Oatmeal baths, lukewarm showers and probiotic-rich smoothies are homemade remedies that many eczema sufferers use to soothe their inflamed and irritated skin. These solutions are effective, but they require extra time to whip up. That's where topical treatments like eczema lotions can provide quicker relief.
Finding the best lotion for eczema starts with understanding what kind you have. "Eczema is a broad term that means dermatitis inflammation of the skin," says Rebecca Kazin, a board-certified dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology.
According to Kazin, there are three kinds of eczema: atopic, which is more genetic. It is commonly seen in children and appears on the backs of knees and creases of arms; irritant dermatitis, which is caused by outside factors like overuse of Retin A or anything topical that irritates skin (too much hydroxy acid or contact with cleaning chemicals can also be culprits); and contact dermatitis, which is known as a true allergy. Usually a sharp outline of the irritant forms when it comes in contact with the skin.
"Your skin barrier is compromised during a flare-up, so skin does not do as good a job of keeping allergens out," Kazin explains. So she suggests avoiding products that contain fragrance, hydroxy acid or retinol because they will dry out skin.
Read the ingredients label and packaging carefully and look for lotions that are labeled "hypo-allergenic." Kazin adds, "I caution patients that just because products are all-natural does not mean they are necessarily hypo-allergenic." Glycerin, mineral oil and oatmeal extracts are calming ingredients.
She also recommends moisturizers in a tube or tub, as they are not thinned out like lotions in a traditional pump dispenser. They also have higher oil to water ratio and are more moisturizing.
Shop derm-approved picks below for the best lotions for eczema or sensitive skin.