With it being Eczema Awareness Week, Top Sante’s editor Katy Sunnassee has been researching and testing some of the latest creams designed to help soothe troublesome flare-ups.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an inflammatory skin condition that can cause redness, blistering, cracked skin and pigmentation.
An estimated 15 million people in the UK are currently living with eczema. Many different things can trigger eczema to flare-up, including stress, irritants, and dry skin. While there is no cure for eczema, there are many ways in which you can treat and prevent flare-ups.
This petroleum-free cream has been around for more than 100 years and is marketed as a multi-purpose cream for all skin types. It can be used all over your body and face to soothe dry skin. Its antibacterial properties make it amazing at maintaining your skin’s health and protecting inflamed skin from infection while it heals.
Katy says: “I have a tub of this in my desk drawer at work and use it throughout the day to moisturise my hands. It’s a fairly light, non-greasy cream, unlike some of the thicker formulas, so although it doesn’t tackle the worse of any cracked, swollen skin, it’s still great to use and I like that it’s free from mineral oils.”
This all-natural cream (£19.95, 50g) from Australia contains calendula flower, which is clinically proven to soothe itchy and irritated skin. Following rave reviews in Australia, the product launched nationwide in the US and sold out immediately! But it is now back in stock and ready to soothe your skin!
The brand also has products for Psoriasis and Rosacea as well as a baby and kids range.
Katy says: “This is now one of my absolute faves! I always favour lotions and potions that are as natural as possible, but they have to work – and this does! The cream’s consistency is thick enough to be nourishing, but it sinks in well and doesn’t leave a greasy layer. And I really feel it helps diminish eczema patches.”
Suffer from eczema on your hands? This luxurious hand cream (£29.50, 100ml) heals and nourishes the skin while creating a protective barrier from environmental damage, thanks to the natural anti-oxidants from Fucus Serratus (seaweed) Extract. It contains hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and argan oil, as well as the ancient skin healing remedy Lus Nan Laogh, from the aquatic plant Menyanthes Trifoliata, which has been used throughout the centuries in the Hebridean Islands to treat skin conditions.
Katy says: “This isn’t branded as an eczema cream as such but it will certainly help thanks to the special natural ingredients, sourced from the sea. The glass bottle means it’s not one you’ll want to chuck into your handbag but it’s a fabulous luxe hand treatment for nighttime.”
Katy says: “I didn’t end up trying these as most of the range contains petroleum, which I now tend to avoid as I’ve learned it just creates fake moisturisation, i.e. it doesn’t deeply hydrate your skin, it just creates a plasticy layer on top. Of course, this has the benefit of keeping moisture in, which I guess is the point as if you have dry skin you want the moisture saying in, but it also stops skin from breathing and I don’t think it helps create long-lasting moisturisation. However, wanted to include in the round-up as it will no doubt suit some people.”
Not only does the Atoderm range provide lasting hydration, it also strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier, leaving skin feeling soft and soothed. The Ultra-nourishing Cream (£12.50, 200ml) and Hand and Nail Cream (£4.50, 50ml) contain key ingredient Niacinamide (vitamin B3) which is anti-inflammatory form therefore great at soothing eczema as well as improving skin elasticity.
Katy says: “I love the consistency of this cream as it leaves my hands and fingers feeling super smooth and silky. The only thing is the smell, which must be synthetic as it’s too overpowering (for me anyway). So although the handy handbag-sized tube makes it great for on the go, I haven’t used it all that much as the overpowering scent makes me wash it off again, defeating the object of moisturising in the first place! A shame as it feels nice”.
Salcura’s Bioskin range naturally supports your dry, dehydrated skin, and is suitable for use on skin prone to eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. The Zeoderm Skin Repair Moisturiser (£9.99, 50ml) is packed full of natural ingredients including Linseed Oil, Jojoba Oil and volcanic mineral Zeolite, making it amazing for soothing dry and itchy skin. Their non-greasy DermaSpray Intensive (£16.99, 100ml) is expelled as a fine liquid spray with no need for rubbing in, making it perfect for on-the-go, or for harder to treat areas such as an itchy scalp.
Katy says: “I LOVE this range! They have a baby eczema range too, which I used on my son and now also use on myself! I love the different strengths, meaning you can use level one for every-day maintenance or level 2 for more severe crusty/itchy patches. The scent is a little strong but the ingredients are all-natural so it fades away and isn’t overpowering. There are no petrochemicals in these products and they really work to help heal the skin -– I’ll be using these for as long as my skin keeps having eczema!
This emollient from Diomed (£15.99, 500g) has a unique gel-like formula which is designed to provide instant hydration while forming a long-lasting, non-greasy barrier of oils to protect the skin from drying out. It is also free from steroids as well as SLS, colourings and parabens, which are known to aggravate problematic dry skin.
Eczema has two distinct phases: an acute phase when skin flares up, and a non-acute phase between flare-ups when skin is calmer. In recognition of this, Eucerin has created a phase-adapted skincare range, which is designed to minimise the acute phase and prolong the non-acute phase. The range contains a unique active ingredient complex of soothing Licochalcone A and barrier-strengthening ceramides. When used daily, the basic care products (such as the Atocontrol Body Care Lotion, £16 for 250ml) reduce dryness to extend the period between flare-ups, while the AtoControl Acute Care Cream (£14, 40ml) has been specially formulated to relieve skin during a flare-up.
As Eczema affects one in five children from birth, Mustela has created a range especially for babies and children with eczema-prone skin. The products are made using 95 per cent natural products and are all 100 per cent hypoallergenic. Try their Emollient Cream (£15, 200ml).
With their money-back guarantee, Cuticura promise to improve your skin in just seven days, thanks to their Dry Skin Cream (£9.99, 200ml), designed by leading experts Dr Jessamy Jones (Body Confidence Psychologist) and Dr Jen Jones (Dermatologist, specialising in eczema). The 3-in-1 Triple Action Complex soothes, moisturises and restores the skin. In tests conducted on 100 people, 89% saw a significant improvement in their skin.
Katy says: “This contains Zinc Oxide, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil which are all nourishing, but it does also contain petroleum, which creates a fake layer of smoothness over your skin. These days I tend to avoid products containing mineral oil derivatives, of which Petroleum is one, but I was intrigued to know whether the seven-day skin improvement claim would work. So I used it every day for seven days and took some pictures to document progress (they’re a bit boring but I might put one on our instagram account: @topsanteuk). However, after the seven days my eczema hadn’t gone away, as I was hoping/expecting it would thanks to the big claim. It did improve to begin and my skin did feel nicer, with but sadly not enough for me to say this cream has miraculous benefits any better than some of the other ones above.”