This article originally appeared on InStyle.
Applying beauty products isn’t supposed to ignite a flame of intense anxiety, but when you have eczema-prone skin and the wrong ingredient can flare up an itchy red rash and a lot of sensitivity, the simplest act of cleansing can be understandably stressful.
Because ditching your serum or moisturizer isn’t a solution at all (in fact, regular hydration actually helps eczema), we reached out to top dermatologists for their thoughts on the best skincare products to use when you’re dealing with this chronic skin condition.
This cream doesn’t lack moisture, that’s for sure, but it delivers the TLC in the most gentle way possible. It’s a must-have for eczema-prone skin, according to Beverly Hills-based dermatologist and founder of SKINxFIVE, Dr. Ava Shamban.
Dr. Ava Shamban also recommends checking out products from Restorsea, as the brand’s products are made with an ingredient that’s derived from salmon eggs and can be beneficial for eczema.
Dr. William Kwan, a board-certified dermatologist in San Francisco and an ethnic skin expert recommends CeraVe Moisturizing Cream because it’s rich in ceramides which “help restore some of the deficiency in the skin” and also has the hydrating benefits of hyaluronic acid.
“My ethnic skin type patients become especially concerned with the dark or white spots that can develop during an eczema flare up,” says Dr. Kwan. “To help reduce flares in ethnic skin, one should moisturize regularly. Patients with eczema also have a barrier defect in the skin which allows the outside allergens to penetrate and irritate the skin more easily. This defect also causes moisture loss, due to the skin’s lack of ceramides and lipids.”
To tackle this, he also recommends Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream because it’s filled with ceramides, oatmeal, and licochalcone.
Need a cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of moisture—and make your rashes even worse? “Epionce Milky Lotion Cleanser is formulated for very sensitive skin to help prevent scale and infection from forming in the eczema patches without causing further damage to the skin barrier,” explains board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Carl Thornfeldt.
Dr. Melanie Palm, a board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and the founder of Art of Skin MD, suggests this moisturizer because it has therapeutic properties.
She explains it’s made with ingredients like the skin barrier-repairing protein, ceramide-3, which is often depleted in eczema-prone skin, the anti-inflammatory vitamin B3, and thermal spring water. She explains the latter is an anti-inflammatory, repairs the natural balance of bacteria on our skin, and moisturizes.
Now here’s something to stock in your medicine cabinet! “In an eczema flare with red, irritated, and itchy skin, a strong anti-inflammatory is absolutely necessary,” suggests Dr. Palm. “Short of seeing a dermatologist and obtaining a prescription strength topical medication, over-the-counter hydrocortisone is the most powerful topical medication available to readers to tame an eczema flare.”