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Moisturizers for Eczema

Eczema Treatment Basics


Updated June 14, 2014

Woman applying face cream to daughters face
Sam Edwards/OJO Images/Getty Images

Moisturizers are one of the main treatments for eczema, both to prevent and treat eczema flares.

But which moisturizers are best?


In general, most eczema experts recommend that you use as greasy a moisturizer as your child can tolerate, which usually means using an ointment. A cream is usually next best and as a last resort, you could try a lotion.

Good moisturizers for children with eczema usually include, but aren't limited to:

  • Vaseline
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  • Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream
  • Eucerin Calming Creme
  • Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
  • Cutemol Emollient Skin Cream
  • Mustela Dermo-Pediatrics, Stelatopia Moisturizing Cream
  • CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Parents and children sometimes prefer lotions because they seem the easiest to apply, but a greasy moisturizer is often the best at trapping moisture into your child's dry skin.

Using Moisturizers Correctly

In addition to choosing the right moisturizer, you have to use it properly to control your child's eczema.

Most importantly, don't use hot water in your child's daily bath or shower and follow the 'three-minute rule': Put moisturizer on your child's skin within three minutes of his getting out of the bath or shower. This quick response helps trap the moisture from the bath or shower into your child's skin before it has a chance to evaporate.

To get the full benefit of a bath/using a moisturizer, it can also help if you gently pat your child's skin dry, so that it is still a little damp when you apply the moisturizer. Vigorously drying the skin with a towel will make the moisturizer less effective.

And also use a mild, moisturizing soap or soap substitute, like Dove, Oil of Olay, or Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, during the bath.

Atopiclair, Mimyx, and Hylira

A number of nonsteroidal prescription creams and lotions are also now available to help moisturizer your child's skin.

These include Hylira, Mimyx, and Atopiclair, and they may be more effective than an over-the-counter moisturizer for some children with eczema since they are also designed to repair the skin's barrier function.

What You Need To Know

In addition to applying your child's moisturizer immediately after a bath or shower, it can also help if you:

  • use a fragrance-free moisturizer that is in an ointment or cream form.

  • avoid moisturizers that contain alcohol and moisturizers that feel oily, since both can be more drying than ointments and creams.

  • continue to use your moisturizer everyday, even when your child's eczema is under good control.

  • apply a moisturizer several times a day and not just after baths and showers.

  • after your child goes swimming, be sure to rinse him off and then quickly apply a moisturizer.

  • consider using wet dressings or wet-to-dry dressings right after you moisturize your child's skin when he has hard-to-control eczema flares.


Habif: Clinical Dermatology, 4th ed.

Related Video
Understanding Baby Eczema

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