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Many creams and moisturizers on the market have been crafting their products to meet the needs of eczema sufferers. These brands  include QV, Physiogel, and CeraVe. 

Unbeknownst to many users, some of these products have the potential to exacerbate eczema symptoms. 

This phenomenon is attributed to the presence of specific ingredients within these formulations, which may incite flareups or irritation in certain individuals. 

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of this issue, exploring the factors contributing to such adverse effects and potential strategies for mitigating them. 

eczema cream, eczema relief cream

The Link Between Eczema and Skin Barrier

Eczema is often associated with a defective skin barrier, which is critical for maintaining the skin’s natural hydration and protection. 

The skin barrier is composed of a bilayer of phospholipids, which helps to retain moisture within the skin while preventing bacteria and allergens from entering the body.

Creams that are sold in Guardian or Watson  typically have both hydrophilic (water-loving) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) properties. The hydrophilic property allows the cream to attract and retain water, providing hydration to the skin. On the other hand, the hydrophobic property helps to retain moisture within the skin, preventing it from evaporating too quickly.

Cream also have extra ingredients which are meant to improve the skin of an eczema patient. However, it can be quite tricky, so let’s find out more below.

Identifying The Ingredients

There are some common ingredients in creams from brands like QV, Physiogel, and CeraVe that may potentially irritate sensitive eczema skin. They include:

  • Cetyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Alcohol: These emulsifiers and thickeners are present in many of the CeraVe products listed. The alcohol component can be irritating for some individuals with eczema, causing stinging, burning, or redness.
  • Isopropyl Myristate: This emollient is found in CeraVe’s Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion. It can clog pores and potentially trigger acne or folliculitis in some people with eczema.
  • Coconut-Derived Ingredients: Ingredients like sodium cocoyl isethionate and cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, found in QV’s Dermcare Eczema Daily Wash and CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser Bar, are derived from coconut oil. These can be comedogenic (poreclogging) and trigger reactions in those with sensitivities.
  • Fragrances and Preservatives: While many of these brands claim to be fragrancefree, some preservatives like phenoxyethanol (present in CeraVe products) can still irritate eczemaprone skin.
  • Lanolin: This emollient derived from wool is not listed in the provided ingredients, but it is a common allergen that can cause reactions in some individuals with eczema.

10 Eczema Creams with Ingredients to Be Mindful Of

Now that we’ve established that certain ingredients in eczema cream can make the condition worse, let’s examine some commonly used eczema creams. We’ll delve into their key ingredients and identify any potential irritants they may contain.

1. CeraVe Eczema Relief Creamy Oil

CeraVe is designed to provide longlasting hydration and relief from eczema symptoms. It contains ceramides to help repair the skin barrier and hyaluronic acid to retain moisture.

  • Key ingredients: Cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, isononyl isononanoate
  • Potential irritants: Cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol can clog pores and irritate some individuals with eczema, while isononyl isononanoate may cause allergic reactions.

2. Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Aveeno cream is named after Avena Sativa, the botanic name for the common oat. This product uses oat kernel oil to help soothe and moisturize dry, itchy skin. It is fragrancefree and hypoallergenic, making it suitable for sensitive skin.

  • Key ingredients: Oat kernel oil
  • Potential irritants: Oat kernel oil is an unsaturated fat that can spoil and potentially irritate eczemaprone skin.

3. Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Creme

Originally, Eucerin marketed itself as the “pH5” cream, emphasizing its acidity to enhance barrier function support. Specifically formulated for acute stage flare-ups and inflammation, Eucerin AtopiControl Acute Cream is tailored to address these specific needs.

Eucerin is designed to provide 24hour hydration and relief from eczema symptoms. It contains colloidal oatmeal to protect and soothe the skin, licorice root extract to help ease inflammation, and Ceramide3 to lock in moisture.

  • Key ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, licorice root extract, Ceramide3
  • Potential irritants: Mineral oil, which can be comedogenic for some individuals.

4. Cetaphil Restoraderm Eczema Calming Body Moisturizer

Cetaphil Restoraderm is designed to provide longlasting hydration and relief from eczema symptoms. It contains glyceryl stearate to help repair the skin barrier and PEG compounds to retain moisture.

