The 8 Best Lotions for Eczema of 2022

Aquaphor's Healing Ointment retains moisture at the skin's barrier

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Over 31 million Americans have some form of eczema—a group of skin conditions that involve dry, itchy rash and recurrent flare-ups—according to the National Eczema Association. Although eczema cannot be cured, it can be treated and maintained using lotions, says Adam Smithee, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas.

Reviewed & Approved

Aquaphor's Healing Ointment is formulated with glycerin, which retains moisture. Eucerin's Daily Hydration Lotion is non-greasy and can be used on the face.

Lotions can help people "maintain a daily moisturizing regimen as dry skin is eczema-prone skin," he says. “For breakthrough flares, we use topical, anti-inflammatory medications that can help provide relief." There are different types of lotions for specific body parts: facial, body, hand. We researched dozens of lotions for eczema and evaluated them for ingredients, price, scent, and usage. We also consulted with experts, including Dr. Smithee.

Here are the best lotions for eczema on the market.

Best Overall: Aquaphor Healing Ointment

4.9
Aquaphor Ointment

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Preservative- and fragrance-free

  • Ideal size for families

  • Multiuse: Good as a moisturizer and as an ointment for cuts, scrapes

Cons
  • Can feel sticky

  • ​​Not suitable for those sensitive to lanolin

Who else recommends it? Good Housekeeping, The Strategist, and Byrdie all picked Aquaphor Healing Ointment.

What do buyers say? 87% of 62,500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

We love this ointment as our best overall pick because it's made with 41 percent petroleum, but also contains glycerin, which has humectant properties that attract water from the dermis and a humid environment into the epidermis. The addition of lanolin in the ingredient list also adds more occlusive benefits for those who are not allergic. A 2017 study indicates that lanolin can reduce water loss through the skin by 20 to 30 percent, so it helps to hydrate and soften the skin.

Aquaphor is a multitasking skin protectant. It’s not only a great, thicker moisturizer, it can also be used to relieve dry, chapped lips, and can enhance healing and soothe minor cuts, scrapes, and burns.

Price at time of publish: $14

Active Ingredients: Petroleum | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Apply to the affected area and can be used as often as needed

Best Budget: Cetaphil Eczema Soothing Moisturizer

cetaphil eczema calming body moisturizer

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Affordable

  • Fragrance- and paraben-free

  • Non-greasy

Cons
  • May not be effective for severe eczema

  • Not suitable for those sensitive or allergic to oat

Studies have shown that oat’s soothing properties can help treat itchiness in dry skin and help reduce inflammation in skin conditions such as eczema. This National Eczema Association–approved Cetaphil lotion contains 1 percent colloidal oatmeal that helps relieve skin irritation.

It also has creamy but non-greasy consistency that's soothing and hydrating without feeling tacky on the skin. It’s a great budget-friendly option for those looking for an effective but still lightweight skin protectant. It’s paraben-, fragrance-, and steroid-free and has been endorsed by the National Eczema Association as gentle for eczema-prone skin.

Price at time of publish: $16

Active Ingredient: Colloidal oatmeal | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Can be used as often as needed or as recommended by doctor

What the Experts Say

“Cetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion’s formula has hyaluronic acid, an ingredient recommended for building up the skin’s moisture barrier—it can retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so it will keep skin hydrated throughout the day.” —Angie Seelal, registered physician’s assistant (RPA-C) at Advanced Dermatology PC

Best for Face: Eucerin Daily Hydration Lotion

Eucerin Daily Hydration Lotion

Courtesy of CVS

Pros
  • Non-greasy and fast-absorbing

  • Fragrance- and dye-free

  • Enriched with sunflower oil and vitamin B5

Cons
  • May not be heavy enough for severe eczema or dry skin

  • Slight smell may be unappealing to some

If you’re looking to soothe facial eczema or dry patches on the face, this lightweight, non-greasy lotion is a great pick for daily use. Users find that it hydrates skin effectively but is gentle enough on the most sensitive skin.

The Eucerin Daily Hydration Lotion contains ingredients such as sunflower oil, which studies have found to have benefits for dry and scaly skin, and pro-vitamin B5, which helps moisturize and protect the skin.

Price at time of publish: $29

Active Ingredient: Helianthus Annuus seed oil, petrolatum, glycerin | Scent: Fragrance-free, users report a slight smell | Usage: Apply right after bathing

Best for Body: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

4.9
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Amazon 

Pros
  • Retains moisture

  • Accepted by National Eczema Association

  • Affordable

Cons
  • May not be heavy enough for severe eczema

Scientists have learned that people who have eczema have significantly fewer ceramides, lipids found in skin cells that help the skin retain moisture, in their stratum corneum. A ceramide deficiency can contribute to dry skin, or in the most severe cases, skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. That’s why this ingredient is important for a healthy skin barrier.

