Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Put the Lotion Down! Moisturizing Eczema-Prone Skin

Put the Lotion Down! Moisturizing Eczema-Prone Skin

It’s getting cold across many parts of the country, and cooler, drier weather often means itchier, flakier skin for those with atopic dermatitis. If you or your family are experiencing renewed or continued symptoms, it’s time to get serious about hydration and home-care. One thing you shouldn’t do, though, is turn to lotion.

When it comes to moisturizing eczema-prone skin, the more oil the better. Lotions have very little oil in them, and many include added ingredients like fragrances and alcohols that can sting, burn, and irritate the skin. This often can make an eczema problem worse.

Creams and ointments

Instead of lotion, try creams or ointments. Ointments — such as mineral oil or petroleum jelly — have the most oil in them and therefore lock in the most moisture. A common, low-cost option is Aquaphor, which can be found at most drug and grocery stores. My daughter has used it, and it works. However, if you prefer not to use petroleum or mineral oil, there are other options.

Ointments for atopic dermatitis

TruKid Easy Eczema Cream is a thick ointment that went on smoothly, didn’t irritate my daughter’s skin, and worked. (It’s also one of my personal favorites for when I’m having an active flare, which doesn’t happen often.) I bought it on Amazon.

Coconut Oil is a great ointment for eczema, as long as the person isn’t allergic or intolerant to coconut. It was my go-to for my son when he was a baby because it’s gentle and its antibacterial, antimicrobial properties helped soothe inflammation, which means he slept better.

All ointments will leave a greasy or sticky feeling for a few minutes. It fades quickly, though, as your skin absorbs the oil. However, if you can’t stand the feeling, creams may be a better choice for you.

Creams for atopic dermatitis

I tend to use a fragrance-free goat-milk cream made by a local artisan. If you don’t have a local arts market or farmers market near you, you often can find these online.

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream often works well, too. Many people swear by it, and I used it on both of my kids whenever we were traveling or my coconut oil ran out. It’s a good product, widely available, and inexpensive. It also has the seal of approval from the National Eczema Foundation.

Tips for moisturizing

  • If you’re using a steroid or topical prescription medication, make sure to use that as directed before moisturizing.
  • Moisturize within three minutes of showering or bathing to lock-in water moisture.
  • Use a thick layer of cream or ointment. Don’t worry about the excess! The skin will absorb it in just a few moments.
  • Choose whatever product works for you, but make sure to avoid dyes and fragrances, both of which will only make things worse.

With a good moisturizer and consistent use, you’ll help avoid the winter flare-ups so many of us experience. You’ll also be building good habits for home skincare that will last you, and/or your kids, throughout the year.

What do you use to treat your eczema? Share what it is like living with or caring for someone with atopic dermatitis and the complications that often accompany it. Click here to learn more and take the 2019 Atopic Dermatitis In America Survey.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Simon55
    2 months ago

    It really depends on each person and the way their skin reacts. For me, a lot of friends recommended Cetaphil Resoraderm which I used but made my skin worse. Something that works for me is essential oils and Vaseline. The water may include lots of chemicals that makes the skin extra-dry, I also recommend using mineral water on hands.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi @simon55, I agree that it depends on the person! I’m so glad you’ve found essential oils and Vaseline helpful for your skin. Also mineral water as well. Just out of curiosity, do you use any water softeners for showering/bathing? I know some say that it helps them (especially if they come from a place with hard water). -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • Aurora
    5 months ago

    I put a shower-filter which is mounted just behind the shower head. It is supposed to filter out all the chemicals in the water using natural things. It is said to remove chlorine, heavy metals, bacteria, pesticides, . . . It is just one of my attacks on this rash!

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    4 months ago

    Hi @aurora, I’m glad that you were able to install a shower-filter mounted on your shower head!! I’ve heard others in the community say it helped their skin. Have you noticed any results yet? On the topic of showering, I thought you might find interest in some additional tips to try: (https://atopicdermatitis.net/living/showering-tips/). Thanks for your comment. -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • sassy80
    7 months ago

    I like to use/add essential oils to my skin care regimen

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    7 months ago

    @sassy80 others have said that essential oils have helped them too! Which ones are your favorites?! -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • blinn1306
    8 months ago

