6 Essential Products for Eczema: A Dermatologist’s Guide

Dermatologist recommendations for eczema

Whether you’ve been battling eczema for years or are new to the club, finding the right products to manage your symptoms can be a challenge. To help, we’ve consulted with dermatologists who have provided insights on the essential products that can make a difference. From moisturizers to sunblock, here are six must-haves for eczema and why they work.

What are some important products and ingredients to prioritize?

Here are six types of products or ingredients that dermatologists recommend for people with eczema:

  • Petroleum-based moisturizers
  • Pramoxine (an ingredient to treat itchiness)
  • Colloidal oatmeal (an ingredient to treat itchiness)
  • Fragrance-free laundry essentials
  • Physical sunblock
  • 100% cotton clothing

Why are these types of products important for eczema management and how do they help?

1. Moisturizers

Keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized is crucial for eczema management. Dermatologists suggest using a hypoallergenic, petroleum-based moisturizer. According to Dr. JiaDe (Jeff) Yu, a board-certified dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, thick and clear petrolatum ointments are the best for maintaining moisture in the skin. These ointments have low water and alcohol content, which prevents burning when applied.

2. Pramoxine

During flare-ups, the skin can become itchy and irritated. Dr. Paul Yamauchi, a dermatologist at the Dermatology Institute & Skin Care Center in Santa Monica, recommends products containing pramoxine. This ingredient blocks nerve endings in the skin, providing relief from itchiness and pain associated with eczema.

3. Colloidal oatmeal

Colloidal oatmeal is another effective anti-itch ingredient to look out for. Dr. Yamauchi suggests either soaking in a bath with colloidal oatmeal or using creams formulated with it. Colloidal oatmeal forms a protective barrier on the skin, helping retain moisture, reducing inflammation, and relieving itchiness.

4. Fragrance-free laundry essentials

Finding the right laundry products is vital for people with eczema. Detergents and softeners can contain harsh cleansing agents and irritants that trigger flare-ups. Dr. Yu advises against using fragranced laundry products, as they are common causes of skin irritation and rash. Dr. Sabra Leitenberger, an associate professor of pediatric dermatology, adds that fragrances can compound atopic dermatitis, causing even more itch and inflammation. It’s best to opt for fragrance-free options and avoid softeners or laundry sheets, as they can be allergenic and irritating to the skin.

5. Cotton clothing

Certain fabrics, such as wool-based materials, can irritate the skin. Dr. Yu suggests choosing 100% organic cotton clothing. These garments are softer and less likely to contain potential dyes and chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions.

6. Sunblock

Sunscreen is a crucial component of any eczema-focused routine. However, not all sunscreens are suitable for sensitive skin. Dr. Leitenberger advises against chemical sunscreens that contain ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate, as they may cause allergic contact dermatitis and irritate already inflamed skin. Instead, look for physical sunblocks, which contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These create a barrier to block UV rays without causing irritation. Opt for broad spectrum and water-resistant options for optimal UV protection, especially for children. As always, choose fragrance-free options.

How can someone with eczema easily find these products?

  • Read labels carefully to identify fragrance-free products and beneficial ingredients.
  • Consult with a dermatologist for personalized product recommendations.
  • Check out NEA’s Seal of Acceptance Product Directory for easier product searches.


Q: Can I use any moisturizer for eczema?
A: No, it’s important to choose a hypoallergenic, petroleum-based moisturizer that is thick and clear. This type of moisturizer helps maintain moisture in the skin without causing irritation.

Q: Are fragranced laundry products safe for eczema-prone skin?
A: Fragranced laundry products can be common triggers for eczema flare-ups. It’s best to opt for fragrance-free options to minimize skin irritation.

Q: Why is cotton clothing recommended for people with eczema?
A: Cotton clothing is softer and less likely to contain dyes and chemicals that can cause allergic reactions. It allows the skin to breathe and reduces the risk of irritation.


Investing in the right products is essential for managing eczema symptoms. By prioritizing petroleum-based moisturizers, pramoxine, colloidal oatmeal, fragrance-free laundry essentials, physical sunblock, and cotton clothing, individuals with eczema can find relief and maintain healthier skin. Remember to read product labels, consult with dermatologists, and explore reputable resources like NEA’s Seal of Acceptance Product Directory to make the search for eczema-friendly products easier.