Visit any drug store or beauty supply shop and you'll notice the aisles bursting with lotions, creams and ointments. Though it may seem that they all do the same thing, there are important differences when it comes to moisturizing eczema. The key is to find a product with enough oil to retain moisture and prevent excessive dryness.
- Lotions are the mildest of the bunch when it comes to moisturizing eczema. Lotion contains oil but its main ingredient is water -- since water eventually evaporates, this won't do much for extremely dry, itchy skin. Lotion is a good option for people with mild cases of eczema or for those who live in humid climates [source: National Eczema Association, EczemaNet].
- Cream is the next step up from lotion as it contains equal parts water and oil. Because the goal is to create a layer between moistened skin and the environment, a thick barrier like cream can help do the job. However, people with dry skin should note that some creams have additives and preservatives that can cause irritation [source: National Eczema Association, EczemaNet].
- The best way to moisturize eczema is to use ointment since the product contains 80 percent oil and 20 percent water. Viscous ointments create a visible layer atop skin to trap in moisture, though they can feel a bit greasy. If you decide to go the ointment route, make sure not to use these products on areas of the body that get excessively sweaty [source: EczemaNet].
On the next page, learn why people with eczema should pretend the words "handle with care" are stamped across their skin.