What types of eczema cream are there?
Eczema can be treated with two main types of cream: emollients (moisturising treatments which soothes the skin) and topical corticosteroids. Depending on how severe your eczema is, these creams can be used alongside each other, to reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups. If your eczema is less severe, you may only need emollients.
How emollients work
Emollients should be applied on a daily basis and are used to prevent dry skin, which will make eczema symptoms worse. The benefit of using an emollient is that it can be used as often as needed, ideally 3 to 4 times a day. Emollients work by providing moisture, which prevents inflammation and flare-ups, and soothes the symptoms when they happen.
Types of emollients
There are several different types and brands of emollients, which all work to soothe and heal the skin.
- Aveeno lotion is used as required and is applied directly to dry areas of the skin. It works by moisturising these areas with soothing ingredients, such as oatmeal. Regular use can prevent irritation and dryness and is effective in preventing eczema flare-ups.
- Cetraben cream is an effective solution to eczema and was the first skin care range approved by the British Skin Foundation. It locks in moisture and repairs the skin barrier, protecting against eczema triggers and moisture loss. Cetraben can be used as needed on dry, itchy skin.
How topical corticosteroids work
Topical corticosteroids are moisturisers that contain a steroid, used directly on affected areas of skin. Steroids reduce inflammation of the skin, which can reduce redness, swelling, and itching during flare-ups. These are used sparingly and as instructed on the packet, or by a healthcare professional, as they can have side effects if used too much.
Types of topical corticosteroids
- Hydrocortisone cream can offer effective relief from itching, irritation and inflammation caused by eczema flare-ups. This is used sparingly, 1 to 2 times a day for a maximum of 1 week.
- Eumovate cream is a suitable treatment for short term use of eczema flare-ups. This is used sparingly, 2 times daily to the affected areas of the skin, for up to 7 days.
Both of these creams also come in ointment form.
What is the best eczema cream?
Each eczema treatment has its own benefits. Creams are more effective for eczema that is weepy and moist. Ointments are greasier and thicker than creams, making them better for those with dry, flaky areas of eczema.
Emollients are best for dry, itchy skin that needs some added moisture. If you have sensitive skin, Aveeno lotion contains natural ingredients and is great for everyday use. Cetraben cream works better for those with very dry skin, as creams are slightly thicker and last longer than lotions.
During flare-ups, hydrocortisone cream is effective as a mild strength steroid treatment. Eumovate cream is a moderate steroid treatment and may work better if your flare-up is more serious, but you need to be assessed by a doctor.
If you have never used eczema cream before, or don’t know which one you need, our doctors can recommend and prescribe the best treatment for you.
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