The 9 Best OTC Eczema Creams of 2021

Bid your dry cracking skin farewell

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OTC Eczema Creams

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

First Look

Best Overall: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream at Amazon

"Provides immediate relief thanks to its contents like ceramides and colloidal oatmeal."

Best Budget: Neosporin Eczema Essentials at Amazon

"This gentle formula is super healing and restorative to irritated skin."

Best for Sensitive Skin: Gladskin Eczema Cream at us.gladskin.com

"Works by balancing your skin's microbiome to soothe dryness and irritation."

Best for Face: Cetaphil Body and Face Moisturizing Lotion at Amazon

"Prevents eczema flare-ups as you go about your day."

Best for Hands: Skinfix Eczema Hand Repair Cream at Sephora

"Clinically proven to reduce itching, stinging, and cracking from eczema."

Best for Full Body: Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Creme at Amazon

"Ingredients will nourish, soften, and provide relief to irritated skin. "

Best Antifungal: FineVine Daily Remedy Super Balm at Amazon

"Can also be used to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot and ringworm."

Best for Babies: Pipette Eczema Lotion at Bed Bath & Beyond

"It's petroleum and steroid-free, and is chock full of plant-derived ingredients that make it perfect for your little one. "

Best Natural: Ora’s Amazing Herbal Touchy Skin Salve at Amazon

"Doesn't contain fragrances, parabens, phthalates, harmful chemicals, or skin irritants."

If you’ve been facing off with eczema breakouts, you’re probably familiar with a lot of the creams out there. Knowing which ingredients to look for and avoid can help you find an eczema cream that works for you.

“Hyaluronic acid, an important ingredient in MONAT's Be Gentle Nourishing Moisturizer, is a humectant, which essentially means it attracts water,” says Amy Ross, M.D., a board-certified Dermatologist and advisor on MONAT’s Scientific Advisory Board. “This moisture magnet is very effective in helping to hydrate dry skin. Another ingredient to look for is dimethicone. This ingredient prevents water loss and can enhance the skin barrier offering protection and supporting a healthy moisture barrier.”  

Dr. Ross explains that if you are already prone to dry skin, you should avoid creams with sulfates and alcohols that can make dry skin worse.

If you're dealing with a particularly bad breakout, applying creams to damp skin fresh out of the shower can help relieve your symptoms. She explained that this “helps increase the absorption of the cream.” Dr. Ross further recommended using applying gloves to spread the cream.

Here are the best over-the-counter eczema creams on the market to check out.

Best Overall: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Restores skin’s natural pH

  • Holds in moisture

  • For all ages

Cons
  • May clog pores when used on face

  • Thick formula

This cream is accepted by the National Eczema Association for its healing abilities. It’s nourishing to irritated skin and provides immediate relief thanks to its contents like ceramides and colloidal oatmeal. The oatmeal works to restore the skin’s normal pH, and attract and hold in moisture. 

Another great thing about this product is that it’s gentle enough for kids and babies to use as well. It’s also steroid and fragrance-free, so that it’s sure not to irritate sensitive or irritated skin.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal 1% | Dose: Use once or twice per day as needed | Usage: Soothes dry, irritated, and itchy skin

Best Budget: Neosporin Eczema Essentials

Neosporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisturizing Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Non-greasy

  • Approved by the National Eczema Association

Cons
  • May need to be patch-tested first

This gentle formula is super healing and restorative to irritated skin. It contains colloidal oatmeal, as well as a relipid formula, which contains a humectant, emollient and a botanical blend. All of this will not only add in moisture, but it works to keep it in so that your skin can heal. After daily use of this product, you should see healing results in just three days. 

This is also non-greasy or irritating for the skin. It can even be used on people of all ages, and it’s approved by the National Eczema Association.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal 1% | Doses: Apply as needed, with results seen after 3 days | Usage: Protects and relieves irritation due to eczema, or rashes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Gladskin Eczema Cream

Gladskin Eczema Cream

Courtesy of Gladskin

Pros
  • Good for all ages, those with sensitive skin

  • Restores skin’s moisture barrier

  • Can be used on eyelids

Cons
  • Pricier option

The goal of this cream is to reduce redness and itchiness, and it focuses on building up the skin’s microbiome of good bacteria.

