The Best Eczema Cream for Your Type of Eczema
Wondering what is the best eczema cream for your type? We’ve got you covered with our expert-approved eczema creams for all types.
Eczema type: mild
If you have mild eczema, such as one or two small, mild patches of inflammation on your body, moisturizer (when paired with certain lifestyle changes) is the best eczema cream for you. Hydrating ingredients include lipids, ceramides, and, really, anything rich, says Michele S. Green, MD, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She is a fan of Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Eucerin Eczema Relief. The key is to use enough of it and apply it to damp skin, which helps to lock moisture in. Avoid triggers when possible, take lukewarm, short showers or baths instead of super-hot ones, skip harsh soaps, wash clothes with laundry detergent that has no perfumes or dye and use a humidifier in the house to reduce the risk of kick-starting the itch-scratch cycle. There are home remedies that can also put the brakes on eczema symptoms.
Eczema type: moderate to severe
More extensive than mild eczema, moderate to severe eczema can be itchy, dry, and easily irritated. If you have moderate to severe eczema, you skin’s barrier is in need of repair STAT with an eczema cream. The skin barrier is inherently damaged in moderate to severe eczema, but barrier repair can lock moisture in and keep irritants and infectious agents out. Jeffrey Fromowitz MD, FAAD, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, Florida, recommends Avene’s TriXéra+ Selectiose Emollient Cream for moderate eczema, and steps it up to prescription strength Epiceram Controlled Release Skin Barrier Emulsion for severe eczema. Epiceram mimics the natural proportions of three essential fats found in healthy skin, but devoid in eczema-prone skin. The National Eczema Association (NEA) gave its seal of approval to these moisturizers. Make sure you are not damaging your barrier function without realizing it.
Eczema type: eyelid eczema or eyelid dermatitis
The eyelids are a really delicate area and commonly affected by eczema, says Dr. Green. “I use a gentle moisturizer such as Cetaphil and/or a mild steroid ointment to reign in inflammation.” User beware: Steroids can cause thinning skin, which is especially concerning in the eyelid area where skin is already pretty thin. “Make sure you are in contact with your dermatologist when treating eyelid eczema.” Always using an eye cream is one of the skin-care tips that dermatologists follow themselves.
Eczema type: hand eczema
About 10 percent of people have hand eczema, according to the NEA. Symptoms can include redness, itching, dryness, cracks, and blisters. “I love to wash with Eucerin Calming Skin Wash or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, and then use a lighter moisturizer during the day such as Theraplex Hydrolotion so you can still shake hands, work with paper, and use a computer with getting grease everywhere,” says Peter A. Lio, MD, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “Then use something heavier and more protective at night such as CeraVe Healing Ointment, Vaniply, Aquaphor, or Theraplex Eczema Therapy.” Cold weather can be especially cruel to eczema-prone hands, but these tips for healthy winter hands can help undo some of the damage.
Eczema type: nummular eczema
Nummular eczema is characterized by stubborn coin-shaped (nummular) sores. “It tends to exist in and of itself, but we use similar treatments as we would for other types of eczema,” says Dr. Fromowitz. If moisturization isn’t cutting it, OTC and prescription strength steroid creams can help as can non-steroid topicals, such as tacrolimus (Protopic) or pimecrolimus (Elidel), which block an immune system chemical called calcineurin that plays a role in inflammation. Another topical, crisaborole (Eucrisa), blocks PDE4 enzymes within the skin that have been linked to inflammation. This super simple trick may also bring welcome relief for eczema.
Eczema type: dyshidrotic eczema
This type of eczema presents a little differently than the others. Symptoms include itchy water blisters on your hands and feet that can also burn and cause prickling feelings on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Rich moisturizers and eczema creams will help; so can soaking hands and feet in cool water or applying compresses to the affected area two to four times a day to dry out the blisters. Sometimes steroids or topical anesthesia are needed, the NEA points out. Check out these five things dermatologists never use on their hands that can make this type of eczema worse.
Eczema type: infectious eczema
Any type of eczema can become infected largely because the skin barrier is damaged, and irritants sneak in and cause skin infections, says Dr. Fromowitz. “Alevicyn spray and gel can easily be applied to the skin and has anti-itch and antibacterial properties,” he says. Bleach baths may also help prevent infections. Here’s how to ID signs of a developing infection so you can treat it early.
Eczema type: severe
A growing body of evidence links eczema to a host of other diseases including asthma, hay fever, food allergy, obesity, and heart disease, which suggests that body-wide inflammation may be at play. Given as an injection once every other week, Dupixent is a new eczema treatment that blocks two proteins thought to contribute to eczema and inflammation, Interleukin-4 and Interleukin-13. Dr. Lio uses it for individuals with moderate or severe eczema when the topical therapies are not helping enough. “It is a powerful medication that seems to give nearly 3/4 of my patient’s great relief, and almost everyone at least some improvement,” he says.
Emma Guttman-Yassky, MD, PhD, vice-chair of research, Department of Dermatology and Professor of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, agrees. “You don’t have to be covered in eczema to benefit from Dupixent,” she says. “I will use it for patients with eczema patches on more than 10 percent of their bodies that you can’t chase away with a topical.” Dupixent can cost up to $37,000 a year, but asking your pharmacist these questions can save you money on all of your drugs.
Eczema type: newborn eczema
Babies who are at high risk of developing eczema may benefit from low-cost Vaseline. Research shows that rubbing petroleum jelly on a baby every day for the first six months of life can greatly reduce the infant’s chances of ever developing eczema, and Vaseline, which is much cheaper than many moisturizers, works just as well as the rest.