The Independent Pharmacy

The Best Eczema Creams | Recommended By Pharmacists

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2024

Finding the best cream for eczema takes some trial and error. What soothes one person’s sensitive skin may differ from another’s. The key is picking products that hydrate, reduce irritation, and feel comfortable for you.

Emollients play an essential role as foundational eczema treatments. They moisturise sensitive skin, strengthen its natural defence, and help stop it from becoming dry and itchy if you use them every day. Ointments, creams, and gels can all provide relief. What matters most is choosing an emollient that your skin responds well to.

Many prefer lighter creams or gels for daytime use. Thick ointments effectively hydrate, but they are cosmetically impractical. The right balance of moisturisation and feel depends on lifestyle and personal preference.

Overall, managing eczema requires paying attention to your own skin’s needs and picking products that make it feel its best. In this guide, we’ll explain how to pick the best creams and lotions for your eczema needs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Daily emollient creams and ointments are essential to hydrate sensitive skin prone to eczema and strengthen its protective barrier. Gentle moisturising is the foundation.
  • Lighter lotions and gels effectively provide daytime relief when thicker emollients feel too heavy. Proper application tips optimise absorption.
  • If emollients fail to control periodic eczema flare-ups, seeing a specialist for prescription topical steroids matches potency to symptom severity for quick relief until outbreaks resolve.
  • Ultimately, the best eczema cream is the one that works best for each individual, and determining that may require some trial and error.

Selecting the Best Eczema Creams

Emollients: The Foundation of Eczema Care

Emollients provide moisture critical for eczema-prone skin. These lotions and creams mimic natural oils to help hydrate and protect. Using them properly every day helps avoid irritating common skin conditions like eczema.

Cetraben Cream & Ointment
Cetraben Cream & Ointment
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Dermatologists often recommend gentle emollients like Cetraben and Diprobase for daily relief. These creams deeply moisturise the skin and soothe itching. Applying them after bathing seals in moisture when the skin needs it most. This helps strengthen the skin’s protective barrier.

Diprobase Cream
Diprobase Cream
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Using emollients consistently is key. Most creams work best when applied at least twice daily as part of a skincare routine. This provides constant relief to keep delicate skin hydrated around the clock.

Washing Up With Emollients

Choosing gentle skin cleansers is a loving way to care for your eczema-prone skin, helping to soothe and protect it. Traditional soaps and scrubs can worsen dry, scaly patches. Emollient washes like Dermol are ideal. They clean without stripping natural oils vital for healthy skin barriers.

Dermol’s rich washes add lasting hydration as they gently remove grime. Using lukewarm water keeps sensitive skin calm. Patients with eczema should apply gently before rinsing thoroughly to avoid skin irritation. Lightly patting the skin dry helps seal in moisture. Follow with a soothing daily moisturiser for smooth, refreshed skin.

Making emollient washes part of a consistent routine boosts outcomes. Alternate between Dermol’s creamy bath emollient and lighter shower formula to meet changing needs. Regularly nurturing your skin with gentle care can help calm eczema symptoms, offering your skin the hydration and cleanliness it deserves.

Ointments vs. Creams vs. Gels: What to Choose?

With numerous skin care products for eczema available, deciding what to apply when can feel confusing. Ointments, creams and gels each provide unique hydration and feel. Understanding the differences helps pick the ideal choice for your needs.

First, how do they stack up? Rich emollient ointments like Epaderm feel more substantial, sink in deeply to seal in moisture, and offer intensive hydration for very dry, flaky skin. Their richer texture makes them perfect for smoothing on at bedtime, but some find them too heavy for regular day use. Lighter creams for eczema absorb well but may require more frequent application on irritated patches because they are less emollient. Gels like mess-free Doublebase Gel offer a refreshing feel. However, it may not adequately moisturise severely parched, cracked areas.

So which to choose? There’s no universal “best” option - it’s about what works best for each individual’s skin! Consider your lifestyle and skin type. Is your skin mildly dry or severely parched and scaly? Factoring individual needs, allergies, and skin types helps narrow choices. Ultimately, the right selection will balance effectiveness and individual requirements.

Daytime Management of Eczema With Emollients

Creams and Gels for Daytime Use

When selecting daytime skin treatments for eczema, key priorities are effective relief, lasting hydration, and practicality. Many facing this frustrating condition seek lighter creams and gels that absorb quickly without residue or heaviness. Soothing options like Aveeno Cream and CeraVe Moisturising Cream offer excellent solutions to incorporate into busy mornings.

What makes these ideal daily choices? Both provide extended moisture without greasiness, which helps sensitive skin prone to eczema flare-ups feel comfortable during activities. Aveeno uses natural colloidal oatmeal, while CeraVe relies on hydrating ceramides and glycerin to reinforce moisture in the skin’s damaged barrier. Both absorb rapidly after gentle smoothing without leaving behind pore-clogging oils.

To maximise daytime relief, apply after washing with a gentle, fragrance-free emollient cleanser while the skin is slightly damp to seal in hydration. Allow water-based products to fully dry before dressing to prevent friction irritation. Reapply as needed to soothe sudden itchy spots and always after hand washing to counteract the stripping of natural oils that protect the skin. Using soothing creams consistently is vital for effective, ongoing eczema relief.

Maximising the Efficacy of Daytime Eczema Treatments

Getting the most out of daily eczema skin care regimens ensures continuous hydration and protection from irritants. Steps like layering different moisturising products and boosting their absorption can make a real difference in managing this frustrating condition. But keep in mind that if you apply more product than you can massage into your skin, the final layer could attract dust and make your skin overheat. So, apply moisturisers a little and as often as you need.

