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If you’re dealing with eczema, know that you’re not alone. According to the National Eczema Association, one in 10 people will develop eczema at some point in their life. “Classic eczema is characterized by itchy, dry, inflamed, red or pink skin,” explains Dr. Marie Hayag, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York.
The good news? The treatments and solutions are well-known, and there are plenty of OTC options that can help. “An important factor in treating eczema is keeping the skin well-moisturized to help alleviate symptoms. Look for moisturizers that contain humectants, occlusives, and emollients,” advises Hayag. On the flip side, avoid formulas with fragrance, as this is a major potential irritant, as well as any creams that contain alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids, which can dry out the skin further, she explains.
The bottom line: A good eczema cream can go a long way towards making your skin feel better, especially if your eczema is on the milder side, says Hayag. Use it daily, but if you don’t start to see some improvement after a few days, consider paying a visit to your derm, as you may need to get a prescription-strength cream involved, as well.
Ahead, the best eczema creams you can get over the counter.
Best Overall: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm
Hayag says this is a true winner for helping eczematic skin, due in large part to the addition of colloidal oatmeal to help soothe itch and irritation. Plus, it also contains a ceramide that helps lock in hydration and ensures a strong and healthy skin barrier—a major boon for anyone with eczema. It’s so good that it even boasts the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: CeraVe Eczema Relief Creamy Oil
The majority of this brand’s products are hydrating and gentle and generally great picks for anyone with eczema. But this particular SKU really takes the cake. Yes, it contains oil (safflower oil, to be specific), but it’s more of a lightweight ointment than traditional liquid oil, filled with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and soothing colloidal oatmeal. Happy reviewers love both how quickly it absorbs and how well it works, and it’s worth noting that this, too, is approved by the National Eczema Association.
Best Budget: Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream
Effective and affordable, what more could you ask for? This option boasts the important things you need in an eczema cream—colloidal oatmeal, ceramides—and none of the things you don’t, namely fragrance and steroids. It helps alleviate itching, too, and hydrates skin for up to 24 hours.
Best Drugstore: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Relief Eczema Cream
The beloved French pharmacy brand really gets it when it comes to eczema, and this multi-tasking cream is proof positive. The rich yet non-greasy moisturizer relies on several skin-soothing hydrators like colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and niacinamide, as well as the brand’s own thermal spring water, which is rich in anti-inflammatory minerals. Also nice: It's equally effective for flare-ups on the face, body, and hands, and is safe for both kids and adults.
Best for Face and Body: Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Believe it or not, eczema flare-ups can happen on your face and body. If you're prone to both, reach for this option, another one of Hayag’s picks. “This is a good option for people with eczema because it’s suitable to use on both the face and body and is fragrance-free,” she says. She also adds that the petrolatum in the formula is very effective for helping maintain proper skin hydration, a key piece of the eczema-treating puzzle.
Best for Hands: Skinfix Eczema+ Hand Repair Cream
Yes, eczema on your body is annoying. But dealing with eczema on your hands can be a real pain in the you-know-what, given that one, you’re always washing them, and two, they’re constantly exposed to the elements. That’s why we love that this pulls double-duty, both as a delightfully hydrating hand cream (credit sweet almond oil), but also helps soothe eczema and any other rashes or irritation, thanks to the addition of colloidal oats.
Best for Flare-Ups: Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength
Hayag suggests trying this OTC hydrocortisone cream if your eczema really starts to get uncomfortable. “Consider this if your eczema is very irritating. It can be applied up three times daily for up to a week on the affected area,” she says. (Though FYI, if it’s not getting any better after that, it’s probably time to pay your derm a visit.)
Best Hydrating: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration
Eczema and dry skin go hand-in-hand; if you have eczema, your skin is dry, and if you have dry skin, you can be more prone to get eczema. Enter this rich and nourishing cream, which has achieved a large following for a reason. It drastically increases skin hydration yet still absorbs lightning fast.
