If you or someone you know has been a victim of eczema (atopic dermatitis), aka itchy, red and inflamed patches of skin and one of the most annoying and stubborn skin conditions around, then keep reading because we might have some relief for you.
Joshua Zeichner, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, previously spoke to HuffPost about what is really going on when these unwelcome rough spots crop up. “With eczema, the skin barrier is not working as well as it should be, resulting in loss of hydration and disruptions in the outer skin layer,” Zeichner said.
Often brought on by colder weather, stress, genetics or contact with irritants, “eczema is caused by a deficiency in one of the proteins that makes up the top layer of the skin. When there’s a mutation in the proteins that holds the cells of the top layer together, the cells start falling apart, and the skin can’t act as a protective barrier,” Julie Russak, a board certified dermatologist and fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology also previously told HuffPost.
According to pediatric nurse practitioner Sam Casselman, this means that when looking for products to help with your eczema symptoms, formulations that help prevent moisture loss and repair the skin’s barrier may be able to help.
“In general, you want to choose a product that has very few ingredients in it and ideally one that contains ceramides. Those are the proteins which repair the skin barrier and relieve dry skin, so use that moisturizer as often as possible. For more severe dry skin, get a thicker alternative with a petrolatum base,” Casselman said.
You can read more in depth about what Casselman and our other experts had to say about eczema. But below, check out a list of cleansers, creams, detergents and more, put together with the help of these dermatologists, as well as The National Eczema Association.
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A rich cream that contains an essential ingredient for healing eczema
At the top of board-certified dermatologist JiaDe (Jeff) Yu’s
list for treating eczema is this thick Cerave moisturizer filled with three essential ceramides. It’s easily absorbed into the skin and also contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that draws moisture into the skin while helping to stop it from escaping.
Get it from Amazon for $16.08.
A large room humidifier to maintain moisture levels in the air
“Try to maintain a relatively cool, neutral humidity environment in your house. Use a humidifier during winter,” Russak told HuffPost.
The Miro humidifier takes a reassuringly sanitary approach with its easy-to-clean modular design that can be disassembled so you can reach every area that water has touched. The BPA-free, food-grade plastic adds to the safety of this fourth-generation model. It powerfully emits enough atomized mist to fill a 600-square-foot room and features an automatic shutoff feature.
Get it from Amazon for $139.
A skin protectant that, after all these years, is still a dermatologist favorite
“My favorite option is just plain Vaseline petroleum jelly,” Yu said. “It’s highly effective, has a low side effect profile and is very affordable. It’s similarly effective compared to other much more expensive topical moisturizers.”
This classic protective balm works by preventing moisture loss from the skin, giving eczema an opportunity to heal. This economical pack contains two 13-ounce containers.
Get it from Amazon for $9.76 (pack of two).
A hand soap that’s free from ingredients that can cause contact dermatitis
Frequent hand washing, especially with soaps that contain harsh and stripping ingredients, can exacerbate eczema. This hand wash from Pipette uses ultra gentle surfactants derived from coconuts, so your hands won’t feel dry after use. This formulation also contains moisturizing squalane and soothing aloe.
Get it from Pipette for $5.
A sunscreen that won’t make eczema worse
Sunscreen can be notorious for irritating any skin, let alone eczema-prone skin. This Cerave hydrating mineral sunscreen, which has a “seal of acceptance” from the National Eczema Association,
takes the same three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid formulations used in all of the company’s products and places it in a broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen.
Get it from Amazon for $14.62.
A gentle body wash that won’t strip the skin
“Stick to ultra-gentle, soap-free cleansers,” Zeichner said. “I recommend Dove sensitive skin body wash, which contains extremely mild cleansing ingredients in a formula that contains the same type of hydrators found in traditional moisturizers.”
This unscented and sulfate-free body wash is also PH-balanced to prevent any disruption to the skin’s microbiome.
Get it from Target for $6.99.
A facial moisturizer that can help repair the skin’s barrier
Another product approved by the NEA
, Skinfix’s skin barrier care lotion uses a hydrating triple-lipid complex that mimics the natural ceramides and fatty acid levels of the skin. This facial moisturizer also contains a peptide blend and a seaweed hyaluronate to help plump and hydrate the skin while also helping to minimize redness and signs of sensitivity.
Get it from Sephora for $38.
A shampoo and conditioner that can soothe an itchy, flaky scalp
Eczema can extend beyond dry and itchy skin and affect the scalp as well, causing flaking, cracking and irritation. The Exederm daily shampoo and conditioner has the NEA
seal of acceptance and is free from any potential irritants like dyes, sulfates and parabens, and instead focuses on using simple and clinical ingredients to get a clean and healthy hair and scalp.
Get the pair from Amazon for $35.25.
A relaxing way to soothe irritated skin
Also included in the NEA’s
approved products is this soothing, milky bath treatment from Aveeno that can help soothe eczema-related rashes and reduce itching by using moisturizers and skin-protective colloidal oatmeal.
Get it from Amazon for $9.42.
A long-lasting cream that can relieve itch and inflammation
For flareups that cause intense itch, Peter Lio,
a Chicago-based board-certified dermatologist, recommended over-the-counter topical corticosteroids because they tend to be safer than prescription steroid creams, especially after long term use.
This Cerave anti-itch cream uses 1% hydrocortisone, an essential ceramide complex and niacinamide to help ease redness and strengthen the skin’s barrier function.
Get it from Amazon for $8.16.
A laundry detergent that won’t cause an eczema flareup
Russak told HuffPost to “be mindful of everything that comes in contact with your skin, from topical creams to the clothing you wear. I recommend using fragrance-free detergents for sensitive skin, such as Arm & Hammer sensitive skin detergent.”
This hypoallergenic and dye-free liquid detergent excludes potential skin irritants and is compatible with all washing machines and temperatures.
Get it from Target for $8.79.
A nourishing body cleanser filled with skin-loving oils
Oils can be a great way to nourish troubled skin, and when incorporating them into cleansers, oils can lift grime away from the skin in more gentle ways. The Body Hero oil cleanser by Glossier turns frothy when mixed with water and contains a blend of seven oils. One reviewer with severe eczema all over their body gave it a 10 out of 10.
Get it from Glossier for $18.
A hand cream that can address five symptoms of eczema
You’re likely washing your hands more frequently these days, which can often make eczema symptoms worse. Gold Bond’s eczema relief hand cream is NEA
-approved and can help put some of that moisture back into the skin and temporarily protect and relive irritation thanks to the 2% colloidal oatmeal. There’s also vitamin E and seven different moisturizers to address scaly, red and irritated patches.
Get it from Target for $3.99.
A simple ingredient baby wipe that you can use anywhere