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Different ointments, creams, and lotions can help people manage the symptoms and appearance of eczema.
Compared with ointments and creams, lotions contain the lowest amount of oil. They evaporate quickly on the skin, contain preservatives, and may be scented, all of which can irritate the skin.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All of the information below is purely research-based.
Products that relieve the itch of eczema typically contain corticosteroids. The classification of a corticosteroid will depend on its potency, which can vary significantly among the different types.
A low potency lotion that people can use to relieve itchiness from eczema is hydrocortisone, which is available as a 0.25%, 0.5%, or 1% lotion. Sometimes these lotions are available over the counter (OTC).
Hydrocortisone lotion is suitable for different types of skin rashes. Doctors may recommend hydrocortisone lotion to adults and children 2 years of age and older. People can use hydrocortisone lotion two to four times daily, depending on the severity of their symptoms. It is important not to apply it to the face unless a doctor recommends doing so.
For children under 2 years old, parents or caregivers should apply the lotion under the advice and supervision of a doctor.
Betamethasone valerate 0.1% lotion is a medium potency lotion that can also help relieve itching. Doctors may choose a higher potency corticosteroid for more severe cases of eczema or rashes that do not respond to lower potency corticosteroids.
Dermatologists also recommend moisturizing the skin regularly to relieve itchiness that results from dry skin and eczema.
People wash their hands frequently, which may exacerbate eczema symptoms. Using eczema lotions that the manufacturers have designed specifically for the hands can help.
Curél Itch Defense Lotion
According to the manufacturer’s website, this lotion immediately relieves dry and itchy skin. As regular use of the lotion will hydrate the skin, it can also help control eczema flare-ups. Parents and caregivers can use this lotion on an infant’s skin from 6 months of age.
The National Eczema Association (NEA) awarded Curél Itch Defense Lotion their Seal of Acceptance, so people with eczema-prone skin can feel confident when using this product. If necessary, people can apply Curél Itch Defense Lotion to the face.
Urban Hydration Dry & Eczema Prone Moisture-Locking Body Lotion
This lotion contains castor oil and shea butter, which can help moisturize dry skin. People with eczema can use this lotion all over the body, not just on the hands. It may, therefore, be beneficial to apply the lotion after a shower.
People should also moisturize their face if they have dry skin and eczema.
Anyone who wishes to apply medicated creams to their face should opt for lower potency corticosteroid products and seek guidance from their doctor because the facial skin is thinner than the skin on other areas of the body.
The best lotions and other products designed for use on the face should not cause pimples or clog pores.
Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion
This lotion is suitable for treating dry skin on the face. It is an oil-free moisturizing lotion that helps hydrate the skin.
Cetaphil’s lotion contains hyaluronic acid, which is a moisturizing agent that also occurs naturally in the skin.
Dermatologists may recommend using this lotion because it is hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic, which means that it does not clog pores or cause acne. It is also good to use after a shower or bath.
Cetaphil Body and Face Moisturizing Lotion
People can use this lotion for both the face and the body, meaning that they only need to use one product for eczema-prone skin in different areas.
According to the manufacturers’ website, this lotion can deliver long lasting hydration for 24 hours. As with Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion, this moisturizing lotion is noncomedogenic and safe to use on the face daily.
Dermatologists also recommend using a thick layer of moisturizer all over the skin after taking a shower. Doing this helps lock in moisture and protect the skin barrier.
Lotions typically evaporate quickly and are not the best moisturizers to use after showering. However, some lotions may still be effective moisturizers.
Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Unscented Lotion
This lotion received the NEA Seal of Acceptance. It is suitable for people with eczema and may help heal and soothe dry skin. According to the manufacturers, the lotion helps moisturize and heal dry skin within 5 days of regular use.
The manufacturers recommend using the lotion daily. Applying the lotion after a shower may help further lock in moisture.
Dermatologists typically do not recommend lotions for severe eczema because of their high water content and increased evaporation.
Still, some medium-to-high potency corticosteroid lotions can help relieve severe eczema.
Amcinonide 0.1% lotion is a high potency corticosteroid indicated for the relief of inflammatory and itchy manifestations of the skin, such as eczema. Doctors usually recommend applying a thin layer of amcinonide lotion to the affected area two or three times a day, depending on the severity.
Betamethasone valerate 0.1% lotion is a medium potency corticosteroid that people with eczema can use to relieve itchiness and inflammation. Doctors recommend applying a few drops of the lotion to the affected area and massaging the skin gently until it has absorbed the lotion.
People can get the best results by using betamethasone valerate lotion twice daily. They may be able to apply the cream more frequently to areas with persistent symptoms but only on a doctor’s advice.
Anyone with severe eczema should speak to a doctor or dermatologist.
Dermatologists often prescribe ointments as a first-line eczema treatment. Ointments seal in moisture and have a higher oil content than creams and lotions. However, some people dislike the feeling of an ointment or are concerned about it staining their clothes.
Another alternative to an ointment is a cream. Compared with ointments, creams have a lower oil content, but they still contain more oil than lotions. They help trap moisture in the skin but are less greasy than ointments.
Although doctors often prescribe corticosteroids for eczema, other medications can help people with eczema that is severe or does not respond to corticosteroids. These drugs include:
- calcineurin inhibitors
Typically, doctors do not recommend lotions over creams or ointments to treat eczema. Lotions evaporate quickly and may irritate the skin. However, some lotions may be effective in treating eczema.
Other lotions can help trap moisture in the skin to hydrate the skin. Before using a lotion for eczema, it is best to speak with a doctor or dermatologist to explore the best options.