Dermatologists Pick the Best Over the Counter Lotions for Eczema

The ultimate chill pill for irritated skin.

Maddy Zollo Rusbosin and Daley Quinn |

Eczema is usually at its worst in autumn and winter (but you can totally get flare-ups in summer, too!), and often takes some time to relieve, but advanced formulations can now be found over the counter to help treat and prevent flare-ups from forming.

“The word eczema actually is an umbrella term that refers to a group of skin conditions characterized by inflammation of the skin with redness and itching,” says Dr Bradley Bloom, a dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. “While it is sometimes used synonymously with atopic eczema (a condition that starts in infancy and is associated with other atopic conditions like asthma and food allergies), the term eczema also includes conditions like contact dermatitis (eczema from things our skin comes in contact with, either allergic or irritant) and Dyshidrotic eczema (characterized by small clear blisters on the palms and soles of the fingers and toes that are typically very itchy).”

With atopic eczema, the main issue is the disruption in the barrier function of the skin, meaning our bodies are less able to keep moisture in and the bad stuff (like irritants, allergens, and bacteria) out. Because restoring the barrier function of the skin is critical, you want to look for a moisturizer that helps maintain the barrier of the skin,” says Bloom. Avoid products with fragrances and formaldehyde, and if your skin is super sensitive, Bloom suggests avoiding creams with lactic or glycolic acid, because they can make your skin sting.

When on the hunt for an effective eczema-relief lotion, look for formulas with ceramides. “Ceramide-containing products are ideal for optimizing barrier repair because ceramides are lipids that are essential for the barrier function of the skin,” says Bloom. Products with colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, and niacinamide are also helpful, too.

These eczema-relief lotions below will help you avoid the itch all season long.

Best Multipurpose: Vaseline Skin Protectant

“One of the best topicals for eczema is Vaseline (or petroleum) ointment,” says dermatologist Dr Evan Rieder. “Though it can be greasy, nothing protects the skin like it. One tip I give to my patients who are really suffering from itchy, dry skin or eczema is to apply Vaseline to their arms and legs before they go to bed and wrap with socks and gloves or Saran wrap. The occlusive barrier allows the skin to recover through the night and alleviates concerns about getting work clothing messy during the days.”

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Vaseline Blue Seal Petroleum Jelly Original 250ml

R 29.99

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Best For Repairing Skin: Cetaphil Restoraderm Moisturising Lotion

“Formulated with advanced ceramide and filaggrin technology, a protein in the skin that helps strengthen the skin barrier, this moisturizer is clinically proven to restore and improve the skin’s ability to retain vital moisture, leaving eczema and atopic-prone skin feeling soft, smooth and healthy,” says Dr Dendy Engelman,  New York City-based dermatological surgeon.

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Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Moisturise

R 279.95

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READ MORE: Got Psoriasis Or Eczema? Here’s The One Ingredient You Should Be Using

Most Calming: Aveeno Nourishing Skin Relief Lotion

“Colloidal oatmeal helps coat and protect the skin to allow the skin to repair itself,” says Zeichner. “The rich consistency is great for people with extra dry skin.”

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Aveeno Nourishing Skin Relief Lotion 200ml

R 94.99

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Best For All Skin Types: Kiehl’s Creme de Corps

“For dry, chapped, and irritated skin, it’s really important to minimise fragrance,” says Rieder. “This is a hydrating moisturising cream without a greasy feel or a significant fragrance component. It’s great for generally dry skin and also for people with eczema. It also comes in a variety of vehicles — creams, oils, lotions and body butter — allowing people to customise the product to their skin type.”

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Skip to the end of the images gallery Skip to the beginning of the images gallery Kiehl's Crème De Corps

R 460

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Best Long Lasting: La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+

“Formulated with thermal spring water, this lotion not only hydrates, but can also help promote a healthy microbiome on the skin,” explains Zeichner.

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La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume Ap+ 200ml

R 295

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Best For Severely Sensitive Skin: Avène Eau Thermale XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream

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Avene XeraCalm Balm 200ml

R 279.99

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Best known for its wide range of products suited for sensitive skin, Avène uses thermal spring water to help soothe and calm irritated, itchy skin as well as ceramides to help restore the skin’s barrier.

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