This cream contains colloidal oatmeal, petrolatum, mineral oil and colloidal oatmeal, all of which work to restore your skin’s moisture barrier. This is a great choice for those with sensitive skin, and it’s safe to use on babies who are three months old and up.

Active Ingredients: Petrolatum, mineral oil, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, arginine HCl, sodium chloride, and colloidal oatmeal | Doses: Apply 2-3 times per day, but cannot be overused | Usage: Moisturizes, reduces redness and itch in eczema flare-ups

Best for Face: Cetaphil Body and Face Moisturizing Lotion

 Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Lotion

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Prevents moisture loss

  • Gentle for sensitive skin

Cons
  • Contains avocado oil, which may be a trigger for some

If you’re prone to eczema breakouts on your face, you already know how sensitive the area can be and how necessary it is to get it under control quickly. This cream is as gentle as it is effective. It’s also great to use on a daily basis as a preventative. 

It is packed with vitamin E and avocado oil. It contains dimethicone, which is a skin occlusive that helps prevent moisture loss, or in this case, works to hold in the moisture provided by the cream. It’s lightweight and approved for all ages.

Active Ingredients: Vitamin E | Dose: Apply all over body and face as needed | Usage: Fast relief from dryness, redness, and itching due to eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and chronic dry skin

Best for Hands: Skinfix Eczema Hand Repair Cream

Skinfix Eczema+ Hand Repair Cream
Pros
  • Reduces cracking by 92%

  • Uses natural ingredients to soothe skin

Cons
  • Not suitable for oily skin

This is a super heavy-duty hand cream that gets serious results. It’s clinically proven to reduce itching, stinging, and cracking from eczema. It does this with a blend of humectants, occlusives, and emollient.

In addition to popular ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, this formula also includes jojoba, sweet almond, and sunflower seed oils. Together, these work to nourish hands and leave them feeling soft and relieved.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal (1%) and sweet almond oil (5%) | Dose: Apply as needed throughout the day | Usage: Clinically proven to reduce itching, stinging, and cracking from eczema

Best for Full Body: Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Creme

Eucerin Eczema Relief Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 24-hour hydration

  • Fragrance and dye-free

Cons
  • Works best for mild flare-ups

  • Not best for severe eczema

Those who have been dealing with outbreaks for a while are probably familiar with Eucerin, as it’s a bit of a cornerstone. This lotion delivers 24-hours of hydration, and has colloidal oatmeal, ceramide 3 and licorice root extract. All of these ingredients will nourish, soften, and provide relief to irritated skin.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal 1% | Dose: Apply as needed for mild eczema, use as directed by a doctor for moderate or worse eczema | Usage: Clinically proven to reduce minor irritation and dryness due to eczema

Best Antifungal: FineVine Daily Remedy Super Balm

FineVine Organics Daily Remedy Super Balm

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Thicker formula for feet

  • Has antifungal properties

Cons
  • Cannot be used on face

If you’re facing eczema outbreaks on your feet, this is a great choice. This cream has antifungal properties, which is great for preventing and treating athlete’s foot and ringworm. It has the texture of an ointment, so it's a bit thicker than other creams, but it’s very effective at relieving skin that is super dry, cracked, or scaly.

Active Ingredients: Coconut oil, olive oil, and canola oil | Dose: Apply as needed throughout the day | Usage: Prevents and treats athlete’s foot and ringworm, helps combat eczema and stops itching and irritation

Best for Babies: Pipette Eczema Lotion

Pipette Eczema Lotion

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Formulated specifically for babies

  • Builds a resilient moisture barrier

  • Fragrance-free

Cons
  • May not work without also identifying your baby’s eczema triggers

While a few of the formulas on the list can work for babies, this one is formulated specifically for your little one. It’s petroleum and steroid-free, and is chock full of plant-derived ingredients. 

In addition to colloidal oatmeal and ceramides, it also features plant-derived squalane. This works to balance the microbiome and build up a more resilient moisture barrier.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal and squalane | Dose: Apply as needed | Usage: Relieves irritation, keeps skin dry and calms itchy skin

Best Natural: Ora’s Amazing Herbal Touchy Skin Salve

Ora’s Amazing Herbal Touchy Skin Salve

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Multi-use, including makeup removal

  • Safe for sensitive skin

  • Natural ingredients

Cons
  • May not work with severe flare-ups

  • May clog pores on face

This brand is known for its base oil, which is a blend of organic calendula, licorice, burdock, comfrey, plantain, St. John’s wort, and thyme. It has the texture of a thick balm, but it’s great at holding in moisture and providing immediate relief.