The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream includes three ceramides to work to lock in moisture, keep irritants out, and help restore the protective barrier in your skin. It’s accepted by the National Eczema Association and has a rich but non-greasy consistency that is suitable for dry or very dry skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that helps improve skin’s hydration levels.

Price at time of publish: $18

Active Ingredients: Glycerin, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Can be used as often as needed or as recommended by doctor

Best for Hands: Exederm Flare Control Cream

Exederm Flare Control Cream

Courtesy of Walgreens

Pros
  • Contains hydrocortisone to heal irritated skin

  • Relieves itching, inflammation, and rashes quickly

  • Works on hands and face

Cons
  • Not suitable for those sensitive to hydrocortisone

  • Expensive

Specially formulated for very sensitive skin, Exederm Flare Control Cream contains 1 percent hydrocortisone, an ingredient that can help heal inflammatory skin conditions. It has no fragrance, parabens, color or dyes, and it is also accepted by the National Eczema Association. 

While not suitable for those sensitive to hydrocortisone, it can provide fast, soothing relief for eczema flare-ups, which are typically characterized by dry skin, inflamed patches, serious itching, and small raised bumps.

Price at time of publish: $14

Active Ingredients: Hydrocortisone | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Apply to the affected area not more than three to four times daily

Best for Itch: CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Relieves itching

  • Fragrance-free

  • Non-comedogenic

Cons
  • May not be moisturizing enough for severe eczema or very dry skin

  • Need to reapply often

For most people, the main symptom of eczema is itching. CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion is a good option for those looking to relieve itching associated with eczema and dry skin as well as other skin irritations, such as insect bites and sunburn. In addition to ceramides, which help to maintain moisture and restore skin’s natural barrier, this lotion is formulated with 1 percent pramoxine hydrochloride, which a study has found to provide rapid relief of itching following a single application.

This fragrance-free lotion has also earned the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

Price at time of publish: $14

Active Ingredient: Pramoxine hydrochloride | Scent: Fragrance-free | Usage: Apply to the affected area not more than three to four times daily

Best for Families: Vaseline All Over Balm

Vaseline all over balm
Pros
  • Easy to apply

  • Travel-friendly

  • Can also be used on dry heels

Cons
  • Some may find greasy on skin

  • May be hard to extract product from stick

If you find creams or ointments too messy for everyday application, the Vaseline All-Over Body Balm, which comes in a roll-up stick, is a solid option. The stick applicator makes it easy to apply to targeted and hard-to-reach areas and to children who may not like the tacky feel of petroleum jelly on their skin.

Petroleum jelly is widely recommended by dermatologists for treating eczema due to its occlusive formula and hydrating, moisturizing, and healing properties. It’s also good for cuts, burns, and chafing.

Price at time of publish: $21

Active Ingredient: Petroleum | Scent: No synthetic fragrance | Usage: Can be used as often as needed or as recommended by doctor

Best Natural: Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis Cream

Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis Cream

Courtesy of Wild Naturals

Pros
  • All-natural

  • Contains manuka honey for moisturizing and soothing properties

  • pH balanced at 5.5 to support skin's natural barrier function

Cons
  • Not endorsed by the National Eczema Society

  • Expensive

While some dermatologists will only recommend products formulated with well-studied ingredients, some people with eczema want an “all-natural” option to relieve some of their symptoms, such as dry skin and redness. Wild Naturals Eczema & Psoriasis is not endorsed by the National Eczema Association, but it does contain manuka honey, which studies have found to have antibacterial benefits. It also contains aloe vera, which can help soothe irritated skin.

This moisturizing cream has a lightweight, non-greasy texture, and users report that they only need a little product to target affected areas.

Price at time of publish: $22

Active Ingredients: Aloe vera, manuka honey | Scent: Fragrance-free, but users report a slight scent of honey | Usage: Patch test on skin before applying to all affected areas or as recommended by doctor

Final Verdict

Choosing a cream or lotion that can help relieve your eczema symptoms may take some trial and error. Start with a product that’s formulated with studied ingredients proven to be effective, such as our top pick—Aquaphor Healing Ointment. It’s a versatile product—you can use it for lips, hands, feet, and body, and it can help with eczema and wound care.

