Skincare

Eczema Skincare Products: The Ultimate Guide. [2022]

Eczema-skincare-products-bottle-purple
There are a boatload of different eczema skincare products to choose from. Here, we'll cover all of the ones that you need to know about. We'll explore their purpose, how to use them effectively and run through examples.

Here's a list of all the various skincare product types that you'll find in this guide:

  • Cleansers
  • Moisturisers
  • Sunscreen
  • Serums
  • Niacinamide
  • Toner
  • Spring Water
  • Wet Wrap Therapy

The Purpose Of Using Eczema Skincare Products

Eczema is caused by a defect in the skin barrier. This makes it easy for water to escape and for our skin to become irritated. Applying skincare products is designed to repair the skin barrier and prevent dryness.

Each of the following product categories have a role in helping to prevent and tackle eczema flare-ups by acting on the skin barrier.

Eczema Skincare Products - The Ultimate Guide

Cleansers

What Do They Do?

Cleansers are designed to remove bacteria, dirt and pollutants within the skin. They are often enriched with various nourishing skincare ingredients.

When Should They Be Used?

You should cleanse your skin once a day in the evening (PM).

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to wash your face in the morning (if you've diligently followed your evening routine). However, if you've done a morning workout or prefer to wash your face then, use your hydrating cleanser at the start of the day too.

How Should They Be Used?

Wash your face with lukewarm water and use a few drops of cleanser. Next, Pat your face dry with a microfibre cloth.

What To Choose?

Make sure to pick a gentle, non-alcohol-based, hydrating cleanser. The CeraVe hydrating gentle cleanser is an excellent option for eczema skin. It is formulated with moisturising lipids and is hypoallergenic.

Always remember to test-patch any new skincare items and introduce them one at a time.

Examples:

CeraVe Hydrating Gentle Cleanser (https://www.cerave.com/skincare/cleansers/hydrating-facial-cleanser)

Moisturisers

What Do They Do?

You're probably well acquainted with moisturisers (also known as emollients), but what do they actually do? Well, a lot. They improve skin hydration, add lipids to your skin and repair the skin barrier. They are the most vital part of your skincare routine.

When Should They Be Used?

Use them as often as you like; the more frequent, the better. At a minimum, apply them in the morning and before bed. Moisturisers should ideally be used all year round, even when your skin is clear and more so during flare-ups.

How Should They Be Used?

  • Take a liberal amount of moisturiser and warm it up in your hands (make sure to use a clean spoon if it's being taken from a tub to prevent infections).
  • Gently massage the moisturiser in a downward direction; try not to rub it in.
  • Avoid wiping off the moisturiser; let it settle into the skin instead.
  • Top tip: Apply your moisturiser on slightly damp skin to lock in moisture and apply it immediately after bathing or washing to prevent dryness.

What To Choose?

There are many different types of moisturisers. They can be divided based on their water/oil content: lotions, gels, creams, and ointments.

Lotions have the least oil content, whilst ointments have the most. So the more significant your skin dryness, the more you need an oily moisturiser - simples.

They can also be divided based on the ingredients they contain. The best tend to have the following:

  • Ceramides
  • Urea
  • Niacinamide
  • Colloidal Oat.

As an example, a good moisturising routine looks like the following:

During the day, use a cream such as the CeraVe moisturising cream or La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume.

At night, layer your cream and then a heavier emulsifying ointment, such as QV intensive ointment or Epaderm ointment.

Examples:

CeraVe Moisturising Cream (https://www.cerave.com/skincare/moisturizers/moisturizing-cream)

La Roche Posay Lipikar Baulme (https://www.laroche-posay.co.uk/en_GB/lipikar-moisturising-balm/)

Epaderm Ointment (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Epaderm-Emollient-Dry-Skin-500g/)

QV Intensive Ointment (https://www.qvskincare.co.uk/all-products/qv-intensive-ointment.html#)

Sunscreen

What Do They Do?

The evidence suggests that sunlight can lead to skin flare-ups. This is because sunlight splits into UV light, which can damage the skin and lead to inflammation.

Sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet damage. Sunscreen is vital in protecting against skin cancer, sunburns and can even prevent signs of ageing.

It is even more critical in eczema to prevent damage to the skin barrier.

When Should They Be Used?

Use daily in the morning, despite the seasons, your age or whether you're in or outdoors. This is because even small amounts of sunlight contain UV light, which damages the skin.

How Should They Be Used?

Take 2 finger lengths of sunscreen and apply it over your face and neck. Use more for sun-exposed areas. Sunscreen lip balms are a good solution if you're prone to eczema on the lips. And don't forget to top up regularly during the day.

What To Choose?

Try to look out for sunscreens that are hypoallergenic, alcohol-free and fragrance-free. Also, avoid any chemical sunscreens as they can irritate the skin.

They can come in different shapes and sizes. Most sunscreens are available as creams, sprays, balms and sticks, so choose the one that works best for you. A good example is to use a cream in the morning and then top it up with a spray during the day.

The SPF is an indication of the level of protection that the sunscreen provides. Look for products that are SPF 30 and above.

Good examples include Avene's very high protection mineral fluid SPF50+ sun cream because it's specifically formulated for sensitive skin, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Another option is Cerave Moisturising lotion SPF50.

Examples:

Avene Very High Protection Mineral Fluid SPF50+ (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Avene-Protection-Mineral-Cream-SPF50/)

Cerave Moisturising Lotion SPF50 (https://www.cerave.co.uk/our-products/face-moisturisers/am-facial-moisturising-lotion-with-spf-50)

Serum

What Do They Do?

