Eczema Cream

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a fairly common skin allergy condition among infants and small children.

My husband is a chronic eczema sufferer and continues to have eczema episodes well into his 30s. So it’s no surprise that our son was born with apparent eczema around his joints, which was confirmed by the doctor a few weeks after birth. With my husband’s 30+ years of experience in eczema treatment, he told me a few things to help get me started on the long-term eczema battle.

I’m sure those of you that have been struggling with your baby’s eczema know almost everything, but I wanted to stress this one point before I start the review:

  • No lotion, no matter how frequently and how much you use, will make eczema go away. It’ll only provide some relief.

The reason this point is important is that you may have noticed reviews for various brands of eczema cream are all over the place, more so than most other baby products, except for toys. You can find people loving or hating just about any brand of eczema cream. One reason is that eczema cannot be cured.

One can only say that one lotion definitely works better than another by subjective observations. Another reason, which I’ll discuss in greater detail below, is there are so many different types of eczema, and some creams will work better for some types of eczema.

I will categorize commonly seen baby/toddler eczema types into the following categories, and I’ll provide reviews based on the categories vs. the type of eczema.

Types of Eczema

After discussing with many mamas who have babies with eczema, and reading tons of online reviews, I recently realized something that I’ve never seen any other eczema articles mention— there are many types of atopic dermatitis.

They appear on different areas of the body and occur under different conditions, and they require different types of cream to help.

Based on my unscientific discovery, I’m categorizing commonly seen eczema into the following categories, all of which my poor little one has:

  1. On the joints, specifically wrists and ankles
    These, along with patches on face and cheeks, tend to appear earlier than others. Personally, I feel like these are the toughest to heal and the most bothersome for my little one. After these areas of skin suffer from eczema for a few months, the skin texture takes a rough leather-like appearance.
  2. Inside elbows and knees
    These are not dry, scaly skin that you see on the joints. These are caused by moisture retention from sweat and usually develop later. My son started having these around 21 months. Many adults have these too.
  3. Larger patches on face, cheeks or other flat areas
    These are the most common among young infants and tend to appear earlier than the rest.
  4. Dry circular-shaped or small patches on flat areas of the body
    These don’t seem to bother my son much. They appear everywhere on his body, including the trunk, limbs and neck. I don’t find the thicker cream to be more helpful than thinner lotion for this type.
  5. Bumpy patches often found on thighs and arms
    I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with these yet since they’re fairly new to me. My son has them on the back of his thighs. The skin is not dry or scaly at all, just red and raised, and becomes brown and flatter after a few weeks. Nothing short of hydrocortisone seems to work.
Types of Cream
  • Thinner texture

This is the most common type of cream. Popular brands include Aveeno, California Baby, Weleda, CeraVe and Cetaphil. These work well with types 3 and 4, especially for milder eczema where skin doesn’t crack.

  • Thicker Texture

Popular brands include Aquaphor and Gentle Naturals. Some moms just use Vaseline. They act as a sealer to seal moisture in. These work more effectively with types 1, 2 and 4, especially moderate to severe, dry types of eczema. The tricky part is if applied too thick, they can cause itchiness too. So make sure you rub them between the palms before applying.

  • Coconut oil (virgin)

Coconut, vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, or olive oil are all included in this family. I singled out coconut oil because of its online reputation for miraculous eczema cure. Although the oil comes in the solid form while in the tube, it turns into liquid upon touch, so it’s really just like liquid oil. It is also great as a natural diaper rash cream.

  • Hydrocortisone 1%

We use hydrocortisone as a last resort. Like anything with active ingredients, I don’t think the brand matters. Just look for anything that labels 1% hydrocortisone. We use Aveeno and haven’t tried other brands.


Review

Conclusion: After trying so many types and brands of eczema creams, my all time favorite is Gentle Naturals. This brand is not as well known as others, and can’t easily be found on the market. It is such a pity because it works better than all that I’ve tried. If you read all the reviews on Amazon too, you’ll see many reviewers of popular brands commenting that they still think Gentle Naturals is better, so I am confident I’m not alone. You really should give it a try if you haven’t!

