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This blue tub of CeraVe healing ointment pulls off a rare feat: It’s beloved by TikTok audiences and dermatologists alike. Not only is it a great salve for general flaky skin, it’s a great mental health management tool. Let’s talk it through.

For Stress-Induced Skin Issues: When you’re stressed, your skin can stress out, too. Psychological angst can compromise your skin’s barrier, surface-layer armor that prevents irritants (dust, dander, soap) and environmental aggressors (UV, pollution, strong winds) from getting in and trashing the place. A weakened skin barrier shows up on your face as dryness, redness, and inflammation. 

How to best treat that? A three pronged-approach: 

  • Restore lost hydration with humectants, ingredients that draw moisture into the skin
  • Fortify the barrier with ceramides, lipids naturally found in the skin—applied topically, ceramides help rebuild a fraying barrier 
  • Lock out irritants with occlusives, protective compounds that sit on top of the skin and fight off baddies

This CeraVe healing ointment contains all three. It’s got top-notch humectants in the form of hyaluronic acid and dimethicone, and it’s one of the few over-the-counter brands—particularly at a drugstore price point—with ceramides.

It also consists of 46.5 percent petrolatum, a classic occlusive that won’t piss off chafed skin. Why not just use Vaseline? It’s an excellent occlusive, but at over 99 percent petrolatum, that’s pretty much all it is. It won’t help restore lost moisture.

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For Wounded Skin from Dermatillomania: If you have dermatillomania, also known as excoriation disorder, CeraVe’s healing ointment is a soothing balm for picked skin that’s either raw or starting to scab. The key to healing is keeping wounds moist, and the American Academy of Dermatology recommends petroleum jelly for this very purpose. (Just be sure to clean the area every day before reapplying.) Petrolatum also provides relief from itchiness, itself a skin-picking trigger.

With an open cut, avoid applying anything with potential irritants such as fragrance, dyes, parabens, or lanolin. (Obvs, CeraVe has none of them or we wouldn’t be recommending it!) Another CeraVe perk? It protects without smothering, as some ointments can. 

For Dry Skin as a Side Effect of Mental Health Medications: Though not super common, certain medications that treat mental health conditions—including antidepressants like SSRIs and mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder—can dry out the skin. (A few things up your risk for this side effect: being female, being Black, winter weather, and starting meds at a higher dose, per a study in the journal Psychosomatics.)

For Eczema: Skin and mental health probs can become cyclical—leading to and exacerbating each other. Such is the sitch with eczema, with one 2020 study linking the skin condition with a higher likelihood of developing depression and anxiety. (Another study showed that people with clear skin had lower depression levels than those with acne, which, theoretically, might apply to other skin issues, as well.) 

Dermatologists rely on petrolatum and ceramides—again, both found in this CeraVe healing ointment—for irritated skin, as they have a low risk of causing contact dermatitis, which can further piss off eczema. Thanks to its ability to hydrate and calm sensitive skin, CeraVe Healing Ointment has the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval.

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