I've Tried Every Eczema Treatment From Creams to Steroids–These Are the Only Products That Work
Eczema symptoms are different for everyone, which makes finding an effective eczema treatment a constant struggle. Here are the best creams, ointments and products I've found.
You know that commercial about the woman who doesn’t want to leave her house because of her eczema? I used to think that chick was overly dramatic until I experienced my own debilitating eczema flare (that lasted the entire winter, mind you). I started to realize eczema is really serious and impacts a lot of people.
Over 30 million Americans have a form of eczema and, though it’s manageable, finding the right eczema treatment can be an ongoing challenge and an extremely frustrating journey.
What Is Eczema?
According to the National Eczema Association, eczema is a group of conditions that causes the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. There are many different kinds of eczema, which include: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.
The good news is, eczema isn’t contagious. The bad news? There’s no cure and the skin condition can be caused by the environment and a combination of genes. It’s also very common for babies and young children to develop eczema, especially on their cheeks and chin. Since there is no cure, children may continue to experience eczema as they get older.
Eczema Treatment Options
Eczema symptoms are different for everyone, which makes finding an effective eczema treatment a constant struggle. I was diagnosed with eczema about three years ago and, since then, I have experienced the most painful, red, flakey, itchy patches on the insides of my arms, thighs, hands, and in between my fingers. I’ve noticed that my eczema definitely flares up the most in the dry winter months, but it’s something I struggle to keep at bay all year round.
There are tons of eczema treatments on the market—both prescription and over-the-counter. My dermatologist has prescribed me various eczema creams, steroids, lotions, and ointments over the years, and finding a product that truly worked for me was a discouraging process and wildly taxing on my mental health.
My first eczema treatment was a steroid called Fluocinonide, which seemed promising. Within hours, my eczema began to improve, but since this steroid cream was extremely strong, I was instructed to use it for no more than 10 days. So, it was back to the drawing board to find another resolve.
Next, I tried an ointment called Protopic, which didn’t contain steroids. I was excited about this option because if it worked, I’d be able to continue using it without worrying about the dangerous side effects of steroids. Unfortunately, it didn’t do anything for my painful eczema flares, so it was on to the next one.
The third eczema treatment I tried was called Eucrisa. I felt confident about this topical ointment because it was advertised on TV literally every 10 minutes. Not only was it a new product, but you could use it anywhere on your body, including your face (thankfully my eczema was contained only to my limbs). Eucrisa was a very gentle treatment and I saw slight improvements after using it for a few weeks. But as my luck would have it, my awful eczema prevailed and I was back to being itchy and uncomfortable.
After my last attempt to find an eczema solution, I decided to take a break from trying different prescriptions. I read a lot about people finding success using alternative treatments, including over-the-counter products and many natural therapies. I was determined to find something that worked, and spoiler alert: I finally did.
The Eczema Treatments That Finally Worked
The path to finding an effective eczema treatment has not only been grueling but expensive. Between co-pays and medications, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars with nothing to show for it. It wasn’t until I researched other therapies did I realize that I may be able to find a treatment that works and is actually affordable. After years of trial and error, these products are my saving grace when my eczema flares up:
To buy: $1.50; target.com.
This multi-purpose product can be found in every bathroom of my house. When I see early signs of an eczema flare, I apply a thin layer of Vaseline to the area and it keeps my skin soft and well moisturized. It also prevents my eczema from getting worse in that spot.
EmuaidMAX First Aid Ointment
To buy: $58; dermstore.com.
Although it isn’t as cheap as Vaseline, this ointment contains a complex blend of concentrated medical grade ingredients known to help many irritating skin conditions in addition to eczema, including severe boils, hemorrhoids, cold sores, fungal infections, poison ivy, and psoriasis. It doesn’t cure my eczema completely, but it definitely improves the dry red patches I have.
Eucerin Advanced Repair
To buy: $13; bedbathandbeyond.com.
I always moisturize after a shower, but I’ve found that using Eucerin cream daily helps prevent my eczema flares. It also keeps my skin so soft for the entire day.
Vanicream Cleansing Bar
To buy: $6; walmart.com.
Just like Vaseline, the brand Vanicream has been around for decades, and there’s definitely a reason for its longevity. There are tons of gentle body cleansers and soaps, but most of them still seem to irritate my skin. The Vanicream cleansing bar is perfect for sensitive skin and has helped improve redness.
If you’re on a mission to find the best eczema treatment, remember that prescriptions aren’t your only option. It may take some time to find what products work best for you, but keep in mind you’re not alone—there are over 30 million of us itching for that final relief.