Eczema Creams Review Table
Cream Name
Best For
Review
Overall Rating
Price Range (incl. shipping or tax)
Where to Buy
Similar Products
Gentle Naturals Baby Eczema Moderate to severe, dry types of eczema like type 1; but also great for all types 1-5 This is my favorite and the least known, undervalued eczema cream all around! The consistency is between Aveeno and Aquaphor. It provides more moisture than Aquaphor, and more sealing power than Aveeno. Before applying, rub it between your palms to soften the lotion a little. Start with a thin layer and apply more if the lotion seems to disappear right away (for severely dry eczema). A little goes a long way, and too much may be uncomfortable for the baby. 5 stars $7-9 for 4oz Easiest to find online such as Amazon or Diapers.com. Occasionally spotted at Walgreens. Aveeno + Aquaphor. When I misplaced the lotion, I use Aveeno first and then Aquaphor.
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream Baby Mild eczema, types 2-5 My husband swears on this and I used it for the first few months of baby’s life. I always felt like the thin lotion just disappeared as soon as I put it on, and wasn’t sure if it really did anything except for on his face and cheeks. Now I understand it’s probably because my husband’s eczema are type 3 and 5, and my son’s biggest problem is type 1, which requires much thicker ointment. I’ll give it a pretty good review based on my husband and a huge population online. 4 stars $7-9 for 5oz Available almost everywhere lotions are sold Cetaphil, CeraVe, Weleda, Episencial.
Episencial Soothing Cream for Eczema and Acne Mild eczema, types 2-5 Another mom of two eczema kids I know swears on this, and she’s tried everything I’ve tried. My coworker also uses this herself and claims it’s magical. I don’t find it particularly helpful, but I found out that none of their eczema is severe enough to crack. However, I do agree with them this cream makes skin extremely soft and supple. I suspect it working well with many babies with mild to moderate eczema, especially on the face. It stings a little if the skin is flaky, though. I like to apply it all over my son’s body right after bath before applying Gentle Naturals. It provides extra moisture and softener for his skin, and it’s really hard to apply Gentle Naturals all over the body. 4 stars $11 for 4oz Online Aveeno et al.
Aquaphor/Eucerin Healing Ointment Advanced Therapy Moderate to severe dry eczema, type 1 I tried this before I discovered Gentle Naturals because of raving online reviews. I feel like it’s very thick, but not moisturizing enough. It’s almost like applying wax. I suppose it’s great as a sealer, but if the skin is already cracked, it doesn’t feel like it provides much healing power. Besides, it’s really uncomfortable on my hands no matter how much I rub between my palms. I can’t imagine having this stuff on most of my body all day long, especially in summer. 3 stars $8-9.5 for 3oz Available almost everywhere lotions are sold Vaseline
California Baby Calendula Cream On the face, type 3 If you think Aveeno is a little on the thin side, this would evaporate even faster. What I like about it is its food grade, so I used it on the face when my little one was an infant who tended to rub his face and then eat his fists. I also kept one in my purse when traveling as it doubles as nipple cream. 3 stars $20-25 for 3oz Available at Target and online N/A
Coconut Oil (Virgin) Types 2-5, especially the face I had very high hope for coconut oil because of all the positive reviews I’d seen online. As an experiment, I put it on half of my son’s body before I applied Gentle Naturals, to compare with the other half where I had used Episencial and Gentle Naturals. After a week, I didn’t notice much difference, the only one is the skin is immediately supple and soft after application; however, the effect isn’t longer lasting than other lotions. What I like about it though, is it is food grade since it’s a cooking oil. So feel free to apply it on the face and hands as long as your baby doesn’t have coconut allergy. If you want to give it a try, make sure to get virgin coconut oil. 4 stars $7-16 for 16oz Available at Whole Foods, Health Stores or online Vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, olive oil or any natural oil
Hydrocortisone 1% Severe or when skin is inflamed, types 1-5 Yeah I know. I’m the one who goes around and yells “DROP your hydrocortisone and walk away slowly!” But sometimes the poor baby’s skin is so inflamed and in such a deep red color, nothing short of it works. The good news is after 22 months with multiple types of atopic dermatitis, my son has yet to require prescription-strength steroids. Usually hydrocortisone for 2-3 days in a row turns the skin color back from red to, well, skin color. 5 stars when needed $2-7 for 1oz Available in all drugstores N/A

6 Responses to Eczema Cream

  1. Thanks for this! We just found out my son has eczema last week, because he had a HUGE total body outbreak and is currently on prescription cortizone, but this will definitely help when we get it back to a manageable level!

  2. I appreciate this article quite a bit. I have tried many things for my son’s eczema and nothing seems to help so I am willing to try some of the creams you suggested here. Thanks for the tips! : )

  3. I’ve been battling my daughter’s eczema for two years now, using a variety of natural creams & commercial lotions– coconut oil with lavender & beeswax has worked well, evening primrose oil did nothing… Anyway, I recently tried a tonic I read about in my herbal handbook; 2 T of raw apple cider vinegar in 2 c of water with a smidge of honey in it, 1/2 c or so drunk before every meal. We’ve been doing it for 4 days now- not even every meal, but two at least. Her eczema is nearly gone. She can even tell a difference (she’s nearly four) and is motivated to drink the tonic on her own now! I offer her the honey spoon to lick as a treat afterwards & that helps too. :) . Anyway I’m very encouraged. From everything I’ve read, eczema is an autoimmune condition with its roots in digestive health- it’s a huge red flag for underlying allergies & intolerances. Since raw ACV helps even out digestion, it can also dramatically help skin. I’m hopeful that with a full week more of the tonic, as well as continued application of our essential oils/beeswax (hard lotion bar), it may actually clear up once and for all!

  4. PS- my son had all the skin issues you mention above, almost constantly as an infant. They cleared up completely when I realized he was allergic to onions, nutmeg & white potatoes and eliminated them from our diets (since he is still breastfed & reacts when I eat them). Olive leaf extract is also helpful when yeast is a factor (which it has been in the past for him.). We get ours at Mountain Meadow Herbs & it tastes good!
    I know I get dry itchy skin if I eat gluten or soy, to which I’m intolerant! So if your child has recurrent eczema, I’d try to figure out some food or environmental allergens! (try the ALCAT or muscle response testing- many chiropractors can do that)

  5. (Aveeno has oatmeal in it, which usually comtains gluten, so it would make things worse for lids with gluten sensitivities)

  6. Pingback: My cat has eczema and need treatment advice? - Eczema News

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