- Read labels carefully. Baby skin care products that contain dyes, fragrances, and chemicals can irritate a baby’s skin and breathing.
- Natural baby skin care products are safe for most infants. But if you have allergies or asthma in your family, your newborn may also be sensitive to botanicals and herbs in some products.
- The label “hypoallergenic” can be misleading. The term means that the product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the product is gentler on the skin than other products.
- Look for products that are phthalate- and paraben-free. Those chemicals are potentially harmful to babies.
Baby Skin Care Products
As you set up the baby’s nursery — or the corner bedroom at grandparents’ house — assemble these newborn skin care products:
- Baby soaps, washes/cleansers, and shampoos: Cleansers and washes are mild and safe for newborns. But use baby soaps sparingly, as they can dry newborn skin.
- Baby lotion: Helps moisturize newborn skin. Use sparingly on tiny newborns.
- Petroleum jelly: Can be used to treat diaper rash. It provides baby’s skin with a protective barrier against moist diapers. You may be asked to apply it to the healing circumcision site.
- Diaper rash ointment: Provides baby’s skin with a barrier to moisture — protecting newborn skin so wet diapers don’t irritate.
- Baby oil: This classic is best used as massage oil for newborn skin, not as a moisturizer. Newborn skin does not absorb it well.
- Baby laundry detergent: Look for baby detergents that are free of perfumes and dye. Regular detergents are too harsh for newborn skin. The same applies when choosing dryer sheets.
- Baby powder: If using baby powder, try to find powders that are talc free and take care to keep it away from baby’s face and genitalia. The talc or cornstarch in the powder can cause breathing problems. Use sparingly.
Medical News Today chooses products that follow certain criteria and contain ingredients that can be helpful for everyone, especially babies. In particular, MNT looks at the following:
- Cost: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
- Ingredients: MNT chooses products that list all ingredients and are free from common allergens or irritants.
- Reputation: MNT selects products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best overall ointment: Aquaphor Healing Ointment
|Key ingredients||petrolatum, mineral oil, panthenol|
Aquaphor states that this thick ointment is an all-in-one baby lotion that can moisturize the skin.
This comes in a tub. It would be best to use clean hands to prevent contamination.
It contains lanolin and is free from fragrance and parabens.
Best overall moisturizer: CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
|Size||12 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||three essential ceramides, cetyl alcohol, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol|
Cerave states that this lightweight lotion can hydrate and moisturize the skin. This lotion has approval from the National Eczema Association (NEA).
Reviewers mention using it on babies, children, and their own skin as a daily moisturizer or a primer under makeup.
It is fragrance-free, with no harmful additives.
Best organic lotion with shea butter: Puracy Organic Baby Lotion
|Key ingredients||organic aloe vera, shea butter, vegetable glycerin, and jojoba oil|
Puracy states that this lotion is hypoallergenic and suitable for all skin types.
It is cruelty-free and suitable for vegans.
Best organic option with fragrance: Just Hatched Soft Baby Body Lotion
|Size||10.1 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||glycerin, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, aloe vera|
Just Hatched offers an organic lotion with a light fragrance.
It is free from parabens, sulfates, gluten, and phthalates. Just Hatched does not test its products on animals.
Just Hatched states that this lotion is hypoallergenic. However, fragrance compounds and essential oils can causeTrusted Source irritation, allergic reactions, and contact dermatitis. People may wish to avoid using this lotion on sensitive skin.
Best for dry skin: Eucerin Baby Body Lotion
|Size||13.5 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||cetyl palmitate, glycerin, vitamin B5, shea butter|
Eucerin claims that this formula is nongreasy and absorbs quickly. It may help restore moisture and protect the skin after baths.
This baby body lotion is hypoallergenic and free from fragrance, drying alcohols, and dyes.
Best for dry skin with fragrance: Cetaphil Baby Daily Lotion
|Size||13.5 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||sorbitol, isopropyl palmitate, glycerin, panthenol|
Ingredients include sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, and vitamin E.
Cetaphil states that this product is hypoallergenic and suitable for normal to dry skin. It is free from dyes, parabens, and mineral oils.
Best for dry and sensitive skin: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Baby
|Key ingredients||petrolatum, sorbitol, cetearyl alcohol, propylene glycol|
Vanicream states that this product is suitable for sensitive skin and can help with drool rash, itchiness, and dry or chapped skin from teething.
It is free from dyes, fragrances, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, essential oils, and gluten.
Best for eczema: Avene XeraCalm
|Size||6.7 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||thermal spring water, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, arginine, evening primrose|
Avene claims that XeraCalm is a rich moisturizer that absorbs quickly without leaving the skin greasy.
It is free from preservatives, parabens, dyes, fragrances, soy, and gluten.
The NEA accepts this lotion as a viable eczema remedy for both adults and infants. People wishing to treat eczema in infants should speak with a doctor about treatment options.
Best smelling eczema lotion: Eczema Honey
Eczema Honey is suitable for all ages and skin types.
This skin cream is free from artificial fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and gluten. It is also certified cruelty-free.
The manufacturer claims that the organic honey helps soothe irritated skin, while the highly moisturizing formula creates a moisture-locking barrier.