Serums are skincare products applied to the skin after cleansing but before moisturising. They're designed to deliver powerful ingredients directly into the skin.

There are many different types of serums which tackle various skin concerns:

  • For Hydration
  • For Redness
  • For Hyperpigmentation
  • For Textual Irregularities
  • For Ageing

When Should They Be Used?

They're commonly used in the morning and evening.

How Should They Be Used?

Each product is used differently, so follow individual instructions. However, as a rule of thumb, you'll want to do the following when using serums:

  • Less is more; a few drops will go a long way.
  • Always apply to damp skin.
  • Always follow with a moisturiser; you can even try mixing serum with your moisturiser to gently introduce the serum to your skin.
  • Avoid during flare-ups.
  • Test patch first, incorporate it into your skincare routine a few days a week, and then build it up.

What To Choose?

A good one, to begin with, is hydrating serums that include Hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant which means it helps to maintain skin moisture. It works by attracting water from deeper levels of the skin to the surface. It also prevents water loss and creates a hydrated skin microenvironment.

It can be found in some moisturisers, but more commonly, it's included in serums.

Examples:

Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid (https://www.boots.com/the-ordinary-hyaluronic-acid-2-b5)

Niacinamide

What Does It Do?

Niacinamide is water soluble vitamin B3. It has many benefits, including skin conditioning, anti-inflammatory, anti-redness, barrier protection and reducing itchy sensations.

Several trials have shown that Niacinamide can help improve eczema, increase hydration, and prevent water loss. It has also been shown to be an anti-inflammatory agent.

It's an excellent steroid-free option for those seeking to tackle the effects of flare-ups and repair the skin barrier.

When Should They Be Used?

Add Niacinamide to your PM routine. When you start off, apply it on alternate days to build it into your skincare routine.

What To Choose?

Niacinamide is found as a gel or cream instead of a serum. Use small amounts and apply over the face or affected areas. Similar to serums, use it before you apply your moisturiser.

Adex gel is a good option which contains Niacinamide and is specifically formulated for eczema skin.

Examples:

Adex Gel (https://www.adexgel.com/)

Barriers/Slugging

What Do They Do?

Barrier products work to lock in skincare ingredients underneath. The idea is to apply all your skincare products one over the other and to lock them all in with a barrier. These products are too large to penetrate the skin but help to seal the remaining ingredients. It's also known as slugging.

When Should They Be Used?

Use in the evening/night as the last stage of your skincare routine.

How Should They Be Used?

Apply a thin layer over your face and the areas required at the end of your routine.

What To Choose?

We love the Eucerin Aquaphor soothing skin balm. But good old vaseline also works!

Examples:

Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm (https://www.eucerin.co.uk/products/aquaphor/soothing-skin-balm-45ml)

Vaseline (https://www.vaseline.com/us/en/products/healing-jelly/vaseline-healing-jelly-original.html)

Toner

What Do They Do?

Toners are used after cleansing - they act to shrink pores and restore skin to a more natural pH. Eczema skin has a more alkaline pH, which makes it prone to dryness. Toners can help to correct this imbalance.

When Should They Be Used?

They should ideally be used in the evenings on alternate days. Remember, toners are an optional step in your skincare routine. Not everyone will need or want to use a toner.

How Should They Be Used?

They should be applied as a base for the remainder of your skincare routine. Simply massage them into your skin.

What To Choose?

Avoid stringent alcohol-based toners at all costs! They exacerbate eczema even further. Instead, look for hydrating skin toners.

Aveeno calm+ restore toner is a great option. It is pH balanced, fragrance-free and contains oat, which has been shown to help eczema.

Examples:

Aveeno Calm+ Restore Toner (https://www.aveeno.co.uk/face/calm-restore-soothing-oat-toning-lotion)

Thermal Spring Water

What Does It Do?

This is natural water with low mineral content. But, surprisingly, it's been shown to reduce skin inflammation and itching.

When Should They Be Used?

Use AM and PM after cleansing and before applying the remainder of your skincare products. It can also be used to cool the face during intense itchy episodes.

How Should They Be Used?

Spray on the face and allow it to settle in the skin.

Examples:

Avene thermal spring water (https://www.avene.co.uk/range/thermal-spring-water)

Wet Wrap

What Do They Do?

These are specially designed bandages made from light, breathable fabrics. They're used for wrapping the skin, and this technique is designed to lock in and soak skincare products. They help with hydration and softening of the skin.

When Should They Be Used?

It should ideally be used in the evening/night when the skin needs some extra TLC! It's perfect for dry patches and inflammation.

How Should They Be Used?

  1. Cut the bandage to size.
  2. Wet and wring the dressing.
  3. Apply your skincare routine as you usually would.
  4. Place the wet bandage over the skin.
  5. Finally, place a dry bandage over the wet layer to lock in the products.

Examples:

ComfiFAST Tubular Bandages (https://www.amazon.co.uk/COMFIFAST-ELASTICATED-VISCOSE-TUBULAR-7-5CMX5M/)

Eczema Skincare Guide - The Conclusion

It can be daunting to begin your skincare journey, but this guide serves as a helpful reference to create yours. Remember, our skin is unique, and the products that work for you may not work for others, and vice versa. You'll find example skincare routines, from the basics to expert levels, within the app.

August 1, 2022
by 
Dr Noreen Akram
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