    Lotion makes me itch more so I use Vaseline or Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    8 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, @blinn1306! Glad to hear that Vaseline and Aquaphor ointment body spray help you manage the itch as alternatives to lotion. This is super helpful for those who may be looking to try something new. -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • Jennifer45
    8 months ago

    Everyone knows that for eczema and problematically dry skin, Foderma serum is the only things that work at all, and it’s true So we keep buying it over and over.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    8 months ago

    @jennifer45, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin responds differently, so what works for one may not work for others. I’m glad Foderma serum has helped you. Thanks for sharing your experience! -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • Debs55
    9 months ago

    I am so happy I stumbled upon this blog. Looking forward to all of the information. I have suffered with atopic dermatitis for almost 2 years. Somedays I think I might go nuts from this constant itch. Have tried the bleach bath (which does help for a few hours). Plan to try the epsons salt, as well as the baking soda bath. I have taken steroids, antibiotics, and topical ointments per my dermatologist. Hopefully, we can all find our cure!

  • blinn1306
    8 months ago

    My problem is going on 3 years, gone to several dermatologists and allergists. Can’t take Cyclosporine, bad for my kidneys and will not take Gabapentin because I gained 15 pounds in two weeks.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    9 months ago

    Debs55, we are so happy you found this site and are looking forward to all of the information. You are not alone in this journey with AD and feeling that constant itch. Let us know how the epson salt and baking soda bath goes. The community loves hearing about what others have tried. You can feel free to share about your experience or read others in the treatment forums (https://atopicdermatitis.net/forum/treatment/). We hope there will be a cure one day too. Thanks for being here! -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • RW
    1 year ago

    Ointments have been a go to first recommendation, my whole life as far as doctors go, in initially prescribing a treatment. However, I am in fact more likely to get worse with every ointment application I’ve tried. It simply destroys even the healthy skin around my flare areas. I really only use lotions when I’m traveling, and Vanicream lite lotion works best. I just keep a pump bottle of it in both cars. I keep trying new products, but Neutrogena hand creme and Eucerin calming creme work best. I am too dry 24/7 year round. We moved to Vegas almost 3 years ago and for some reasons the dry heat helps. However, the poorer air quality caused an asthma diagnosis.

  • Sarah Hackley author
    1 year ago

    I’m sorry you’ve struggled with finding the right product for you, but I’m glad you’ve found something that works. It always amazes me how different we all are! Thank you for sharing your story, as I’m sure others in the community have had similar experiences. I just moved, and I’m having to find something new for me and my family, too. Our water is extremely hard, and it’s drying us all out and triggering flares. I’m switching back to coconut oil for a while to calm down my skin. It often works the best for me when I’m having a flare. I hope your lotion continues to work well for you!

  • Aurora
    5 months ago

    I put a shower filter on my shower-head that filters out chemicals in the water. The filter has to be changed every 3-4 months. It filters out the chemicals naturally. Now I want one on all my faucets, but this is good for now.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    1 year ago

    RW,

    I’m sorry to hear that using ointment caused your skin to get worse with every application. It can certainly be a trial and error process with ointments and creams, especially because they work for everyone differently. I am glad to hear that Vanicream lite lotion works best for you and that you have it handy for traveling and car rides! Neat idea!

    Having dry skin all the time is something that many in the community can relate to. I’m glad that moving to Vegas has helped your skin but am sorry to hear that this has had an adverse affect on your breathing 🙁 An asthma diagnosis is common among those with atopic dermatitis, so you are not alone. If you’re interested, we have more information about it here: https://atopicdermatitis.net/related-conditions/. Thanks for commenting and sharing here!

    -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • emmejm
    1 year ago

    This year I’m giving Avalon Organics Eczema Relief Intensive Cream a go and I’m having good luck with it so far. I know it contains some ingredients listed in this post as potentially problematic, but it’s COMPLETELY fragrance free and contains some nice oils (including safflower, coconut, and linseed).

  • Sarah Hackley author
    1 year ago

    I’m glad you’ve found something that works for you. Our bodies are so different; it’s all about finding something that works for each of us. And fragrance-free is always a bonus! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi emmejm, I hope the new Avalon Organics Eczema Relief Intensive cream goes well. I am glad to hear that you have been having good luck so far! It sounds like you put a lot of thought into the ingredients, and finding a fragrance-free option. Those oils sound like a great combination! Please keep us posted on how this goes for you.

    -Sarah (AtopicDermatitis.net Team Member)

  • Poll