Eczema Therapy Hand Cream is medicated with over-the-counter active colloidal oatmeal, an ingredient whose components can reduce factors within skin that lead to eczema symptoms. (Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, September 2010). Although oatmeal can be soothing, depending on the severity of your eczema other over-the-counter medications or prescription treatments may be needed to truly make a difference.
Although the oatmeal can be helpful, Aveeno faces stiff competition from Gold Bond's hand creams, including their offering that also contains colloidal oatmeal—at double the amount, plus the Gold Bond formula is far more state of the art.
Aveeno's formula does contain additional oat-based ingredients in comparison to Gold Bond's but there is a lot more to taking care of sensitive, dry hands than just oatmeal and that's where Gold Bond excels. Aveeno clearly has the more basic formula. It's not terrible, but you can do better.
Eczema Therapy Hand Cream is fragrance free and reasonably priced, but along with what's mentioned above, there's another drawback: It's not as creamy or substantial-feeling as we suspect many people with hand eczema will want (and many will, in fact, need).
If you don't have eczema and prefer a lightweight texture, this is OK, but again, its formula isn't as advanced as it should be. See our list of Best Hand Creams/Lotions for top picks.
One final comment: Because this doesn't contain sunscreen, during the day you would be exposing your hands to a daily dose of aging sun damage. Sunscreen is as important for the hands as it is for any other part of the body exposed to daylight.
Strengths: A few good cleansers and sunscreen products; fantastic Skin Relief Healing Ointment and soothing bath wash products; a handful of well-formulated baby-care products.
Weaknesses: Well-intentioned but ineffective anti-acne products; reliance on a single showcased ingredient (typically soy) that makes their anti-aging products less enticing than the competition; ineffective products to address hyperpigmentation; formulas packaged in a jar won’t remain stable.
Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).
Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.
Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin—just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.
The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!
For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.
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