Best Natural: Beurre Extra Shea Butter Eczema Cream
This 100% naturally derived cream includes shea butter and calendula oil and provides some much-needed relief from eczema flare-ups. Plus, the formula is fragrance-free, so you can trust it won’t cause any further irritation or itching—even for those with extra sensitive skin. It can also be used to treat other skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and rashes.
Best Multi-Purpose: Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream
Great for eczema, this option is also great for your skin health in general. “This cream contains a copper-zinc sulfate complex, which promotes a healthy environment for the skin and prevents bacterial growth. Plus, it contains glycerin which is a great humectant,” says Hayag, who is a fan.
Best for the Whole Family: Baby Dove Eczema Care Cream
According to the National Eczema Association, approximately 7% of U.S. adults develop eczema before the age of 2. The point being, it’s an extremely common condition, for babies and kids and adults alike. If that’s the case in your house, keep this skin-saver at the ready. Ultra-gentle, it’s safe even on newborns (and in our experience, works like a charm at clearing up eczema patches on babies), yet still effective enough for the whole family to use. Free of fragrance, parabens, dyes, and many other irritants, it relies on colloidal oatmeal to deliver plenty of skin-calming benefits.
Best for Face: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
While eczema can (and does) happen on both the face and body, you want to make sure the products you’re using are appropriate for the area you’re treating. Clogged pores are obviously more of a concern on the face, making it essential to pick lightweight creams like this one. It’s oil-free and non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to stress about potential breakouts, yet still has plenty of hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-strengthening ceramides to help you deal with eczema.
Best for Itching: Bodewell Anti-Itch Cream
Persistent itching can be one of the most bothersome symptoms of eczema. Enter this body moisturizer: a steroid-, fragrance-, and dye-free option that’s packed with soothing ingredients and specially formulated to stop itching in its tracks, be it caused by eczema or psoriasis (or just generally dry skin, for that matter).
Eczema is a super common—and super uncomfortable—condition. While you may need to see a dermatologist if you’re dealing with more than a mild case, OTC eczema creams can be helpful. When in doubt, reach for Aveeno's Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm (view at Amazon), an affordable, effective cream that’s approved by the National Eczema Association. Since eczema affects both babies, kids, and adults, there are many options that are safe for all ages, including two of our go-to's, the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Eczema Soothing Relief Cream (view at Dermstore) and Baby Dove Eczema Care Cream (view at iHerb). And if you’re dealing with eczema on your face, try the lighter CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion (view at Ulta). Lastly, if you're fighting flare-ups on your hands, we can’t get enough of the Skinfix Eczema+ Hand Repair Cream (view at Sephora).
What to Look for in an Eczema Cream
According to Hayag, fragrance is one of the most common irritants in many skincare products. Fragrance can be composed of hundreds of synthetic chemicals, and the full composition isn't usually revealed. Therefore it's impossible for someone to know whether or not a potential allergen is present. It's definitely worth avoiding if you have sensitive skin in general, but even more so if you’re dealing with eczema.
These ingredients pull double-duty, helping to both smooth and soften the skin while also bolstering the skin barrier so that moisture can’t escape and irritants can’t get in—super important when it comes to eczema.
Many of the products on this list tout this ingredient, a well-known skin-calming and soothing ingredient that can help alleviate much of the discomfort that can come with eczema.
Should you cover your eczema cream?
You can cover your eczema cream with a wet bandage. This treatment is known as wet wrap therapy. According to the National Eczema Association, wet wrap therapy is effective at rehydrating the skin and helping topical treatments work better. After applying your cream, dampen a piece of gauze or fabric and wrap it around the area. Then wrap a dry bandage around the wet one. It also helps to wear clothing over the bandage, if possible, to keep it from being disturbed. You can leave them on for a few hours or overnight but make sure they remain damp throughout.
What are the signs that your eczema cream is working?
Redness, itchiness, and flaking should reduce if your eczema cream is working. If these symptoms become more intense, you should try another cream and/or meet with your dermatologist to discuss other treatment options.
Meet the Expert
Marie Hayag is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics in New York City. She specializes in both cosmetic and medical dermatology and is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital.
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 creams on the market.
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 creams from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will evaluate the product ASAP.