7 best moisturisers for eczema
Dealing with eczema can be a real headache, we've rounded up the best products that really work
As a person who has suffered for eczema their entire life, I know it can be hugely difficult to find a moisturiser that doesn’t burn or irritate your body and face. The trick is to keep it simple. Fewer ingredients means less opportunity to cause irritation. Eczema breaks down the skin's natural barrier, making it more susceptible to allergens, and therefore needs to be continuously hydrated to help protect the skin.
Studies have shown that creams and ointments are the best for this as they contain more oil. It is always best to moisturise after washing, as this locks in the moisture for the rest of the day, although if your skin feels dry, itchy or irritated, moisturise as much as you feel necessary.
Here's the disclaimer: It is important to find the product for you, but be careful to test all creams and ointments on a small patch of skin, on both your body and face, as we have found there to be creams that work fine for our body, but irritate the face. Everyone’s skin is different. If you go in-store for your products, most shop assistants will allow you to test the product on your skin before buying.
Please consult your doctor before applying any of the below products to severely cracked, broken, or infected skin. If you suffer from any side effects, stop using the product immediately. If using alongside a steroid treatment, use the former first and then apply your chosen moisturiser.
Wish all this in mind, I've been on the hunt for moisturisers designed for eczema-prone skin that actually work, and with the help of additional testers – have rounded up the best of the bunch.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Epaderm Cream: £12.49 for 500g, Boots
Epaderm is a 2 in 1 moisturiser and cleanser often prescribed by doctors in the UK, but is available in most pharmacies and large supermarkets. It claims to relieve the symptoms of dry skin after just two weeks, and is also suitable for other skins conditions, including psoriasis and dermatitis. Whilst it is available on prescription, it is more often cheaper to buy directly from the pharmacist. Like the Cetraben below, it comes in 50ml bottles which are perfect for travel, but also comes in larger bottles.
Our tester thought Epaderm worked really well as a daily moisturiser, as it can be applied onto broken skin without causing further damage, but also keeps your skin soft and hydrated in between flare ups, and is suitable to use on your face. This is an easy and safe option.
Aveeno Daily Dermexa Emollient Cream: £7.99 for 200ml, Look Fantastic
The Aveeno Daily Emollient Cream is a moisturiser formulated with oats, which can provide relief to itchy skin. This cream has been endorsed by the National Eczema Association, and although it says to use daily, we found it best suited for the body rather than the face, and it is not advised to use on broken skin.
Our tester said that this cream was heavier than the others, and for her it didn't fully relieve itchiness. But it did leave the skin feeling soft and quickly absorbed for immediate hydration. For parts of your body not affected by eczema, this cream also makes for an effective moisturiser.
Cetraben Cream: £4.99 for 50ml, Boots
Cetraben is designed for eczema sufferers and claims to be tolerable even on cracked and red skin. It is also available in 50ml bottles, which is handy for the handbag if you need to reapply throughout the day or at work.
Our tester tried this on a patch of eczema, and claimed it did not burn nor did it increase any itching. The cream is light, and a little goes a long way, which our tester said made it perfect for daily use in between and during flare ups, as it leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated.
Tropic Tamanu Healing Balm: £32 for 60ml, Tropic
Tamanu Healing Balm by Tropic is made from tamanu oil, an ancient Polynesian medicine that encourages the skin to heal. The minimal and all natural ingredients make it the perfect choice for vegans and those searching for a natural alternative to moisturisers. Unfortunately this means it’s slightly more expensive than the other products, but if your skin isn’t worth investing in, then what is? As well as eczema, this balm claims to be suitable for acne, wasp and bee stings, and for clearing burn scars.
Our tester, who does not have a nut or soy allergy, said that there’s little else in the product to cause a reaction and its natural ingredients can be used on your face. Although it leaves your skin feeling oily, this does hydrate your skin better than a cream. Because of this though, she suggests to use it at night only.
Dr. Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream: £7.11 for 50ml, Holland and Barrett
Dr. Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream incorporates the properties of the infamous Manuka Honey, which is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. This cream is a bioactive, hyperalligent emollient, and is made for nourishing cracked and irritated skin. Unlike the other creams, it has a floral fragrance.
Our first tester unfortunately had a severe reaction to the cream, however a second tester claims the cream completely cleared the redness on her face and soothed the itching and burning sensations. This was enough to convince us that after a patch test, this product could work wonders for others too.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluid Sensitive Skin: £13.10 for 40ml, Look Fantastic
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluid for Sensitive Skin is a facial moisturiser that claims to be suitable for those prone to redness, itchiness or burning, as well as allergic reactions including eczema. The cream is also clinically proven to reduce sensitivity, and is the first facial skincare product to be awarded the Seal of Approval by Allergy UK.
Our tester found this cream incredibly light, which she says is what makes it ideal for your face, as it’s less likely to clog pores. Its unique texture means that it’s fine to use in addition to makeup, without leaving your skin feeling oily or looking sweaty. It is the second most expensive product, but is worth the investment.
E45 Cream: 50ml £2.35, Boots
E45 Cream is a staple in many sensitive skin households, but it’s ability to soothe irritated and cracked skin is not to be ignored, nor is is cheap price. It has been clinically proven to treat dry and itching skin. Its non-greasy emollient formulation is quickly absorbed, and it is safe to use on the whole family, including young children and babies.
Our tester claims that every eczema suffer should keep E45 in stock, but that whilst it is fine to use on your body, she would not recommend it on your face as she finds the cream to be heavier than the others. Heavy creams can sometimes clog the pores, leaving you more susceptible to spots and greasy skin. However, another tester claimed that used sparingly, the cream can be used your face as an occasional moisturiser.
The Verdict: Best moisturisers for eczema-prone skin
Our favourite by far is the Epaderm cream. Even on the most sore, red and painful skin, it provided relief and comfort, without adding to the problem. It’s reasonable price tag also makes it accessible for all.
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