Active Ingredients: Beeswax and vitamin E | Dose: As needed | Usage: Helps calm eczema and dry or sensitive skin

Final Verdict

Make sure you’re seeking out creams with humectants, emollients, and occlusives. If you're looking for a lotion for general eczema symptoms, Aveeno Eczema Daily Therapy Moisturizing Cream (view at Amazon) is a great place to start. If you’re very sensitive to texture, opt for a cream that's specifically targeted towards people with sensitive skin like Gladskin's Eczema Cream (view at Gladskin). Finally, make sure you’re applying them regularly.

What to Look for in an OTC Eczema Cream

Ingredients:

Try to hit all three main categories: humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Creams that also include shea butter, glycerin, and lanolin will help “repair skin and help it look healthier. Products that list one of these ingredients are especially useful,” says Dr. Munzer Sundos, Ph.D, founder of Nupeutics Health. Hyaluronic acidhelps draw moisture from the air to the skin. Smooth on cream with hyaluronic acid for an extra boost of moisture and to ease eczema symptoms and dry skin,” Dr. Sundos adds.

Texture:

If you can’t stand the feeling of oily or greasy products, opt for creams over balms and ointments. Four popular types of eczema creams include:

Lotions: Lotions have high consistency and include water as one of their main ingredients. They have a low oil content and usually moisturize for a short period of time.

Creams: Creams usually have a higher oil content and are thicker than lotions. They’re generally formulated for the face and work well with other products.  

Moisturizers: They are a mixture of oil and water-soluble components (emulsion) to restore the outermost layer of the skin to its natural condition.

Balms: Balms are plant oil-based ointments used to heal or soothe the skin. They are thicker than lotions and creams; thus, they provide superior protection and deeply nourish skin. 

Potential Side Effects:

According to Tiffany Libby, M.D., a dermatologist and director of Mohs Micrographic and Dermatologic Surgery, patients typically don't see allergic reactions to OTC eczema creams, “as most are formulated specifically for sensitive or eczema-prone skin types and will be fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.” She recommends looking for these specifications on labels, or “sticking to brands that dedicate themselves to catering to sensitive and eczema-prone skin types.” Dr. Sundos agrees, and adds that “allergic reactions to Hyaluronic acid are uncommon, as hyaluronic acid is a key component of the skin and allergic reactions are rare.”

Khadidja Toure, founder of Kubra Kay skincare, who has also dealt with eczema herself, notes that “You should avoid eczema creams that contain synthetic fragrance or dyes. These elements will only further irritate an eczema flare up.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take eczema cream to work?

    OTC eczema creams should work pretty immediately to soothe the skin and begin calming inflammation,” says Dr. Libby. “It may take several days to appreciate a noticeable improvement in the dryness or itchiness. I often recommend using a cream and an ointment on top to potentiate the effects of the cream and give added emollient benefits.”

  • Can I use eczema cream for general dry skin?

    "Eczema creams are wonderful treatments for dry skin in general. They are often rich in nourishing and calming hydrators and emollients that even the slightest of dry skin can benefit from,” says Dr. Libby.

What the Experts Say

“Most people who suffer from dry skin don’t realize that they have a mild form of eczema, which is caused by a simple disruption of their skin barrier from a lack of hydration and/or a decrease in their skin’s natural production of oils.”—Tiffany Libby, M.D., dermatologist and director of Mohs Micrographic and Dermatologic Surgery

Why Trust Verywell Health?

An experienced health writer, Brittany Loggins understands how important it is to have a comprehensive understanding of the products she's recommending. All of the products found in her pieces have either been tested by her first hand, or have been recommended by trusted medical professionals.

Additional reporting for this story by Brittany Leitner

As a health writer with over 8 years of experience, Brittany Leitner understands how important access to information is when it comes to making educated health decisions. She has interviewed dozens of medical experts, tested out hundreds of products, and aims to provide quality recommendations that won't break the bank.

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