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Eczema treatment

Lesley Dobson / 06 November 2014

Keeping skin soft and supple is essential for people with eczema, but in the case of infected eczema it is essential to visit your GP for appropriate care. We list the emollients and treatments available for eczema.

Doctor examining patient's foot
It is important to use emollients, not cosmetic moisturisers, on your skin if you have eczema

Emollients for eczema

These are creams, ointments and lotions that help prevent your skin becoming dry and help to keep it soft and supple. If you have eczema using emollients regularly, throughout the day is a vital part of your treatment.

According to the National Eczema Society, daily use of emollients may be enough to treat mild to moderate eczema. (It is important to use emollients and not cosmetic moisturisers.)

Emollient creams are made up of fat and water and some preservatives. They are light on your skin and so popular for daily use.

Emollient ointments can be greasy but, because they are good at keeping water in the skin, they are a good choice for very dry skin and skin thickened by eczema. You shouldn’t use ointments on areas where your eczema is weeping.

Emollient lotions are more watery than creams, so not as good at moisturising your skin. They are good however, for the parts of your body that have more hair.

Talk to your GP, or pharmacist, they should be able to advice you on the best emollients for you and how to use them. Your GP should prescribe emollients for you. And they should also advise you on any other medicines that will help. They may prescribe antihistamines when you have very itchy skin, and topical corticosteroids to apply to affected areas if your symptoms are getting worse.

Treatments for infected eczema

Eczema can become infected. In this case your GP will probably give you antibiotics to fight the infection.

In extreme cases your doctor or dermatologist may suggest taking oral steroids, ultraviolet light treatment, or topical immunosuppressants that will suppress your immune system.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.