12 Best Skincare Products for Eczema-Prone Skin

Those familiar with eczema know that flare-ups are itchy, uncomfortable, and extremely frustrating, especially when it feels like none of the skincare products on the market live up to their claims. This makes it difficult for those who struggle with eczema to organize a routine that won’t stress their skin. So, to help clear up any confusion, we enlisted New York City board-certified dermatologist Elyse Love, MD and Bio-Oil partner and board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Libby, MD to help to take the guesswork out of keeping an eczema-friendly product lined up. Below, they explain what eczema is, what ingredients to look for and which to avoid, and share their dermatologist-approved recommendations.

What is eczema?

Eczema is the general term used to describe a group of inflammatory skin conditions that all present with dry, itchy, scaly rashes. Although a patch of red flaky eczema may seem contagious, it is not. “Someone cannot get infected or ‘get eczema’ by touching eczematous skin,” says Dr Libby. “It’s caused by environmental and genetic factors, and a chronically inflamed and disrupted skin barrier that struggles to retain water and moisture in the skin.”

The most common type of eczema is contact dermatitis, but there are others such as atopic dermatitis. According to Dr. Libby, soaps, shampoos, body washes, cleansers, laundry detergents, fabrics like wool or polyester, perfumes, and extreme heat or cold are common triggers.

What is the difference between facial eczema and body eczema?

The short answer is that there isn’t. “People with atopic dermatitis are prone to eczema rashes that can occur on the face or body. People just tend to have one area more sensitive than another,” says Dr. Love. She notes. Allergic reactions are a common reason for breakouts on the eyelids and around the mouth, however, new rashes can appear anywhere from head to toe.

There is one thing that differs depending on which area of ​​the body you are addressing and that is the treatment plan. For areas like hands, elbows, knees, where your skin is thicker, Love says dermatologists tend to opt for thicker topical steroids as an easy fix. However, for very thin areas, such as the face, she would appreciate an alternative to steroids if possible. The main reason for this is that long-term use of steroids can cause thinning of the skin and trigger other underlying skin issues such as rashes or rosacea.

What are the star skincare ingredients that help treat eczema?

Especially if you’re prone to sensitivities, it’s important to know what to look for on product labels. Whenever you see the National Eczema Association seal on a bottle, you can be sure it has gone through a verification process that ensures it excludes a long list of known irritants.

That being said, there are still call ingredients that have been used for years in the industry. “Colloidal oatmeal, which the FDA has approved as a skin protectant, is anti-inflammatory, soothes the skin, and prevents transepidermal water loss that can exacerbate eczema,” says Libby. “Sunflower seed oil is also rich in fatty acids that help form the sealant around skin cells to soothe and strengthen the skin barrier.” She also names humectants, like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, and occlusives, like petroleum jelly, as other star performers to help hydrate and seal in moisture.

What Skincare Ingredients Should You Avoid If You Have Eczema?

As a general rule, there are a few ingredients that anyone prone to eczema should avoid. First, anything that includes a fragrance. “Fragrance is something I would definitely exercise caution with because it’s one of the most common cosmetic sensitivities,” Love says. She also warns that active ingredients such as retinols should be started very slowly, consciously, and under the guidance of a dermatologist. Formulas that are traditionally harsh on the skin are more likely to have adverse effects if your skin barrier is compromised or very sensitive.

If you’re someone who suffers from recurring eczema on your face, Love suggests it might be worth contacting your doctor for a patch test. “That’s when we can test to see if you’ve developed any potential skin allergies to the products you’re using,” Love says. It can be makeup, hand soap or even detergent. After the process, you might have a personalized list of products and ingredients that you can cut out of your routine to make way for more user-friendly formulas.

How can I treat eczema?

The first step should be to see a board-certified dermatologist so you can learn about all the different options available to you, whether it’s additional testing as mentioned above or prescription lotions. Libby and Love also suggest keeping your shower at lukewarm temperatures, as very hot water will only increase dehydration. Other than that, stock your shelves with formulas you can trust. “Make sure to stick to hypoallergenic and gentle skincare brands,” Love suggests. Once you have a basic routine that works for your skin, you can feel prepared whenever a flare-up may occur.

To make the buying process easier, we’ve curated a list of products that get our eczema approval. Check out dermatologist- and editor-approved skincare choices below.

For the face

Ideal for lips

Fiery Favorites

All-Star Body

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