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I have eczema – what do I need to know about the differences between lotions, creams, and ointments?


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38 Answers
214 Helpful Votes

Moisturizers are classified based on their oil and water content. The more oil a moisturizer has the more effective it is in treating dry skin. Ointments have the greatest oil content, followed by creams, and then lotions. Creams and lotions also often have added preservatives that may burn when applied to scratched open skin. Ointments usually do not burn when applied. Ointment-based emollients and medications are generally preferred over creams for these reasons. Lotions are not generally recommended for people with eczema. During the summer a cream may be preferable to an ointment to prevent miliaria (prickly heat), which can occur after application of an ointment in the summer heat and humidity.

To prevent skin irritation seek out moisturizers that are fragrance- and dye-free.

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