Parents are always looking for topical products to use for their children, especially if they have eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD). One of the most common topical products are thick petroleum jelly products such as Vaseline and Aquaphor. Depending on who you talk to, different doctors and dermatologists may recommend one over the other. In this article, we will discuss aquaphor vs vaseline for eczema and how to choose which one to use for your child.

aquaphor vs vaseline for eczema

What’s better: Aquaphor vs Vaseline?

The Greasy Factor: Vaseline is a pure petrolatum (aka petroleum jelly), which can leave a thick and greasy feeling. Some people do not like this. On the other hand, Aquaphor is easier to apply and less greasy. It is still greasier than lotion or creams, but this is important to lock in moisture.

Wound healing : Both Aquaphor vs Vaseline are good for wound healing, but Vaseline may cause less irritation .

Skin Reaction : Vaseline is less likely to cause a skin reaction. Aquaphor Healing Ointment can cause redness and swelling due to lanolin . owing to the added ingredients that may cause a hypersensitivity or allergic reaction.

Price : Vaseline is generally cheaper than Aquaphor.

The Winner: Regarding Aquaphor vs Vaseline, I would say Vaseline is better for eczema and in general. I have used Aquaphor for my children and did not have issues. I have alternated between both, but ultimately I did opt for Vaseline due to the price point.

What are Aquaphor and Vaseline?

Here’s a little history lesson on these products. Aquaphor is an over-the-counter ointment first developed by Beiersdorf Inc. Laboratories in the US during the 1920’s. It is marketed as a treatment for minor cuts and scrapes, dry and cracked skin, chapped lips, as well as diaper rashes. Aquaphor comes in various product lines, ranging from body care to minor wound care products. Vaseline , on the other hand, is also an American brand known for their petroleum jelly-based products such as ointments, lip balms, lotions, and moisturizers to relieve dry skin. They have been in the industry for the past 150 years and have since been a skincare shelf staple.

What is the difference between Aquaphor and Vaseline?

While Aquaphor and Vaseline are both over-the-counter skin ointments, they differ in certain ingredients.

Both Vaseline and Aquaphor contain petroleum. This creates a physical skin barrier and helps trap in moisture , leading to reduced skin water loss as measured by Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) . Vaseline is made of 100% petrolatum. Aquaphor Healing Ointment, is made of 41% petrolatum and contains inactive ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin alcohol, bisabolol, and glycerin.

Can I use Aquaphor on eczema?

Yes, you can use Aquaphor for eczema! I have and did not have issues with it. With that said, some people may be sensitive to the lanolin so use with caution. Aquaphor locks in hydration. It is not a moisturizer so it’s important to use a good moisturizer for eczema together with Aquaphor.

Does Vaseline help eczema?

Yes, you can use Vaseline for eczema and it can help eczema. Vaseline is very much like Aquaphor minus certain ingredients. Since it is made from 100% petroleum jelly, it also creates a physical barrier on the skin, preventing dryness and other symptoms such as itching, flaking, redness and so on.

Can Vaseline or Aquaphor make eczema worse?

Sometimes I get questions about if vaseline makes eczema worse. I will tell you from personal experience that it did not. It was actually very helpful. I will use Vaseline or Aquaphor after bath time to lock in the moisture and then use a moisturizer. I personally did not have issues with Aquphor, but because it contains lanolin, it MAY cause some skin sensitivity. It’s always important to do a patch test (a small dab on the skin and monitor for reactions).

Is Aquaphor the same as Vaseline?

They are similar, but have different amounts of petroleum. Vaseline has more petroleum, but doesn’t contain lanolin. Lanolin is a type of cholesterol (fat) that helps lock in moisture. Some people are sensitive to it, so it is not recommended for some people. In general, people with eczema and sensitive skin should be able to tolerate both Aquaphor or Vaseline, but the only way to know for certain is to do a patch test.

Should anyone avoid Vaseline or Aquaphor?

For some people, Aquaphor may cause an adverse reaction due to lanolin. If anyone has a known sensitivity to lanolin, then yes, please avoid it. With that said, purified lanolin is not supposed to cause skin reaction . In general, most people seem to tolerate Vaseline and Aqupahor. There are not too many reasons for avoiding these products, unless for the reasons states above.

What does lanolin allergies look like?

Like most allergic reactions, the itchy skin will become red and form bumps. If this happens, discontinue this product right away and contact your doctor. While Aquaphor is generally safe, it might not be the right product for you or your child. There are other alternatives, including Vaseline.

Is Aquaphor good for severe eczema?

Yes, Aquaphor can be used in this situation. When the skin is very irritated, applying Aquaphor or Vaseline can greatly help calm it down. I use it after giving my child a bath. The water helps hydrate the skin and then the petroleum product helps lock in the moisture.


What works for one person may not work for others. It is always a good idea to test out the products to find which best suits your child especially since eczema-prone skin is more sensitive to chemicals found in topical agents. If you or your child had a previous allergic reaction to products contained in either Vaseline or Aquaphor, you should talk to your physician about possible alternatives. In general, I found have found Vaseline to be more affordable and not cause any issues for my children with eczema. I have used Aquaphor as well without any issues, but used mainly Vaseline. I hope this article provides you with enough data to make an informed decision regarding aquaphor vs vaseline.

If you are looking for other topical products to use besides an emollient such as vaseline or aquaphor, check out this article on the best moisturizers for eczema. Also, an occasional topical steroid cream can help eczema as well.