How Do I Choose the Best over-The-Counter Eczema Treatment?

Lainie Petersen

You should choose an over-the-counter eczema treatment after consulting with a health care professional to obtain a diagnosis of eczema and obtaining her advice as to whether over-the-counter treatment is a good idea for you. Over-the-counter treatment may include the application of a hydrocortisone cream to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation, plus the use of creams, lotions, and unscented soaps and personal hygiene products. If your skin is very sensitive, you should consider patch testing any product to ensure that it will not aggravate your eczema or even result in the development of new sensitivities. If a course of over-the-counter eczema treatment does not work, you may need to seek medical attention and begin a prescription regimen.

An OTC cream for treating eczema.
An OTC cream for treating eczema.

Eczema is a dermatological condition that results in an itchy, often irritating rash that can show up on various parts of the body. It can be caused by any number of conditions, including allergic reactions to environmental contaminants, allergies to hygiene and personal care products, or sensitivity to certain clothing fibers or even the detergents used to wash clothing. In some cases, stress can be a culprit in the development of eczema. Although the condition is not particularly dangerous, it can be unsightly and uncomfortable. In many cases, however, it can be treated through the use of over-the-counter ointments and products.

Eczema is an irritating, itchy rash on the skin.
Eczema is an irritating, itchy rash on the skin.

You may wish to begin managing your condition by using a hydrocortisone cream or lotion, which is a very common over-the-counter eczema treatment. These creams and lotions can typically be found at drugstores as well as supermarkets. In some cases, these creams are blended with additional moisturizers or soothing ingredients, so you may need to experiment to see which brand or variety you like best. Some people find that over-the-counter antihistamines may also provide relief from eczema, though some of these medications can cause sleepiness, making them unsafe if you need to drive or be alert.

In addition to these treatments, you may want to swap out scented detergents and personal care products for items that are unscented and perhaps less irritating. You may also want to purchase mild soaps and skin cleansers, along with moisturizing lotions that you can use to keep your skin moist and less prone to drying. If your eczema causes you significant discomfort and you believe that the discomfort is in part a reaction to the clothing that you wear, you may wish to purchase new clothes in softer fibers that are less likely to cause irritation.

Hydrocortisone creams are common over-the-counter eczema treatments.
Hydrocortisone creams are common over-the-counter eczema treatments.

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Discussion Comments


@rundocuri- Try using witch hazel instead of an astringent with alcohol. Witch hazel is gentle on the skin, and also has anti-inflammatory benefits.


Is it ever safe to use an astringent when you have facial eczema? I have heard that alcohol can be damaging when you have eczema, but I would like to find a safe astringent to use, especially in the warm summer months.


Baby lotion that is formulated for infants is gentle and soothing. Since is it formulated for the most delicate, young skin, it is also gentle for skin that is red, irritated, and flaky from eczema flare ups.

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