I’ve had eczema since I was a kid, which means my skin has never not been dry, scaly, and red, even in the summertime. I’m always itchy, too; right now, I can pinpoint about three different places on my body that I’d love to scratch.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for eczema. And although steroids do help, when you’ve used them for as long as I have — I’m going on three decades now — they can wreak havoc on your skin, adding extra wrinkles and discoloration and thinning out the top layers. (My hands look more tattered and aged than the rest of my body, and I’m pretty sure it’s because, over time, I’ve applied the strongest steroids there.)
Thankfully, however, I’ve found creams that, with diligent use, help prevent my eczema from getting to the point where I actually need steroids. They keep my skin smooth, moisturized, and free of that pesky itch. Below are the best eczema creams I’ve ever used.
The Miracle Worker
It’s been said that eczema is the “itch that rashes” — first you itch, then you scratch, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a red, weepy rash. This CeraVe lotion is the only product that has ever stopped my itching cold. I just slather a generous layer on the itchy spot and truly, within seconds, I no longer want to claw at my flesh. It is hands down the best product I could recommend to you for eczema. Buy this ASAP.
The Best of Both Worlds
Dove’s DermaSeries line is relatively new, but the lotion is an instant classic — it’s seriously incredible. I lather it all over my body at night after I shower, and I never feel gross and sticky when I put my pajamas on afterward. It’s light enough that it absorbs into my skin quickly, but heavy enough that it restores my moisture barrier better than any over-the-counter product I’ve ever used. With regular application, my skin remains smooth and supple.
The Really Thick and Goopy One
Dove’s lotion is amazing, but if you like a thicker, heavier moisturizer, try this Eucerin product. It’s sticky, so you’ll definitely feel it on your skin when you finish applying it, but you will also get really great results. I especially like lathering it on my legs at night and waking up feeling like a Nair ad.
The Very Popular One
Full disclosure: This lotion is not for me. I think the consistency is too watery, and even when it absorbed into my skin, I never felt like it was actually doing anything. But tons of people love it, including a friend who swears if she goes more than three days without using it, all her eczema symptoms come back. It’s also worth noting that it has an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
The Fancy One
Lately, I’ve fallen in love with hyaluronic acid, the superpower acid for dry skin that holds something like 1,000 times its weight in water. This COSRX product is a little thick for a face moisturizer, but trust me, your dry skin will slurp it right up. (The Strategist’s resident beauty writer, who has eczema just like me, also loves this product.) It makes my face so moist and dewy that when I was at a party a couple of weeks ago, someone asked me if I’d just come fresh from a facial. As someone with perpetually dry, dull skin, this observation blew my mind.
If you’re more into drugstore products, I also love this hyaluronic acid face product from Neutrogena.
The Vaseline-Adjacent One
I use this on my lips and on areas of my skin that are extra dry and irritated and are probably one night of scratching away from requiring topical steroids. And it really does help. Even though it has the same petroleum-jellylike consistency as Vaseline, it’s not as greasy and it won’t just sit on top of your eczema; it will actually absorb into your skin, soothing the redness and slowing down the itchy feeling.