Aquaphor comes in an emollient form, which helps in locking moisture in your skin, but some may find it too thick for their liking. If you’re looking for a more lightweight lotion to relieve dry skin symptoms, Cetaphil Eczema Restoraderm Lotion is a great option. It’s a non-greasy formulation that still effectively hydrates, and it has earned a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

How We Selected

When choosing the best lotions for eczema, we spoke with dermatologists and spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective products. After taking all of our options into consideration, we determined which to feature based on a few key criteria as recommended by dermatologists: key ingredients, form, usage, and scent.

Once we narrowed down all of our options, we compared each lotion's benefits to its price tag. While some choices on our list may be more expensive than others, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best lotions for eczema.

What to Look for in a Lotion for Eczema

Ingredients

“When considering over-the-counter creams, occlusives, humectants, and emollients are all great options. Occlusive ingredients to look out for are petrolatum and silicone derivatives, such as dimethicone," Angie Seelal, registered physician’s assistant (RPA-C) at Advanced Dermatology PC. "Humectants are hygroscopic (or water-attracting) moisturizers that actively pull and absorb water and hydrate the outer layer of the skin. Humectants, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, in many of the skin-care products are already in your arsenal. Shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, and ceramides are all emollients that are great for moisturizing the skin, as well.”

But it’s also important to know what ingredients to avoid in a lotion or moisturizer.

Avoid glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and alcohol because these ingredients can dry and irritate the skin, says Kemuto Mokaya, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Houston, Texas. 

Other skincare ingredients that can irritate skin or make eczema symptoms worse, according to Dr. Mokaya, include:

  • Fragrances, including essential oils
  • Vitamin A derivatives, such as retinol and retinoids
  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde 

Check the product labels to check on potentially irritating fragrances or ingredients. If you’re not sure what an ingredient is, check the National Eczema Association’s glossary of skincare ingredients.

The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends testing all products before using them. To test a skincare product, apply a small amount to an area of your skin without eczema or atopic dermatitis and leave it on for 24 hours. If your skin remains clear after 24 hours, it’s less likely to cause an eczema flare-up.

Moisturizer Types

There are different types of moisturizers used for treating eczema—ointments, creams, and lotions. Why all three types can help with your skin’s hydration levels, they differ in texture, consistency, and how they feel on the skin.

Ointments

According to the National Eczema Association, ointments are usually the first choice for treating eczema symptoms. Ointments have the highest oil content of all the moisturizer types so they’re good at sealing moisture in the skin and don’t generally burn or irritate sensitive skin.

Creams

Creams contain less oil than ointments and are less greasy on the skin but also good at sealing moisture. Skin barrier creams are also a good option—they contain ceramides that form a protective barrier on the skin and help seal in moisture and keep irritants out.

Lotions

Lotions are the most lightweight in consistency and texture, but because they are primarily made of water, they evaporate quickly so you may need to reapply the product more often. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes eczema?

    Experts believe that a number of factors—including your family history, immune system, where you live, and what you’re exposed to daily (such as pollution and stress)—play a role in causing eczema.

  • How do I avoid eczema flare-ups?

    Several factors can trigger eczema symptoms, but one person’s triggers may not be the same as another’s. “Some possible triggers include changes in weather, poor skin moisturization, certain ingredients found in soaps and other personal care products, environmental allergies, and overgrowth of bacteria on the skin,” says Dr. Smithee.

    Dermatologists also recommend avoiding anything that could irritate or strip the skin barrier, including “anything scented, anything abrasive, with microbeads, or scrubs, and high-foarming cleansers,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York. 
    Wool and synthetic fabrics can also irritate the skin, Dr. Nazarian adds. Instead, wear loose clothing made of cotton and other soft, natural materials instead to prevent rubbing and irritation.

    You should also avoid heavy perfumes and irritants, such as dyes or detergents. Use a humidifier, especially during wintertime or if you live in a dry climate, as dry air can extract moisture from the skin.

  • What are other at-home treatments for eczema?

    To soothe your skin, try soaking in a warm bath containing colloidal oatmeal for about 10 minutes. While your skin is still damp, use a moisturizer formulated to protect the skin barrier. To help get rid of flakes, look for a lotion with ammonium lactate or alpha-hydroxy acid.

    Additionally, Dr. Nazarian recommends using topical over the counter hydrocortisone and regularly using topical emollients, such as Vaseline. “By first using humectants that draw moisture into skin, then locking the moisture in by using an emollient, those suffering from eczema can find the greatest and quickest method of improving the hydration barrier,” she says. 

Why Trust Verywell Health

Stephanie Valera has written and edited articles for Mashable, Everyday Health, Weather.com, HuffPost, and CBSNewYork.com, among other publications. She has also held editorial positions at CBS, NBC, and BBC America. She is passionate about climate and environmental issues, health, and wellness.

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Verywell Health 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.
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Additional Reading