Mohs Surgery & Dermatology Center

Eczema (Dermatitis)

Moisturizers for Eczema

One of the most important self-care steps for treating and managing atopic dermatitis (eczema) is to use a moisturizer.

Moisturizers provide a layer of protection from irritants, trap moisture in the skin, help restore the skin barrier, and improve the skin’s appearance.

Regular use of a moisturizer may reduce the need for other medicines.

Moisturizers are best applied at least twice a day within 3 minutes after a bath, shower, or swim.

When choosing a moisturizer, look for a hypoallergenic and ointment-based product. Thicker moisturizers will protect the skin longer than lighter lotions. Avoid moisturizers containing alcohol, fragrances, or other chemicals that can irritate the skin. Even seemingly harmless substances like glycerin can dry the skin of people with atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Possible moisturizers include:

  • Aveeno®
  • CeraVe®
  • Cetaphil®
  • Eucerin®
  • Aquaphor®
  • Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly—-though thick, it is quickly absorbed by very dry skin

Before applying the moisturizer, use tepid water and a gentle cleanser to remove dead skin cells. Do not scrub or rub excessively. Apply the moisturizer immediately afterward while the skin is still damp.

Remember to use plenty of moisturizer to keep atopic dermatitis (eczema) under control, especially in children. Keeping a child’s skin sufficiently moisturized could require as much as 1-2 bottles of moisturizer per week. Adults will need even more.


Reference: Vivacare