itching, burning, and roughness in participants. Keep in mind that this study was funded and sponsored by Eucerin, though, so that means it was inherently biased.
Ready to shop until your eczema flare-ups drop? Here are some tips for finding the best cream for your needs.
- Check the ingredient list twice. Some products may look tempting and nearly eczema-approved, but it’s best to avoid ingredients like alcohol, parabens, urea, and fragrance, just in case.
- Try a trial size. Try to purchase the smallest size of a product to test it out before you commit to your forever cream (travel sizes FTW). Many derms offer sample sizes of both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) lotions, so consider heading to your doc. (And don’t forget that patch test!)
- Don’t assume more $ = better. Thankfully, when it comes to eczema creams, there’s something with legit ingredients at every price point. You really don’t need to splurge to secure an effective product, and what’s more expensive won’t necessarily work better for your unique needs.
- Consult the pros. You might want to look up products in the National Eczema Association directory to see if they’ve received a Seal of Acceptance. The association considers these products legit for those with eczema or sensitive skin based on a variety of criteria. Products have to apply for the label, though, so some quality products might not have the seal, but it may help you narrow down your search.
Still not sure where to turn? As Graf explains, the reality is that “everyone’s treatments are unique based on the severity.” If your symptoms get worse or don’t go away, she always advises seeing a dermatologist for treatment.
Although there’s not currently an eczema cure, treatments can alleviate symptoms and help manage flare-ups, she says.
While our list consists of OTC options, Graf also notes that there are effective prescription treatments out there, which may be especially necessary if you have severe eczema. These could include:
- anti-inflammatory meds (like topical corticosteroid creams and ointments)
- oral meds that act as an immunosuppressant
Most types of eczema can benefit from an ultra-hydrating cream. The best eczema creams include ingredients like petroleum jelly, colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid can help seal in moisture, gently exfoliate patches, and restore the skin’s function.
If your eczema persists or gets worse with OTC products, head to a dermatologist for a complete assessment and treatment.