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How do I Choose the Best Dermatitis Cream?

By Misty Wiser
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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There are many options available in the drugstore for a dermatitis cream. Which over-the-counter dermatitis cream you will choose will depend on the symptoms and the severity of the dermatitis you are experiencing. Dermatitis is a pink or reddish rash that can spread and causes severe itching and pain. Some forms of dermatitis can cause the skin to crack and peel or flake. Dermatitis is more often known as eczema, and it can be classified as either acute or chronic.

Another form of acute dermatitis is called contact dermatitis and is caused by allergens present in the environment or by the skin coming into contact with irritants. A fragrance in laundry detergent is often the cause of an itchy pink rash. Contact dermatitis can also be caused by contact with plants that cause a rash, such as poison ivy or poison oak. You can often achieve relief from this kind of dermatitis by choosing an antihistamine cream or an anti-itch lotion that also contains a pain-relieving agent.

You might choose a topical steroid cream such as hydrocortisone, which can be bought without a prescription. Stronger steroid creams might be prescribed if at-home treatments are unsuccessful at bringing relief from your symptoms. Corticosteroid dermatitis cream is available with a doctor’s prescription and can relieve the pain and swelling associated with atopic dermatitis.

Maintaining the moisture level of the skin is important to prevent the recurrence of dry, flaky skin. Nearly all skin rash creams will contain a moisturizer, although most doctors will concur that a petroleum jelly is best for retaining the natural moisture present in the skin. Choosing a moisturizing lotions or petroleum jelly and applying it directly after bathing will help your skin heal and maintain the healthy condition of your skin after treatment with dermatitis cream.

Seborrheic dermatitis is more commonly known as dandruff. Small white flakes are present in the hair and can cause a lot of embarrassment for the sufferer. For this condition, it is recommended to choose shampoos that contain a compound of sulfur and zinc or salicylic acid. Most dandruff shampoos will be effective within two to four weeks. After the dandruff symptoms have disappeared weekly, using the dandruff shampoo will keep the flakes from returning.

Dermatitis cream is not very expensive. It also is available in store brands to further reduce the cost. If you are at a loss about which cream to buy at the pharmacy, ask your pharmacist for assistance in making a selection.

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Discussion Comments
By discographer — On Sep 07, 2011

I developed eczema recently and remembered that when my daughter was a baby she had eczema, these small little red patches around her ears and forehead for a short while. I had just used a lot of baby oil and baby lotion and that had treated it.

Now, I do the same for myself, I apply a lot of baby oil or baby lotion and if the eczema doesn't improve in one week, I use 2% or 5% hydrocortisone cream and Aquaphor cream which is basically petroleum jelly.

By SteamLouis — On Sep 06, 2011

There is also something called seborrheic dermatitis which can affect both the scalp and the skin. When it affects the scalp people think it's dandruff, which is true I guess, but it's caused by fungus.

I have seborrheic dermatitis, but not on my scalp, it's on my face which is worse. For the scalp, you can get rid of it by using anti-dandruff shampoos and avoiding any kind of oily shampoo or conditioner.

For my face, I use an anti-fungal cream which helps. Fungus causes my skin to become very oily and flaky at the same time and anti-fungal cream seems to be the only cream that does anything. I just get it from the pharmacy and apply it everyday until the symptoms disappear.

By burcidi — On Sep 06, 2011

The kind of cream to choose for dermatitis/eczema really depends on what type it is and how bad it is. I have severe contact dermatitis that got worse when I started showing an allergic reaction to mold in our house. Getting rid of mold is not easy, especially since our basement is full of it and it will take some time to clear out entirely.

Meanwhile, my dermatitis has gotten extremely bad, my face and arms especially have an itchy rash, a lot of flaking and dryness. I can't seem to use any kind of normal moisturizer because it just makes the rash and itch worse and burns like crazy. My doctor has prescribed a strong topical steroid cream which I will use for two weeks and then we will probably switch to over-the counter hydrocortisone creams.

I've actually heard that using steroid creams for a long time is not good, but I don't really have a choice since my condition is so bad. But I will probably stop using all hydrocortisone creams in a month at most and switch over to regular moisturizers with vaseline.

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