Dermatologists Say These Are the Absolute Best Lotions for Eczema

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Eczema, a skin condition that can cause itchy, red, dry, rough patches, is super common. According to the National Eczema Association, it affects ~10% of people in the U.S. It can be tricky to treat and does often require the assistance of a dermatologist, but “the good news is there are many over-the-counter products that can provide relief," says dermatologist Dendy Engleman, MD. "There are so many causes and triggers of eczema, which can occur from your scalp to your toes," adds dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD. "But the one common denominator of treatment is moisturizing. In other words, using a moisturizer can go a long way toward helping you soothe your skin—so long as it’s appropriate for eczema-prone skin

Here, a round-up of the best eczema lotions, based on the advice of top dermatologists.

Our Top Picks
It's clinically proven to relieve irritated skin and help reduce the signs of eczema while improving the skin’s microbiome.
This drugstore pick contains a blend of 15 moisturizers and skin-essential vitamins to bring relief to dry, itchy, irritated skin.
Runner-Up, Best Drugstore:
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream at Amazon
Packed with ceramides, humectants, and emollients, this drugstore pick locks moisture into the skin for hours on end.
Best for Face and Body:
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream at Amazon
Since it won’t clog pores, the non-irritating formula can be used to target eczema patches that pop up on both the face and body.
Packed with colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and lipids, this affordable pick is clinically proven to relieve eczema symptoms.
This thick, protective ointment is free of preservatives and fragrance, ideal for those with both eczema and sensitive skin.
This formula is pretty lightweight compared to other lotions on the market, and it's rich in anti-inflammatory almond oil.
Not only does this lotion counteract itchiness, but it also addresses the skin's ceramide levels, pH levels, and moisture levels.
This supremely hydrating cream is packed with skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal and helps quell itch.
Best With Hydrocortisone:
Sarna Eczema Relief Whipped Foam at Amazon
This OTC steroid contains 1% hydrocortisone to help quell redness, inflammation, and itch.

Best Overall: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Relief Eczema Cream

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Eczema Soothing Relief Cream
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Can be used on face or body

What We Don't Like
  • Has a very thick texture

Accepted by the National Eczema Association, this is clinically proven to relieve itchy, irritated skin and help visibly reduce the signs of eczema, according to the brand. At work, are a host of soothing ingredients, including the brand’s eponymous Prebiotic Thermal Water, which is so effective that there’s even a La Roche-Posay Thermal Center in France where eczema patients from all over the world come to experience its healing properties.

The prebiotic thermal water coupled with a new patented bacteria are meant to help the skin’s microbiome; maintaining this balance of bacteria that live on the surface of the skin is meant to not only help treat existing eczema symptoms but ward off future flare-ups, too. It also contains hydrating shea butter and anti-inflammatory niacinamide and is safe to use on children over three years of age. The thick (though not greasy) texture makes it a choice for treating areas such as elbows, hands, and knees. 

Active Ingredients: Prebiotic thermal water, shea butter, niacinamide | Size: 6.76 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  No

Best Drugstore: Cetaphil PRO Eczema Soothing Moisturizer

Cetaphil PRO Eczema Soothing Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Fragrance-free

  • National Eczema Association approved

What We Don't Like
  • Not clean or cruelty-free

"Cetaphil has great products under their Restoraderm lines, which received the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association," says Engelman. "This particular one contains a blend of 15 moisturizers and skin-essential vitamins to provide soothing relief for dry, itchy, irritated skin,” she says. Dr. Nava Greenfield, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group, is also a fan. “I use this because it has colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and filaggrin which not only hydrate but also provide nourishment to skin that lacks the ability to completely hydrate itself,” she explains.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, ceramides | Size: 10 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  No

Runner-Up, Best Drugstore: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
What We Like
  • National Eczema Association approved

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Can be used on face or body

What We Don't Like
  • Not clean or cruelty-free

Recommended by Dermatologist Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD, this is one of those all-in-one moisturizers that nips dryness in the bud. Packed with ceramides, humectants such as hyaluronic acid, and emollients, it locks in your skin's moisture for hours on end, according to the brand. Dr. Marina Peredo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, sings its praises as well, lauding it for thoroughly and effectively relieving dry, flaky skin—without leaving behind a greasy or sticky after-feel.

Active Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid | Size: 19 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  No

Best for Face and Body: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin

Moisturizing Skin Cream with Pump
What We Like
  • Easy-to-use pump dispenser

  • National Eczema Association approved

What We Don't Like
  • Not clean or cruelty-free

Bae, MD, is also a fan of this multi-tasking formula. The gentle yet hardworking cream is often recommended by dermatologists for patients dealing with all kinds of skin irritations, eczema included because it’s paraben-, dye-, and fragrance-free. And we appreciate that it works just as well on eczema patches that pop up on the face as it does for patches on the body since it won’t clog pores. 

Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Size: 16 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  No

Best Budget: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin, Soothing Lotion with Colloidal Oatmeal for Dry, Itchy, and Irritated Skin, Steroid-Free and Fragrance-Free, 5 oz

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream
What We Like
  • Fragrance-free

  • National Eczema Association approved

What We Don't Like
  • Not cruelty-free

This wallet-friendly classic is clinically proven to relieve dry, itchy, and irritated skin associated with eczema, according to the brand. Credit a formula packed with colloidal oatmeal (a soothing ingredient that the FDA deems an effective skin protectant) plus skin-strengthening ceramides and lipids. It’s no surprise that it’s also earned the stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, ceramides | Size: 7.3 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free:  No

Best Ointment: Aquaphor Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Moisturizer

Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment Skin Protectant 14 Ounce Jar
What We Like
  • Effective multi-tasker

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Isn’t hydrating in and of itself

A thicker, petroleum-based ointment is great for helping to create a protective barrier on eczematic, compromised skin. Both Peredo and Greenfield recommend this particular option. “It’s preservative- and fragrance-free, ideal for those who have sensitive skin and eczema,” says Peredo, while Greenfield adds that it’s much easier to apply than many other petroleum ointments.

Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Size: 1.75 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Lightweight: Nivea Essentially Enriched Hand and Body Lotion

Nivea Essentially Enriched Hand and Body Lotion
What We Like
  • Lightweight and fast-absorbing

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance, which can be irritating

“I recommend this lotion for people with eczema because I like that it contains almond oil, which is rich in anti-inflammatory properties,” says Greenfield. It’s also much more lightweight than many formulas on this list, a good choice for those who don’t want super thick or rich formulas; Greenfield notes that it feels great applied even on large areas of skin.

Active Ingredients: Mineral oil, glycerin, sweet almond oil | Size: 16.9 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  No

Best for Itchy Skin: Curel Itch Defense Calming Body Lotion

Curel Itch Defense Calming Body Lotion
What We Like
  • Affordable

  • National Eczema Association approved

What We Don't Like
  • Not clean or cruelty-free

Itching can be one of the most irksome symptoms of eczema; happily, this lotion can help counteract that. The fragrance-free, National Eczema Association-approved formula promises to instantly help calm and soothe itchy skin but also helps ward off future flare-ups by addressing ceramide levels, pH levels, and moisture levels.

Active Ingredients: Glycerin, petrolatum, dimethicone | Size: 20 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  No

Best for Very Dry Skin: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration

ultra-repair-cream
What We Like
  • Great for sensitive skin

  • Can be used on face or body

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier side

"First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is a double hitter because it's a head-to-toe moisturizer that provides instant relief and long-term hydration for dry, distressed skin, even when eczema is involved," explains Fusco of one of her go-tos. You get the benefits of colloidal oatmeal, a time-honored calmer of eczema, without having to sit in an oatmeal bath, she adds. And along with being super hydrating, it also helps quell itch.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, allantoin | Size: 6 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free:  Yes

Best With Hydrocortisone: Sarna Eczema Relief Whipped Foam

Sarna Eczema Relief Whipped Foam
What We Like
  • Works quickly

  • Absorbs fast and isn’t greasy

What We Don't Like
  • Shouldn’t be used daily, continuously

The truth of the matter is, when a really bad eczema flare strikes, a plain old lotion isn’t going to do much. You need a little more of a heavy-hitting active ingredient, such as hydrocortisone. The OTC steroid is often recommended by dermatologists to help quell redness, inflammation, and itch—all symptoms of an eczema flare. Here, it comes in a maximum-strength 1% concentration, though in a lightweight and fast-absorbing foam that’s much more enjoyable to use than other, goopy hydrocortisone creams.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocortisone | Size: 1.7 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free:  Unknown

Final Verdict

Eczema is super common and can be tough to treat, but one of the best things to keep on hand is a good eczema lotion. The La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Relief Eczema Cream (view at Amazon) is our overall favorite, a gentle yet effective pick that boasts the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval. There are also many good options to nab at the drugstore, including the Cetaphil Restoraderm Eczema Soothing Moisturizer (view at CVS) and CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (view at Amazon), both affordable, derm-favorites. Colloidal oatmeal is a great soothing ingredient for those with eczema to seek out; find it in the  First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration (which can be used on the face and body) and the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream (view at Walmart).

What to Look for in a Lotion for Eczema

Texture

According to Peredo, the thicker the consistency, the better. “The thicker the base of the product, the more healing it will be and more effective for both preventing flare-ups and treating eczema,” she says.

Hypoallergenic

Greenfield says this is a good criterion to seek out, an indication that it’s a good formula for sensitive, easily-irritated, eczematous skin.

Ceramides

Both Peredo and Greenfield say ceramides are one of the best ingredients to look for, as they help reinforce the skin barrier, locking moisture in and keeping irritants that can make eczema worse out.

FAQ
  • How does lotion help to treat eczema?

    “They help the skin form a healthy skin barrier, which is an essential function of normal skin. Eczematous skin does not have the same skin barrier ability, which is what leads to the itching, rashes, dryness, and redness,” explains Greenfield. 

  • How often should you apply lotion for eczema?

    Peredo advises doing so at least twice a daily, ideally after showering or bathing, when the skin is moist, and the lotion can help lock in that extra moisture.

  • Does lotion for eczema expire?

    “Yes,” says Greenfield. All lotions and creams have a shelf life, so check the expiration before purchasing or using, she says.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Having dealt with eczema since she was a toddler, she has extensive experience with all of the many over-the-counter eczema products on the market. (Her personal favorite on this list is the First Aid Beauty cream).

Meet the Expert

  • Dendy Engleman, MD, is a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Shaefer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York City and the Director of Dermatologist Surgery at Metropolitan Hospital.
  • Francesca Fusco, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City and an associate member of the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Yoon-Soo Cindy Bae, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. She’s authored over 40 academic articles, as well as several book chapters on a variety of topics.
  • Marina Peredo, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.
  • Nava Greenfield, MD, is a dermatologist practicing at Schweiger Dermatology Group. She’s a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the Women’s Dermatologic Society.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any eczema lotions from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. National Eczema Association. Eczema stats.

  2. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients?J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. CFR—code of federal regulations title 21. Updated April 1, 2020.

  4. Chalmers JR, Axon E, Harvey J, et al. Different strategies for using topical corticosteroids in people with eczemaCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;2019(6):CD013356. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD013356

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