Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products, and articles are reviewed by healthcare professionals for medical accuracy. You can read more about our verification process here . We may receive commissions for purchases made through the links we select.
One in ten people will experience eczema at some point in their lives. This can occur as an isolated incident, but many cases of eczema will ebb and flow depending on the environment, stress, and other medical factors.
"Atopic dermatitis or eczema is a condition caused by a defect in the skin barrier combined with inflammation of the skin," explains Charlotte Birnbaum , MD, FAAD, at Spring Street Dermatology in New York. "Because the barrier is damaged in eczema, the skin is more sensitive to allergens and irritants."
Sensitivity varies from person to person: some develop a red, inflamed rash, others have a bumpy, colorless flash. Regardless of the severity of the condition, it is important for people with eczema to know how their skin reacts in order to cope with current breakouts and avoid future irritations. This minimally irritating cleansing soap is a great way to help alleviate some of the symptoms of eczema while keeping your skin clean and healthy.
We've researched dozens of eczema soaps and rated them based on reviews, active ingredients, additional ingredients, and usage recommendations.
These are the best eczema soaps on the market today.
It's important to note that while all of these itch creams can help with mild to moderate irritation, they may not completely eliminate an eczema flare-up. If you don't notice any improvement after a week or two, it might be time to see a dermatologist.
Cetaphil Mild Cleansing Bar Soap (see Amazon ) is the best choice for soaps that are safe for daily cleaning (and completely inexpensive). This mild and soothing soap is non-irritating and leaves skin hydrated after use. If you're looking for something specifically designed to cleanse your face and after makeup, Neutrogena Ultra-Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (see Amazon ) is strong enough to remove makeup residue, yet gentle enough for eczema skin.
What to look for in eczema soap
The active ingredient in soaps to treat eczema is the element that most affects the healing of your skin. It can range from natural calming ingredients like green tea to other healing ingredients.
'The biggest mistake people make when choosing a soap to treat eczema is choosing a brand name soap, rather than a more thorough analysis of the ingredients contained in the product. I always tell my patients to look at the ingredients, ”says Deniss M. Serrano, MS, PA-C at the JUVA Skin and Laser Center in New York.
Since eczema often means that the skin becomes more sensitive or irritable, it is very important for people to know what can irritate the skin and cause a flare-up. The NEA has a list of possible skin irritants that cause eczema. This list contains, among others, flavors, colors, preservatives and solvents.
"Soaps for eczema patients are generally fragrance-free, because if the skin barrier is broken, you're more likely to develop allergies to things like fragrances," explains Karen Campbell, MD , a San Francisco-based dermatologist.
Does not foam
Most of us need a soap that creates a beautiful lather to massage our skin, and while this is normal for some people with eczema (and easier to dispense, reducing the risk of irritation or rubbing on delicate skin), technically it is best if your eczema contains soap, without foaming ingredients.
"Foaming agents in soaps can cause potential allergies and irritation," says Dr. Campbell, suggesting using the simplest, fragrance-free, essential oil-free soap you can find.
Frequently asked questions
According to Dr. Campbell, people with eczema have a compromised skin barrier, so soap intended for this condition should be very mild and not irritate this already fragile barrier. In many ways, this eczema-safe soap is basically an anti-soap: "Some body and facial cleansers do not contain [traditional] soap, and these soap-free options are often the best [for people with eczema]."
Traditional soaps are made from a combination of sodium hydroxide, fats, and oils to create an alkaline mixture. But this mixture can upset the pH balance of the skin, especially if it is sensitive, which is why soaps for eczema often include alternative non-alkaline ingredients to cleanse the skin.
For the most part, you can use your eczema soap as often as your routine requires; In other words, eczema hand soap can replace your regular product and be used as often as you wash your hands on a daily basis (and the same goes for face or body soap).
More important than frequency of use is how the soap is used, according to Dr. Campbell:
- Avoid lathering your entire body every day unless it is very dirty; adhere to armpits, groin, and face to avoid unnecessary irritation.
- Use your hands to gently rub the soap over your skin.
- Use lukewarm water (even if a hot shower is that good!). "Hot water causes the water to evaporate from the skin and leads to more water loss," explains Dr. Campbell.
Dr. Campbell does not recommend using baby soaps for eczema, but that doesn't mean you should also wash them with whatever else is around the house.
"Once again, odorlessness is very important," he says, "[and you can also] consider alternatives to cleaning without soap."
Why trust Get Drug Information?
As a former fitness trainer, longtime health enthusiast, and current health editor, Lily Mo understands the importance of products that meet your individual needs. As someone dealing with severe eczema, Lily has used dozens of anti-itch creams, from strong to all-natural; She knows how important it is to choose the correct ingredients that you apply to your skin according to your specific needs! Most importantly, Lily is always looking for first-hand research and feedback when it comes to product selection.
Additional reporting by Sarah Bradley
Sarah Bradley has been writing health stories since 2017, from food reviews and disease FAQs to nutritional explanations and meals on diet trends. She knows how important it is to get trusted, expert-backed advice on over-the-counter products that can help you cope with everyday illnesses, from gastrointestinal problems and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.