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Noxzema and Eczema

Expert Q&A


Updated July 11, 2009

Q. My son has eczema and we have struggled finding a good lotion that works on his skin. A friend to try Noxzema and that it was actually originally created to treat kids with eczema. Is that true? Gil, Portland, Oregon.

A. Looking at the name - Noxzema - it is easy to see why people would think that there is an association between Noxzema and eczema, but the ingredient list includes a lot of things that you would think might irritate a child's skin if they had ezema, including fragrance, camphor, and menthol. Especially during an active eczema flare, camphor and menthol might burn or irritate your child's skin.

Of course, you could always try it and see how it works for your child. Although you might think that it is an urban legend, the official 'history of Noxzema' from their website states that 'the inspiration for the name Noxzema came from a satisfied customer who exclaimed, "You knocked my eczema."' It was originally marketed as a sunburn remedy though.

Your main problem may just be that you are trying to find 'a good lotion.' 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 use a lotion.

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

  • Vaseline
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  • Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream
  • Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
  • Cutemol Emollient Skin Cream
  • CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Most importantly, don't use hot water in your child's daily bath or shower and follow the 'three minute rule' of putting a moisturizer on your child's skin within three minutes of his getting out of the bath or shower.

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

Atopiclair and Mimyx

Two new non-steroidal prescription medications that help to provide long lasting moisture for skin and relieve itching and burning are now available for children of all ages. Atopiclair and Mimyx were both recently approved to treat children with atopic dermatitis or eczema and will be very welcome by parents if they work, especially those who are wary of using steroid creams, or Elidel or Protopic after the recent FDA warnings.

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