Feeling comfortable in your own skin may be easier said than done when you’re living with eczema. This inflammatory skin condition requires a lot of maintenance that can involve trying a lot of treatments, but MyEczemaTeam members seem to agree on one essential: petrolatum — better known as petroleum jelly.
For many MyEczemaTeam members, petroleum jelly is a must-have skin protectant. One member said that, for their son’s eczema, ”petroleum jelly is the only thing that doesn't sting, although we have also been able to use Equate super creamy lotion with mild success too."
"Swapped out my Double Base moisturizer for plain Tesco petroleum jelly … and seems to be working at the moment!” another member wrote.
Everyone’s skin is different, and not every product targeted toward eczema will work. One MyEczemaTeam member said they found no relief despite constantly slathering their skin with moisturizer: “I spend my entire day putting cream on (when work allows), and still the dermatologist has the audacity to say my most hated phrase: ‘Your skin’s very dry.’”
Petroleum jelly may be a great addition to your skin care regimen. Although you can always spread it on your problem areas, such as your hands, its special properties can help lock in moisture over most of your body.
A thick, ointmentlike paste that acts as a moisturizing agent, petroleum jelly is a popular and inexpensive skin care product. MyEczemaTeam members regularly use two major brands, Vaseline and Aquaphor.
Petrolatum’s semisolid, gel-like texture comes from a mix of waxes and mineral oils that work together to create a barrier between the skin and the environment. This barrier prevents moisture from evaporating, keeping skin hydrated.
The protective barrier may also help lower the risk of infection and aid wound healing by preventing germs from entering open sores and cracked, dry skin. The American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) reports that moisture retained by petroleum jelly may keep cuts from drying out and scabbing and helps prevent some scarring.
Petroleum jelly’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make it effective for managing eczema. However, if you have acne, be aware that applying petroleum jelly to your face can cause more breakouts, according to the ADA.
It’s always a good idea to check with your dermatologist before trying a new skin care product. They may have some recommendations on how to use petroleum jelly for eczema. Meanwhile, the tips below can help maximize the effectiveness of petroleum jelly for people with eczema.
To get the most moisture onto your skin, apply a thin layer of moisturizers, including petroleum jelly, immediately after showering or bathing. Wait a few minutes to let the petroleum jelly absorb before you touch your skin or cover it with clothing.
A MyEczemaTeam member found that shorter baths followed by applying Vaseline helped the appearance of their daughter’s skin: “The doctor said she should be a Butterball before bed.”
The hands and feet are commonly affected by atopic dermatitis (the most common subtype of eczema). These areas have the most contact with rough surfaces, dirt, and sweat, so they’re especially prone to dryness, according to the National Eczema Association. Before going to bed, rub a generous helping of petroleum jelly over your hands and feet, then slip on gloves and socks and gloves to keep the protective moisture in place.
One MyEczemaTeam member said they mix Aquaphor with manuka honey for extra hydration, then pull on cotton gloves and socks. Covered hands also keep you from scratching itchy skin in your sleep.
Several MyEczemaTeam members have reported getting better results from mixing either coconut oil or baby oil with Vaseline. One member said their doctor recommended doing this more often during winter, when the dry air can sap moisture from the skin.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a fatty acid with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re prone to facial dryness (but not acne), one technique to retain water on the skin is to spread a layer of petroleum jelly over lotion or another moisturizer, a practice known as slugging. Be sure to use only 100 percent-pure white petrolatum — added fragrances could be irritants. Since slugging gives you a shiny glow, it’s often done before bed.
MyEczemaTeam is the social network for people with eczema and their loved ones. On myEczemaTeam, more than 49,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with eczema.
Is petroleum jelly part of your skin care regimen for eczema? Do you have tips for using petroleum jelly? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.