Eczema Honey has NEA approval.
Best lightweight option for newborns: Honest Purely Sensitive Face and Body Lotion
|Size||8.5 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||caprylic triglyceride, glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, aloe vera, shea butter|
Honest claims that this product offers light moisture and is suitable for sensitive skin in adults and infants.
This product is cruelty-free, comes in a recyclable tube, and has NEA approval.
It is free from fragrances, parabens, dyes, mineral oils, silicones, and phthalates.
The lotion is available in the following versions:
- sweet almond oil
- sweet orange vanilla
Best heavyweight option for newborns: Mustela Hydra Bebe
|Size||10.14 fl oz|
|Key ingredients||sunflower seed oil, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, beeswax|
Mustela states that this light formula is hypoallergenic and safe for newborns.
Ingredients include avocado and sunflower seed oil. It is free from parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances.
The bottle is recyclable, and the brand has B Corp certification.
Here is how the above products compare.
|Price||Size||Formulation||Key ingredients||Suitable for eczema||Vegan|
|Aquaphor||$13.74||14 oz||ointment||petrolatum, mineral oil, panthenol||yes||no|
|CeraVe||$12.74||12 fl oz||lotion||three essential ceramides, cetyl alcohol, hyaluronic acid, cholesterol||yes||no|
|Puracy||$13.99||12 oz||lotion||organic aloe vera, shea butter, vegetable glycerin, and jojoba oil||no||yes|
|Just Hatched||$5.49||10.1 fl oz||lotion||glycerin, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, aloe vera||no||no|
|Eucerin||$8.87||13.5 fl oz||lotion||cetyl palmitate, glycerin, vitamin B5, shea butter||no||no|
|Cetaphil||$13.27||13.5 fl oz||lotion||sorbitol, isopropyl palmitate, glycerin, panthenol||no||no|
|Vanicream||$14.50||1 lb||cream||petrolatum, sorbitol, cetearyl alcohol, propylene glycol||no||no|
|Avene||$34||6.7 fl oz||lotion||Avene thermal spring water, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, arginine, evening primrose||yes||no|
|Eczema Honey||$29.95||4 oz||cream||colloidal oatmeal, olive oil, honey, beeswax, aloe vera||yes||no|
|Honest||$10.97||8.5 fl oz||lotion||caprylic triglyceride, glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, aloe vera, shea butter||yes||yes|
|Mustela||$17||10.14 fl oz||lotion||sunflower seed oil, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, beeswax||no||no|
Most newborn babies do not need lotion. If the baby’s skin does not seem dry or irritated, there is no need to use lotions.
However, for those deciding whether to use lotion and which type to buy, they should consider the following:
- If the baby has sensitive skin or eczema, choose fragrance-free products. Fragrances are an unnecessary ingredient, and some fragrances are allergensTrusted Source.
- If the baby has eczema or skin allergies, keep a log of food, lotions, and anything else that might trigger the allergy. Switch brands if the reaction does not resolve with a new lotion or worsens.
- Be mindful of ingredients such as lanolin. While lanolin can help moisturize skin, some babies with eczema have lanolin allergiesTrusted Source.
There is no single lotion that will suit every baby.
People should speak with a doctor before choosing products to treat skin conditions in infants.
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A few tips can help parents and caregivers choose a safe lotion for their babies:
- Add sunscreen to the baby’s daily routine if they will be outside in the sun, in combination with tents and hats that protect against UV damage. For babies under 6 months, people should keep sunscreen to a minimum and only use a small amount when shade and suitable clothing are unavailable. Sunburn is dangerous for people of all ages. Everyone should avoid the sun and stay away from tanning, but people should especially keep babies and children away from sun exposure.
- Massage the lotion into the baby’s skin carefully so that it does not transfer into their mouth or eyes.
- Avoid putting lotion on cracked or bleeding skin.
- Baby lotion is not a substitute treatment for eczema and other skin conditions. Speak with a doctor about treating skin conditions safely in infants.
Here are some common questions about babies and lotions.
Is lotion safe for newborns?
However, most newborns do not require moisturizing lotion unless they are experiencing skin problems, such as excessive dryness or eczema.
Can I put lotion on my 1-month-old baby’s face?
Most lotions suitable for infants are safe to apply to facial skin, providing the ingredients are not irritating or allergens.
Avoid the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears when applying lotion. Only a small amount of product should be necessary.
People should consult with a physician or dermatologist and refrain from using anything that contains fragrances, essential oils, or other irritants.
Can I put lotion on my 1-week-old baby?
People can apply lotion to a 1-week-old baby. However, people should avoid any irritant ingredients, including all forms of fragrance. Consider lotions that specify they are safe for newborns.
A doctor may instruct to use simple ingredients such as pure petrolatum, as these can limit potential adverse effects while protecting the skin barrier.
Choosing the best baby lotion may require testing different products. Most lotions suitable for infants are free from irritants and allergens. Hypoallergenic and lightweight formulas are common options for babies.
Skin conditions such as eczema may require prescription lotions. A doctor can advise on skin issues in babies and the best lotions to use.