  • Key ingredients: Glyceryl stearate, PEG compounds
  • Potential irritants: Glyceryl stearate and PEG compounds may trigger reactions in those sensitive to them.

5. Gladskin Eczema Cream

This cream is designed to provide relief from eczema symptoms by moisturizing and soothing the skin. It contains coconut oil to help hydrate and protect the skin.

  • Key ingredients: Coconut oil
  • Potential irritants: Coconut oil is comedogenic and can exacerbate eczema flares for some individuals.

6. Vaniply Eczema Care Cream

Vaniply is designed to provide longlasting hydration and relief from eczema symptoms. It contains petrolatum to help lock in moisture and soothe the skin.

  • Key ingredients: Petrolatum
  • Potential irritants: Petrolatum can potentially clog pores and worsen eczema.

7. Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm

This balm is designed to provide fast relief from itchy skin caused by eczema. It contains colloidal oatmeal to help soothe and moisturize the skin.

  • Key ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal
  • Potential irritants: Colloidal oatmeal may cause allergic reactions in a small percentage of people.

8. CeraVe Eczema Soothing Body Wash

This body wash is designed to provide gentle cleansing and relief from eczema symptoms. It contains sodium lauroyl lactylate to help moisturize and soothe the skin.

  • Key ingredients: Sodium lauroyl lactylate
  • Potential irritants: Sodium lauroyl lactylate is a coconutderived surfactant that can irritate some individuals with eczema.

9. Cetaphil PRO Restoraderm Eczema Calming Moisturizer

Cetaphil contains filaggrin technology, ceramides, humectant and emollient function; designed to provide longlasting hydration and relief from eczema symptoms. It also contains glycerin to help retain moisture and soothe the skin.

  • Key ingredients: Glycerin
  • Potential irritants: Glycerin can have a drying effect on some eczema sufferers.

10. Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm Stick

This Aveeno balm stick is designed to provide fast relief from itchy skin caused by eczema. It contains sunflower seed oil to help moisturize and soothe the skin.

  • Key ingredients: Sunflower seed oil
  • Potential irritants: Sunflower seed oil is high in unsaturated fats that can oxidize and irritate skin.


In conclusion, while eczema creams are designed to provide relief from symptoms, it’s important to be mindful of their ingredients. Certain ingredients, such as cetyl alcohol, coconut oil, and fragrances, can potentially exacerbate eczema symptoms for some individuals. Understanding these ingredients and their effects on the skin barrier can help in making informed choices when selecting eczema relief creams.

Additionally, individual sensitivities and overuse of creams can also contribute to worsening symptoms. By being aware of potential irritants and considering each product’s formulation, individuals can better manage their eczema and find creams that work best for their unique skin needs.

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Why does eczema cream make my eczema worse?

There are a few reasons why eczema cream might seem to be making things worse:

  • Irritation: Some creams contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive eczema skin. It is not enough to be looking at fragrance-free and dye-free options; you want to be using creams that are make you feel better.
  • Wrong cream: There are different types of eczema creams, and some patients just respond worse to one cream compared to another. If you feel worse with a cream, stop using it no matter what the advice is – your body knows what feels better or worse, trust it.
  • Creams on erosions: It may make some sense to apply moisturizer creams to red and dry skin, but that reasoning may not hold for weeping discoid lesions. Eczema sufferers who have tried will understand this concept.

Why does my eczema itch more when I put cream on it?

Itching after applying cream is possible for a few reasons:

  • Dryness: There are ‘thin’ creams, oils or gels that are readily absorbed but also leave the skin feeling drier than before.  
  • Moisturizing an ooze: Instead of helping a wet erosion dry out, the moisturizing cream may actually be cause the lesion to fester.
  • Allergic reaction: You might be reacting to an ingredient in the cream.

Is it bad to use eczema cream everyday?

Using eczema cream every day is generally not bad. Regular use of a moisturizer is a key part of managing eczema. 

The regular adage goes something like this: “Keeping your skin hydrated helps strengthen the skin barrier and prevent flare-ups.”

That said, in the world of eczema sufferers, there are a subset of people who fare better without creams, and the reasoning given is that the skin has a chance to breathe and learn to adapt and not be reliant on exogenous moisturizers. Google: moisturizer withdrawal, NMT.

Does eczema get worse before it gets better?

Hopefully it just gets better.

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