Itch Defense Fragrance-Free Lotion for Dry, Itchy Skin
20 fl. oz. for $9.99
Last Updated:05.14.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This is an OK body lotion that doesn't offer any special benefit for itchy skin that lots of other body lotions cannot offer too. In fact, this doesn't even set itself apart as being a medicated formula for itchy skin, and it's low on soothing, anti-irritant ingredients that can calm itchiness. The National Eczema Association gave this body lotion their seal of approval, a fact that makes us wonder what their standards are! Our standards are that dry, itchy skin deserves a modern, effective formula wit ingredients research has shown reduce itching and leave skin feeling comfortable. We trust that's what you want too, yet this product doesn't provide it.

On the upside, this is fragrance-free and doesn't contain the problematic eucalyptus extract found in several other Curel body lotions. It's an OK choice for normal to dry (but not very dry) or sensitive skin, but doesn't contain enough of the great ingredients dry, itchy skin needs to really improve.

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Contains a decent mix of ingredients for dry (but not very dry) skin.
  • Not emollient enough for extra dry skin.
  • Lacks a sophisticated blend of repairing and antioxidant ingredients.
  • Doesn't contain ingredients proven to calm itchy skin.

Instantly relieves dry itchy, skin and over time, helps control flare ups while rebalancing skin to keep irritation from coming back. This safe and effective formula soothes eczema prone skin and is gentle enough for babies 6 months and up.


Water, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Tapioca Starch, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Behentrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol Isostearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Cetyl-PG Hydroxyethyl Palmitamide, Bis-Methoxypropylamido Isodocosane, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Benzalkonium Chloride.

Brand Overview

Strengths: Inexpensive and generously-sized; contains a consistent range of tried-and-true emollient ingredients.

Weaknesses: None of the products are state-of-the-art formulas; several products listed as being good for sensitive skin or not containing fragrance are fragranced and/or contain ingredients those with sensitive skin should avoid; Many products contain a high amount of irritating eucalyptus extract the foot cream contains irritating citrus juices; the hand cream is overly fragranced.

Long a staple of the body-care aisle at drugstores around the world, Curel and its sister company Jergens (and Biore) are owned by the Japan-based Kao Corporation. Like Jergens, Curel offers an assortment of body lotions for dry, itchy skin. Whereas Jergens has expanded into an array of self-tanning products alongside their body lotions, Curel remains firmly based around body lotions for dry skin. Considering Curel’s specialty, it’s disappointing that so many of their body lotions disappoint, either due to average formulas or the inclusion of fragrant plant extracts (most often eucalyptus).

There’s truly nothing worth considering from Curel, and that’ sad. The price point is excellent, the sizes are generous, but none of this matters if what’s inside the bottles isn’t great for your skin. Don’t get us wrong; Curel’s body lotions contain some workhorse ingredients such as petrolatum and glycerin. Those can be great for dry skin, but they’re just the beginning—dry skin needs a range of ingredients, including repairing and cell-communicating substances plus antioxidants—and those are lacking in pretty much every product Curel offers. In essence, Curel isn’t the cure for dry skin.

If you’ve been intrigued by this line, your curiosity can stop here. Curel isn’t the answer for dry, itchy, or sensitive skin (indeed, several of its products are a problem for sensitive skin). Other drugstore body lotions offer more for your money, and without problematic ingredients like eucalyptus. Some of those may cost a bit more, but when you’re getting a truly superior formula, it’s money well spent!

For more information about Curel, call (800) 572-2931 or visit www.curel.com

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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works for me

been reading so much different review on paula's choice, i must say this cream has work for me and by far the best for calming down my skin. it's not itchy anyore.

Reviewed by
Works for me!

I woke the other morning with an extremely itchy rash from my chest to my chin that progressed to my cheekbones then to my entire face. I looked and felt like I had a deep chemical peel.I tried anything and everything in the house including several Paula's Choice products, Caladryl, hydrocortisone, Sarna, Gold Bond and this Curel lotion. Everything I tried irritated and burned when applied to my skin except this Curel lotion for the first three days.

Reviewed by
Thanks for the burn

It's a cheap product which I wouldn't recommend for eczema at all! It has a seal of approval and claims to be "gentle" on the face but that doesn't mean anything at all! I had dry patches on my face and I thought I'd use this since it should be gentle and moisturizing enough to make them go away but instead I woke up with weeping BURNED red patches on my face that took weeks to heal. A few months later and half my face is still incredibly sensitive to products. I hate this product so so much.

Reviewed by
Hyerin, K
Re: seal of "approval"

I believe the standard for the National Eczema Association's seal of approval only requires that a product include some known emollients and does not contain known irritants ... that's all. So the seal isn't an actual "recommendation" (though manufacturers, alas, tend to imply in their marketing that it is). Having left out the eucalyptus that's found in the rest of their line, Curel's Itch Defense (though mistakenly named) met with the NEA's "approval," with a 4-out-of-5 score.

Reviewed by
kay g.
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