Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that can lead to breakdowns in the skin barrier and symptoms such as an itchy rash, blisters and cracking.
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According to the National Eczema Association, more than 31 million Americans deal with eczema, and unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition. But there are treatments, including medications, lifestyle changes and over-the-counter eczema creams that can help manage symptoms.
Here are the best, dermatologist-recommended eczema creams, along with tips on what to look for when you're shopping, including the best ingredients to help ease symptoms.
No matter which eczema cream you choose, apply it to damp skin for the best results.
1. Best Overall: ZeraFite Ultra Rich Body Cream
Leslie Baumann, MD, a dermatologist in Miami, Florida, recommends this cream because it's fragrance-free and was developed using MLE technology, which means it uses a combination of ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol and other lipids to mimic the natural structure of your skin.
It also contains soothing and healing ingredients, such as glycerin, argan oil and grapeseed oil.
Buy it: ParsaMD; Price: $40 for 8 oz
2. Best on a Budget: Vaseline
"At under $5, this classic coats, soothes and protects the skin," says Shoshana Marmon, MD, PhD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor and director of clinical research in the department of dermatology at New York Medical College.
Buy it: CVS.com; Price: $2.99 for 1.75 oz
3. Best for Face: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
"The hyaluronic acid and ceramides in this super cream trap and retain moisture," Dr. Marmon says. "Also, it is oil-free and non-comedogenic, which means it won't leave your skin greasy or cause breakouts."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $16.08 for 19 oz
4. Best for Sensitive Skin: Vanicream
According to Dr. Marmon, this product line is specifically designed for sensitive skin because it's free of fragrance, dyes and formaldehyde.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $12.29 for 16 oz
5. Best for Body: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Relief Eczema Cream
Talk about a triple threat: "This soothing cream contains colloidal oatmeal, shea butter and niacinamide to heal a damaged skin barrier," Dr. Marmon says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $14.99 for 6.76 oz
6. Best for Hands: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
For a more affordable option, Dr. Marmon offers Neutrogena.
"This cream protects dry, chapped hands with glycerin," she explains. "For best results, keep it in your bag and apply immediately after washing and patting your hands dry."
Buy it: Neutrogena.com; Price: $3.63 for 2 oz
7. Best for Babies: Mustela Stelatopia Baby Emollient Face Cream
"This emollient is fragrance-free and relieves babies' itchy, irritated skin with gentle avocado and sunflower oil," Dr. Marmon says.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $20.14 for 1.35 oz
8. Best for People of Color: CeraVe Eczema Relief Creamy Oil
This soothing cream is a popular option for eczema for all skin types, Dr. Marmon says, because it's full of powerhouse ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and colloidal oatmeal that easily and quickly absorb into the skin.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $18.99 for 8 oz
9. Best for Itch: Sarna
Dr. Baumann recommends Sarna as an over-the-counter cream to ease itchiness from eczema. It contains camphor and menthol, which are both soothing ingredients to combat itch.
10. Best All-Natural: PAORR 100% Organic Moroccan Argan Oil
This is Dr. Baumann's pick for all-natural eczema cream thanks to its organic ingredient of 100 percent argan oil, which is anti-inflammatory and contains linoleic acid to help keep the skin barrier intact.
Buy it: SkinTypeSolutions.com; Price: $27.50 for 2 oz
Kopari 100% Organic Coconut Melt
Dr. Marmon also recommends Kopari Coconut melt, a tropical-inspired cream, because it melts into the skin and "leaves it smelling great."
Buy it: KopariBeauty.com; Price: $28 for 5.1 oz
11. Best for Travel: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
"This travel-sized cream has allantoin and ceramides to replenish lost moisture and is the perfect size to throw in your carry-on," Dr. Marmon says.
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $15.73 for 2 oz
Burt's Bees Hydrating Overnight Mask
Dr. Baumann also recommends trying the Burt's Bees Hydrating Overnight Mask if you need a quick boost of hydration in a travel size. It's 99% natural and includes fatty acids from avocado, as well as prebiotics to support the skin's microbiome.
Buy it: BurtsBees.com; Price: $14.99 for 2.5 oz
12. Best Luxury Buy: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
This eczema cream gets its name from its patented lipid ratio of 2% pure ceramides 1 and 3, 4% natural cholesterol and 2% fatty acids, Dr. Baumann says.
Although it's marketed primarily as an anti-aging cream, the lipid ratio helps work to restore and protect the skin's barrier.
13. Best Multitasking Cream: Vanicream Moisturizing Ointment
According to Dr. Marmon, this ointment soothes irritated and cracked skin anywhere on the body, so it can be used for eczema symptoms as well as other general skin issues.
"It's great for chapped lips and hands. Plus, it's fragrance- and preservative-free and comes in an easily portable travel size," she says. "I also love to use it on my kids when they come home with cuts and scrapes."
Buy it: Amazon.com; Price: $10 for 2.5 oz
What to Look for in an Eczema Cream
The best eczema cream may vary from person to person, depending on what you're looking for. For instance, your eczema symptoms may be on your face or your hands, or you may have extra-sensitive skin, so you'll want to tailor the products you choose.
With that said, here are some of the important factors to look for in an eczema cream, according to dermatologists.
1. Barrier Repair Ingredients
The main thing to look for in an OTC eczema cream is that it's made with ingredients that help moisturize, soothe and repair the damaged skin barrier, Dr. Baumann says.
Dr. Marmon recommends looking for the following:
- Colloidal oatmeal
- Hyaluronic acid
2. No Harsh Ingredients
In addition to choosing the right ingredients to help the skin, you'll want to avoid others that can cause dryness or irritation and potentially make eczema worse. According to Dr. Marmon and Jennifer Bursley, PNP-PC, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Helen DeVos Pediatric Dermatology, these include:
3. The NEA Seal of Acceptance
The National Eczema Association's Seal of Acceptance appears on products that the organization deems suitable for the care of eczema or sensitive skin. If a product carries the blue-and-white seal, then its ingredients are in line with what doctors recommend for eczema.
It's worth noting, though, that brands have to apply in order to receive this seal, and that process is completely voluntary. So if a product doesn't have the seal, that doesn't necessarily mean it's not a good choice for treating eczema.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.