I Have Facial Eczema, and These Are the Products I Swear By
From cleansers to creams, the best products to soothe your angry patches.
I’ve suffered with eczema for 20+ years, and suffice it to say, it really sucks. My nighttime routine consists of slathering greasy ointments and creams onto my skin until the chunky layer of moisturizer becomes a whole other skin. Pretty much every dermatologist you visit will tell you that there is no cure for eczema; it’s a chronic condition that you’ll just have to learn to live with. Not what you want to hear, but it’s partly true—there is no official “treatment” or magical antibiotic you can swallow to completely eradicate those red patches. However, there are skincare products that come pretty close at alleviating them. As a beauty editor with facial eczema, I’ve tried countless creams, serums, cleansers, and facial oils out there. After an extensive trial and error process, these are the ones that earn my finicky skin’s stamp of approval.
Eucerin Original Healing Lotion
If I had to write a love letter to one beauty product, this one would earn all my romantic affection. And it’s well deserved—the simple, time-tested formula (sans fragrances and dyes) is packed with rich emollients that appease my angry patches upon impact. It’s pretty thick for a lotion so I wouldn’t recommend facial application for everyone, but if you do have dry, cracked skin, nothing comes close to the intensive moisture it provides.
To buy: $9; walgreens.com.
Dove The Beauty Bar
Now I know what you’re thinking—you want me to use a bar on my face? Yes, bars are truly one of the most underrated items in the beauty world, and out of all of them, this cult classic ranks on top. It’s effective at removing all traces of makeup and dirt from your face, but thanks to the cream-infused formula, it doesn’t leave skin feeling stripped or squeaky.
To buy: $8 for 6; walgreens.com.
Tatcha The Rice Polish
Exfoliating with eczema is a tricky area. You want it to be effective enough that it removes all those scaly flakes, but gentle enough that it doesn’t aggravate your patches. Tatcha’s Rice Polish (I recommend the gentle version) uses finely ground rice bran and papaya enzymes to provide non-abrasive exfoliation. The grains turn into a cloud-like foam when mixed with water, and once washed off will reveal a much smoother complexion.
To buy: $65; sephora.com.
Theraplex Barrier Balm
This white tub holds the panacea to all my dry skin problems. The ultra-thick formula (winner of National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance with the highest possible rating) acts like a barrier—hence the name—to provide a layer of moisture on your skin. The key is in the activated hydrosilicone delivery system, which when combined with petroleum penetrates deep into rough, damaged skin. But don’t think that you’re just restricted to nighttime application; despite the thickness, the balm is surprisingly non-greasy and quick-absorbing.
To buy: $17; dermstore.com.
InnisFree Green Tea Moisture-Balancing Toner
This refreshing watery-gel toner derives its hydrating properties from hydrating Jeju green tea and green tea seed oil. Beauty studies sing praises about the benefits of green tea, ingested or topical, due to the high level of antioxidants that soothe and ward off inflammation. Innisfree’s version isn’t alcoholic enough to make my face sting (which some toners do); simply tap a few drops into your pores right after cleansing for a cooling ahh sensation.
To buy: $17; sephora.com.
Elemis Cica Calm Hydration Juice
When I was younger, my mother used to apply an old-school Asian ointment with tiger grass whenever I had an eczema flare-ups. I hated it because it reeked of metallic antiseptic, but I can’t deny that it worked. This cream smells much better in comparison, and utilizes the same key ingredient for similar skin-soothing effects, along with a proprietary microbiome-boosting complex.
To buy: $48; dermstore.com.
Barbara Sturm Hyraluronic Serum
Hyaluronic acid is an irreplaceable element in my skincare routine. The clear, gooey substance is naturally produced by your body and responsible for pulling moisture to the surface of your skin. Because of its ability to draw and hold water, it can also be used as a humectant in your skincare regimen. Barbara Sturm’s formula is pricey, but the super concentrated dose (a couple drops is all you need) does a stellar job at locking in my skin’s hydration levels.
To buy: $110; sephora.com.
Laneige The Water Cream
As anyone with eczema can attest, there are few things more annoying than having to apply makeup on an eczema-stricken face. Laneige’s water cream is great because it basically doubles as primer. The formula soaks in quickly and provides a silky layer over any rough, cracked skin, making it much easier to apply foundation on top. In terms of skincare benefits, it’s infused with highly concentrated green mineral water and green extracts from brussel sprouts, artichoke, and lima beans to help strengthen the defensive barrier and keep skin hydrated throughout the day.
To buy: $38; sephora.com.
Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Antioxidant Face Oil
Facial oils can protect vulnerable skin from harmful pollutants that trigger eczema. My thirsty pores drink this stuff up—I use it every night as the last step in my skincare routine, and it quenches my parched complexion without leaving behind a greasy residue.
To buy: $40; sephora.com.