The Best Eczema Cleansers

the best eczema cleansers

Eczema is a skin disease caused by an injured skin barrier, causing the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. In eczema, the skin barrier does not hold on to moisture and water properly, usually as the result of genetics or environmental issues. This leads to dehydration and inflammation of the skin. 

There are many causes of eczema, but one I often see is patients using the wrong soap or cleanser for their skin type. Cleansers can strip the skin of fats necessary for the skin barrier to function properly.

Here we look at the best cleansers for eczema to keep your skin hydrated and complement your overall skin care routine for eczema.

What Are The Best Eczema Cleansers?

The best eczema cleansers are those that deposit lipids on the skin, like Zerafite Creamy Cleanser. Lipids are the skin’s natural fats, which help to maintain the strength of the skin barrier and, as a result, lock in moisture while locking out dirt and bacteria.

Zerafite Creamy Cleanser is a moisturizing cleanser that is ideal for both sensitive skin and dry skin. It keeps the skin moisturized by depositing soothing and hydrating lipids on the skin, while gently washing away dirt, makeup and sunscreen. 

This moisturizing cleanser is also suitable as an eczema body wash, and can even be used as shaving cream if you have particularly sensitive skin.

If your skin is very sensitive and you suffer from skin allergies, then VMV Hypoallergenics Moisture Rich Creammmy Cleansing Milk for Dry Skin is the best hypoallergenic facial cleanser. Developed by dermatologists, it does not contain 109 of the most common allergens that are frequently found in skin care products.

To support the skin barrier, this hypoallergenic facial cleanser contains organic virgin coconut oil, as well as glycerin for added moisturization, and monolaurin, an antimicrobial that soothes the eczema itch and prevents infection.

Red Better Deeply Soothing Cleansing Cream, also from VMV Hypoallergenics, is the best face wash for rosacea, but this means that it is a safe cleanser to use in sensitive skin types prone to a red face, like eczema. 

Like its sister product above, this gentle cleanser is hypoallergenic and contains coconut oil, glycerin and monolaurin, in addition to antioxidants green tea and rice phytic acid to soothe, protect and calm the skin. This is particularly effective for the facial redness that eczema and rosacea can cause.

Finally, PCA Skin Creamy Cleanser, perfect for dry and sensitive skin, is a fresh cleanser ideal for those who don’t wear makeup. Its hydrating ingredients of rose hip seed oil, sunflower seed oil and yucca extract gently infuse the skin with antioxidants to leave it smoother and firmer while strengthening the skin barrier. Additionally, we think it’s the best cleanser to wash your face with before a morning workout!

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What Cleansers Are Safe For Eczema-Prone Skin?

Non-foaming cleansers, cleansing oils and lipid-laden creamy cleansers are all safe for eczema. Creamy cleansers are the best cleansers for eczema, but if you don’t like them I recommend choosing a neutral cleanser that does not deposit fats on the skin but will also not harm the skin barrier. They usually come as a gel cleanser.

The following non-creamy cleansers are safe for eczema, and among my recommendations for my patients.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin types. This eczema cleanser is gentle enough for eczema-prone and allergic skin, as it is soap- and fragrance-free, and contains niacinamide and glycerin to soothe and hydrate. However, it isn’t very effective at removing makeup or sunscreen, so you may wish to use an additional cleansing oil or micellar water as part of your skin care routine.

Skinmedica Sensitive Skin Cleanser is also suitable for sensitive skin types, though not the best choice for allergic skin. It’s infused with botanical extracts like Chamomilla Recutita flower extract, cucumber extract and Calendula Officinalis flower extract to soothe the skin. It is a good cleanser for combination skin.

However, Medature Plantract Cleansing Gel is the best face wash for combination skin - especially if you share a cleanser with someone who has a different skin type! This cleansing gel for eczema contains natural ingredients to gently cleanse the face without further disturbing the skin’s barrier. Portulaca, aloe, camellia extracts and allantoin soothe the skin and prevent inflammation.

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What Are The Best Cleansing Oils for Eczema?

Cleansing oils can also be used for eczema, and are extremely beneficial when used as part of a double cleansing routine as they lift away dirt and impurities without drying the skin. Look for oils like argan oil, glycine soja oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, safflower oil and coconut oil, which are all highly moisturizing, and each offer unique additional skin benefits:

  • Argan oil soothes the skin and heals infection and wounds
  • Glycine soja oil protects the skin from damage and promotes the growth of healthy skin cells
  • Grapeseed oil helps to improve the skin’s elasticity 
  • Almond oil is a well-known treatment for dry skin and also reduces the appearance of scars
  • Safflower oil prevents flaking
  • Coconut oil reduces inflammation and provides antimicrobial properties.

I recommend PCA Skin Daily Cleansing Oil to my patients with eczema as it contains soothing grapeseed oil and almond oil, both antioxidants to nourish and hydrate the skin. This hydrating oil cleans the skin and removes makeup while depositing hydrating lipids on the skin.

Can I Use Essential Oils For Eczema?

I do not advise using essential oils for eczema as they contain only the fragrance from the oil and not the essential, hydrating fatty acids.  

In fact, essential oils often cause an allergic reaction when used in skin conditions with an impaired skin barrier, like eczema, rosacea or psoriasis. I recommend using a real oil like argan oil or safflower oil if you want an organic cleanser for your eczema, and avoid essential oils entirely.

What Cleansers Should You Avoid If You Have Eczema?

In addition to essential oils, I do not advise using foaming cleansers that have a lot of bubbles and suds. The detergents that cause the foaming will strip essential fats from the skin that protect the skin barrier and keep the skin hydrated. 

I also do not recommend using bar soap or any heavily fragranced soaps, as these will strip the skin of moisture and further irritate the skin.

What Laundry Detergent Should I Use to Clean My Clothing If I Have Eczema?

The most suitable laundry detergents for sensitive skin like eczema are Tide Free or all free detergents, or any other laundry detergent that is fragrance-free. All heavily fragranced detergents should be avoided, and while organic laundry detergents may seem like the best option, their ingredients can actually be an eczema trigger so we advise that you use organic detergents with caution.

In Summary

Selecting the best cleanser for eczema can be easy to do provided you follow the advice of your dermatologist physician. Creamy cleansers are the preferred choice for eczema because they are gentle, moisturizing, and help to protect the skin barrier, which is impaired in eczema. 

Always pair your eczema cleanser with an eczema moisturizer. Click here to see our dermatologist-recommended eczema creams.

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