Lifestyle adjustments play a role, too. While vigorous activity and sweat can worsen eczema-prone skin, gentle exercise that raises the heart rate boosts circulation to help skin better absorb soothing topical treatments. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and limiting skin irritants also supports skin health.

Overall, effective daytime relief requires consistency in using non-greasy products that provide comfort while enabling regular activities.

How to Apply Emollients: Tips and Advice

Applying emollients properly ensures maximum hydration and protection from eczema triggers. Useful tips include:

  • Apply moisturisers generously all over, even when the skin looks clear, to maintain the damaged barrier. Thoroughly covering all areas prevents localised dryness and itching.
  • Gently smooth emollients using downward strokes following the direction of hair growth. This prevents irritation and allows better absorption.
  • When using jarred products, never directly touch creams with your fingers to prevent contamination. Only use separate, clean spatulas or scoops.
  • Pat skin dry after bathing, then apply emollients while still slightly damp. This seals in lingering surface moisture.
  • Never share any creams or ointments with others, as this spreads infection. Use separate tubs if needed.
  • Carry a travel-size emollient for on-the-go use when running errands or experiencing sudden itching. Reapply after hand washing.

Recognising and Managing Flare-Ups

Controlling frustrating eczema flare-ups is a two-step process. The first line of defence should always be gentle daily emollients that hydrate and protect the skin. When outbreaks still occur, matching the right strength topical steroid to the flare-up brings relief without causing skin damage.

Flare-ups often start with suddenly intensified itchiness, redness and scaling. New small bumps surrounding old rash areas also signal symptoms are worsening. The moment such warning signs appear, prompt action helps minimise further progression.

Start by reviewing your current emollient routine – are you applying moisturising creams or ointments at least twice daily after bathing? Using richer, thicker products if your outbreaks tend to be severe? Reinforcing this skin care foundation keeps most cases well-controlled.

However, if symptoms continue worsening despite correct moisturiser use, it’s time to deploy topical steroids for a short period. Mild flares may respond to Hydrocortisone, whereas widespread redness and swelling require heavier steroid creams like Betnovate Cream & Ointment. Follow all package directions, limiting applications to the smallest possible skin area. As soon as the flare-up fades in a few days to a week, return focus solely to gentle emollients again while the skin recovers.

Making Informed Choices

Understanding Your Skin’s Needs

Finding the right eczema treatments requires tuning in to your skin’s condition and responses. Tracking flare-ups, symptoms, and product reactions helps inform choices.

Keep a journal noting outbreak triggers like weather changes, activities causing sweating, stress levels, new products used, and diet factors if you notice a link. Write down how long flare-ups last, their severity, and what finally provides relief.

Test and try new creams on small hidden patches first to check for redness, stinging, or increased itching, which signals reactions. If using prescription topical steroids when emollients alone fail, record how many days the steroids are needed to clear flare-ups.

Bring these details to doctor visits to collaborate on effective care regimens catered to you. Mild, infrequent flare-ups may indicate sufficient emollient therapy, whereas severe, frequent outbreaks suggest the need for stronger steroid creams on top of daily hydrating treatment. Adjusting approaches ensures symptoms are kept under control long-term.

The Value of Personal Preference in Treatment Success

While doctors provide guidance on eczema treatments, individual preference and needs also greatly impact consistency and relief. Finding suitable emollients for daily hydration is key.

When selecting moisturisers, consider lifestyle fit - lighter creams for active days or richer balms deeply nourishing at night? Seek calming scents or fragrance-free for sensitive skin? Products working with your schedule enable adherence.

If emollients fail to control periodic flare-ups, see a doctor for prescription topical steroids that match strength to severity. Short courses of potent formulas reduce widespread inflammation until symptoms resolve. Promptly return focus to gentle daily emollients then.

Discuss preferences at appointments - custom regimens around enjoyable emollients improve results long-term. Suitable, effective products combatting frustrating eczema promote skin health when used regularly. Lifestyle compatibility facilitates consistent hydration.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

Navigating your eczema management is a personal journey filled with trials and discoveries, and it’s okay to seek out various approaches until you find what brings you relief. The Independent Pharmacy can help you identify suitable treatments for your symptoms.

Start by taking our free, confidential online eczema self-assessment. It only takes a few minutes. The questions help narrow down products that can likely help based on your specific skin reactions and needs. Customising selections boosts the chances you’ll find relief fast.

After finishing the assessment, The Independent Pharmacy’s team analyses your results. We will send you a personalised list of recommended eczema creams, lotions, and lifestyle tips that are ideal for your situation. That way, you don’t have to guess what might improve annoying rashes!

Get in touch with our team to take the first step toward tailoring an effective skincare routine that keeps stubborn eczema under control. Our welcoming pharmacists and convenient online services make taking charge of your health much easier.


Is the sun good for eczema?

Sometimes. Brief sun exposure can dry out and improve mild eczema for some by reducing inflammation. However, take care to avoid burns. Always apply broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to protect the skin if going out. Extended exposure leading to burns almost always worsens symptoms after an initial relief period.

What clears severe eczema?

Consistent, heavy emollients provide hydration between flares. When severe outbreaks still occur, prescription topical steroids matched to symptoms of eczema quickly reduce widespread redness, swelling and itching. After every short steroid course, return focus to gentle daily moisturisers again.

What is the root cause of eczema?

Eczema arises from a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. We don’t know exactly what causes it, but it often involves an overactive immune response, leading to inflammation and itchy skin. Known triggers making it worse include stress, changes in temperature or humidity, soap and detergent residues, dust mites, pollen and infections. Managing and avoiding triggers, along with a good skincare routine, helps control discomfort.


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