Editor's Picks 2022 - Eczema

Editor's Picks: Over-the-Counter Creams for Eczema Itch Relief

Follow these expert tips for ingredients to look for to soothe skin.

While it’s not uncommon to experience dry, itchy skin for some, it could mean eczema, a group of chronic skin conditions. "Causes are usually hereditary, but they can be influenced by a variety of environmental factors, including dry weather and exposure to allergic triggers, both of which can flare eczema," says Jennifer M. Segal, MD, dermatologist at the Metropolitan Dermatology Institute. 

"There are several types of eczema, such as atopic dermatitis—the most common type of eczema—irritant or allergic contact dermatitis (classic case of allergic contact dermatitis being poison ivy), nummular eczema (coin-shaped rough, scaly itchy lesions), asteatotic eczema (mild cases being simply dry skin or xerosis), and seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff is an example of this on the scalp, or greasy yellow flakes on the eyebrows, ears, and sides of nose that flare with seasonal changes)," says Tiffany Libby, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon.

Eczema tends to have a rash-like appearance and can appear differently depending on skin tone. "In lighter skin tones, it usually appears more red or pink in color, and on darker skin tones, rashes can appear darker, violaceous, brown, or gray in color," Mamina Turegano, MD, FAAD, dermatologist for Skintap.com. "It most commonly is located on the inside of the elbows and back of the knees, but it can occur anywhere on the body," she says. 

Additionally, eczema can come and go over time, and common triggers can cause a flare-up. "Many different things can cause flares, and triggers are different for different people," says Brittany Craiglow, MD, associate adjunct professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. "Common causes include heavily fragranced skin products or detergents, changes in weather, fabrics like wool and polyester, and emotional stress," she says.  

 While eczema is a chronic condition, it can be managed and treated. Typically treatments can range from topical corticosteroid creams, non-steroid topicals, and injectable and oral medicines. Additionally, there are over-the-counter products that can help provide relief. "One of the primary causes of eczema is impaired barrier function, one of the mainstays of treatment is using moisturizer," says Dr. Craiglow.   

Moisturizers are classified as ointments, creams, lotions, or skin barrier repair creams based on the amount of oil and water they contain. "The more oil in a moisturizer, the better it usually is at treating eczema, and top ingredients to look for when treating eczema include colloidal oatmeal, ceramide-3, and licochalcone A," says Heather Hughes, pharmacist and Walgreens group vice president of beauty, personal care and seasonal. "Look for a cream with at least 1% colloidal oatmeal, as this percentage is known to be effective in reducing symptoms of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis," she says.

Here are our editor's picks for over-the-counter eczema creams that help manage and soothe itchy skin.

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema

Aveeno

Made with colloidal oatmeal and ceramides—lipids found in skin cells or made synthetically for use in lotions to maintain skin moisture and improve its barrier function—this non-greasy formula has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance. Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm can help to soothe sore elbows and irritated creases, and it can also be used all over as a typical moisturizer. Although initially it feels a little thick, it melts right in from the warmth of your skin.

Evereden Healing Eczema Treatment

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema

Ever Eden


This soothing lotion is designed to be safe enough for babies and kids. Evereden Healing Eczema Treatment is made with moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, jojoba seed oil, and squalene alongside skin-strengthening ceramides and soothing colloidal oatmeal. It is perfectly sized to toss in your bag and go.

Alchimie Forever of Switzerland Kantic Calming Cream

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema - Alchimie Forever Kantic Calming Cream

Alchimie

It is hard not to love the silky feel of Alchimie Forever of Switzerland Kantic Calming Cream, rich in antioxidants from blueberry and grape seeds (quercetin, resveratrol) and moisturizers jojoba seed oil and vitamin E. Although it is created for all skin types, it works well on sensitive skin. It is made without parabens, gluten, sulfates, dyes, formaldehyde, GMOs, soy, nuts, and animal by-products.

Vaseline Healing Jelly

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema - Vaseline Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline

A tried-and-true product is Vaseline Healing Jelly. The brand has been around since 1870, and its petroleum jelly is triple-purified and has occlusive properties to help protect your skin and lock in moisture. Occlusives create a protective layer on the skin and can stave off moisture loss. "Vaseline has fantastic emollients for dry climates and more severe eczema," says Dr. Segal.

Cetaphil Eczema Restoraderm Itch Relief Gel

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema - Cetaphil Eczema Restoraderm Itch Relief Gel

Cetaphil

Another product that boasts the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance is Cetaphil’s Eczema Restoraderm Itch Relief Gel. Its cool tip applicator makes gliding on the product a breeze for spot applications. It is one of the products that Hughes recommends that you incorporate into your regimen for fewer eczema symptom flare-ups over time. In addition to colloidal oatmeal, it also contains vitamin E and ceramide. 

Dermadoctor Calm Cool + Corrected 1% Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema + Dermatitis Clinical Repair Balm

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema - Dermadoctor

Dermadoctor

Temporarily relieve minor skin irritations and itching from eczema with Dermadoctor Calm Cool + Corrected 1% Colloidal Oatmeal Eczema + Dermatitis Clinical Repair Balm. Its featured ingredients—colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and borage seed oils—work together to protect and calm itchy, irritated skin. 

The Inkey List SuperSolutions Dry and Rough Skin Solution

Editor's Pick 2022 Eczema - The Inkey List SuperSolutions

The Inkey List SuperSolutions

Boasting 10% urea, which can improve skin barrier function and the appearance of scaly, dry skin as it moisturizes, this fragrance-free formula also contains 1% colloidal oatmeal. Enjoy the additional benefits of The Inkey List SuperSolutions Dry and Rough Skin Solution, from hydrating squalane and safflower seed oil.

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Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545171/

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8611129/

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