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The itchy skin and inflammation from eczema can be uncomfortable. It has even taken a toll on my appearance and confidence. Eczema symptoms can be annoying, but I’ve learned that eczema can be more manageable with a little bit of time and attention.
One of the main factors in controlling eczema flare-ups is what you put on your body. The products you use on your skin can make symptoms better or worse.
So, here are five skincare ingredients that can help soothe, calm, and, in some cases, prevent eczema from flaring up.
Skincare Ingredient #1: Ceramides
Ceramides in skincare can restore the ceramides in your skin, helping to keep the skin barrier strong.
Ceramides are one of three types of lipids (fats) that help keep moisture in the skin. You can think of ceramides as the “glue” that bonds your skin cells together.
Your skin barrier is like a brick wall. Your skin cells are like bricks, and the lipids in between them (ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids) are like the mortar.
The mortar holds the bricks together, so the wall’s foundation is strong, and nothing can get through. Similarly, the lipids in your skin create a protective outer layer to keep your skin barrier strong and make it hard to penetrate. When the skin barrier’s structure is strong, it can safeguard the skin from environmental factors and retain its moisture.
As you age, the amount of ceramides in your skin reduces, causing dry, rough skin, wrinkles, redness, irritation, and dehydration. Additionally, compromised skin, like those with eczema, has a weak skin barrier making it easier for irritants to penetrate the skin and cause inflammation.
Some great products with ceramides are below.
Products To Try:
- CeraVe Soothing Eczema Creamy Oil, Moisturizer, $19
- Avene XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream, $33
- Paula’s Choice Omega+ Complex Serum, $37
- Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Peptide Face Cream, $50
Skincare Ingredient #2: Colloidal Oatmeal
Colloidal oatmeal is an excellent ingredient for any skin type, but it’s especially wonderful for those with eczema. It’s an emollient that protects the skin barrier by providing moisture. Colloidal oatmeal is made from ground oats. And when the ground oats are combined with water or another liquid, the mixture forms a protective film on the skin’s surface.
Oatmeal has been used for centuries in skincare since it’s known for soothing itchy skin and calming eczema flare-ups. It is also an anti-inflammatory, which targets and helps treat irritation and redness. Another critical benefit of colloidal oatmeal is that most people can use it without having an adverse reaction.
Whenever my skin is extremely itchy, I take an oatmeal bath. I add a cup of ground oatmeal in some stockings and drop it in my bathwater. You can use a muslin cloth instead of pantyhose if you have it on hand.
Some great products that contain oatmeal are below too.
Products To Try:
- Aveeno Baby Soothing Bath Treatment with 100% Natural Colloidal Oatmeal, $9
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Relief Eczema Cream with Colloidal Oatmeal, $15
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask, $24
- Eczema Honey Original Skin-Soothing Cream, $30
- Topicals Like Butter Mask for Dry, Sensitive & Eczema-Prone Skin, $32
Skincare Ingredient #3: Humectants
Humectants are a group of ingredients that help the skin retain moisture. Essentially, humectants work to increase the water content in the skin by attracting water like a magnet, which helps manage dry, dehydrated, and irritated skin needing barrier repair.
When you have eczema, it’s common to experience flaking, cracking, and chafing of the skin. Consequently, humectants can improve the sensation and appearance of inflamed, flaky skin commonly seen from scratching and rubbing during eczema flare-ups.
Some common humectants are hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe vera. Check out a few great products with humectants below.
Products To Try:
- La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, $30
- Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Booster with Ceramides, $36
- Skinfix Barrier+ Triple Lipid-Hyaluronate Serum, $50
- NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, $60
Skincare Ingredient #4: Petrolatum
Petroleum is an occlusive that creates a protective barrier on your skin. And it’s a great ingredient to relieve itchiness, flakiness, and inflammation and help your skin retain moisture and heal.
Since people with eczema have compromised skin barriers, moisture loss and dry skin are common. And if you scratch too hard during an eczema flare-up, you can experience broken skin, which can leave your skin vulnerable to additional irritation, allergic reactions, and potentially infection.
Petroleum is well tolerated for all skin types, especially sensitive skin, making it an ideal treatment for eczema flare-ups. Unlike some products that can sting and cause discomfort, petroleum is hypoallergenic. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties that alleviate irritation, redness, and discomfort. The National Eczema Association has even stated that the most common petroleum product, Vaseline® Jelly Original, is suitable for eczema sufferers and people with sensitive skin conditions.
Here are some great petroleum products below.
Products To Try:
- Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly, $6
- Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $15
- CeraVe Healing Ointment, $12
- Gladskin Eczema Cream with Micreobalance, $35
Skincare Ingredient #5: Shea Butter
Shea butter is a common ingredient in moisturizers and body lotions. But, shea butter is a powerhouse ingredient on its own. Shea butter has natural emollient and occlusive properties, providing a protective layer over your skin that prevents water loss while also smoothing dry, flaky skin.
Shea butter has been used for years in beauty products because of its antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties.
And the best shea butter for eczema is unrefined because it doesn’t have any added scents or ingredients.
Check out these shea butter products below.
Products To Try:
- La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Soothing Therapeutic Multi-Purpose Cream, $16
- Sun Potion Shea Butter Skin Food, $20
- La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Moisturizing Body & Face Cream, $20
- Skinfix Eczema+ Dermatitis Face Balm, $28
- Hanahana Beauty Unscented Shea Body Butter, $28
- Sknmuse Cacao Body Butter, $35
Some things to consider…
Although these ingredients are great for eczema-prone skin, you should still do a patch test. The National Eczema Association recommends conducting a patch test on any new product and avoiding usage if you experience any irritation.
If your eczema symptoms continue regardless of the products you use, talk to a dermatologist for further treatment. Eczema can be tricky to navigate, but keeping the skin barrier strong and locking in moisture is the name of the game when it comes to relief.
Do you use these skincare ingredients to calm and soothe your eczema? Let me know in the comments below.