The best alternative to steroid creams

The Best Non-Steroid Cream For Atopic Eczema

Atopic Eczema (also known as Atopic Dermatitis) is an inflammatory, dry skin condition characterised by flaking, irritation, itchiness, and redness. Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema in the UK, affecting 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults.

This condition can cause the skin to become unbearably itchy and scratching and cause further irritation to the skin. This itch-scratch cycle can be on-going, causing more inflammation and irritation.

There is no cure for atopic eczema, and so to cope with the condition, topical corticosteroids (steroids) are often prescribed by general practitioners (GP) to reduce inflammation and irritation. The most commonly prescribed steroid is the mildest form, hydrocortisone, but there are stronger steroid creams for more serious cases of atopic eczema which require a prescription.

The best cream for atopic eczema

Why are steroid Creams are not ideal for long-term use?

  • They can be absorbed into the bloodstream
  • Topical steroid withdrawal (TSW)
  • Risks of health conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome

Whilst steroid creams are the common solution to managing symptoms of eczema, it is important to note that long-term exposure of steroids to the skin holds risks and side effects though absorption into the bloodstream, possibly causing health problems like Cushing’s syndrome and thinning of the skin.

There is also a growing concern of topical steroid withdrawal (TSW), which is when the discontinuation of moderate to high potency steroid creams causes a reaction in the skin. This is often a result of prolonged and frequent use of topical steroid creams.

The Best Alternative to Steroid Cream for Atopic Eczema

Following the concerns of long-term use of topical steroids for managing atopic eczema, we know that there is a growing need for gentler, yet effective alternatives, especially when it comes to our babies and children.

Thankfully there are effective alternatives to steroid creams for atopic eczema that can prolong the non-acute phase (phases between flare-ups), whilst helping to soothe and calm the skin during a flare-up too.

Eucerin AtoControl Acute Care Cream for Atopic Eczema

  • Suitable for babies and children
  • Formulated for very dry, atopic skin
  • Suitable for face and body
  • Anti-itch formulation
  • Key Ingredients: Ceramides, Licochalcone A (Lic A), and Menthoxypropanediol (MPD)

AtoControl Care Cream is specifically formulated for atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis), helping to improve the dry skin condition during flare-ups and reducing the severity of redness, irritation, and itchiness. Together the ingredients in the AtoControl formula work in synergy to strengthen the skin’s resistance and minimise flare-ups to ease the discomfort of atopic eczema.


The best alternative to steroid creams for eczema

The formula contains Licochalcone A (Lic A), derived from a Chinese licorice plant which has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to visibly reduce redness and soothe the skin. A randomised controlled trial compared Lic A with 1% hydrocortisone which both had similar results, except that there was less transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in children who applied Lic A. This proves that AtoControl can have the same benefits of a steroid cream whilst also maintaining the skin’s hydration level. Furthermore, menthoxypropanediol (MPD) is derived from menthol, helping to cool and calm the skin, relieving the feel of itch. Ceramides are a key factor in protecting the skin’s barrier by locking in moisture. This is essential for atopic eczema because it helps inflammation and allows the skin to heal faster and more effectively so that the skin becomes more resistant to symptoms such as itchiness, dryness, and burning sensations.

To further enhance the results of Eucerin’s AtoControl Acute Care Cream, we recommend using it in conjunction with the AtoControl Bath and Shower Oil with 20% Omega. This soap-free shower oil is enriched with a high concentration of omega-3 and omega-6 oils to soothe the skin, keep it hydrated, prevent TEWL, and reduce roughness between flare-ups and during flare-ups. This is important as during showers, the warm or hot water used causes our skin to lose more oil and moisture, so showering with a shower oil helps to prevent this.

If your case of atopic eczema is in numerous areas of the body, or is large-scale, then we recommend the Eucerin AtoControl Body Lotion. This is a lighter formula compared to the AtoControl Acute Care Cream, making it much easier to massage into larger areas of the body.

AtoControl review


By Rhysa Phommachanh, BA (hons) Specialist Hair and Media Make-Up / Head of Digital