The Best Baby Lotion for All Skin Types
Baby’s skin is much more sensitive and delicate than yours, meaning it’s extra important to keep it hydrated and nourished. But with all the baby skin care products out there, it can be difficult to know which lotion is best for your child’s skin type. To make your search easier, we’ve picked the best baby lotions, creams and ointments to suit your little one’s needs. Read on to discover top-rated products and find expert-backed tips to help you find the perfect formula to soothe your little love.
“Baby skin is so sensitive because it’s adjusting to life outside the womb,” explains Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. What’s more, baby’s skin barrier continues to develop during the first year of life, says Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD, a board-certified pediatrician and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). In the meantime, the top layer of baby’s skin is thin, compared to that of older children and adults, which makes it more susceptible to water loss and dryness. This is where baby lotion can help restore hydration and keep your little love feeling soft.
Baby doesn’t need lotion within those first four weeks after birth, says Phillips-Walker. However, if you plan on cleansing or moisturizing your newborn’s skin during that time, choose a formula that has a pH level between 4.0 and 6.0, contains ceramides and has no soap, advises Lauren Hoffman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. Once they’ve passed the four-week mark, go ahead and find a baby lotion that’s sensitive—meaning it’s unscented and free of alcohol or other allergens. Then, apply it immediately after baths to help lock in moisture. Simply pat your child until they’re almost dry, then massage your lotion of choice into baby’s skin from head to toe, says Hoffman. If more frequent dryness, flaking or cracks occur, use more as needed.
It’s also important to remember that not all infant lotions are created equal—a baby cream or ointment may work better for your little one, depending on their skin type. The difference between the three boils down to the percentage of water and oil in the formula. Whereas lotions are often more than 70 percent water, creams contain at least 50 percent cream, making them thicker and better at protecting skin from irritation and dryness, explains Phillips-Walker. During winter weather, Phillips-Walker recommends that parents apply creams to cheeks, elbows, noses or any other area in need of added hydration. On the other hand, lotions are more readily absorbed, making them perfect for daily use and the summer months. If baby’s skin is dry and cracked in places, an ointment will be the best treatment method, says Phillips-Walker. Baby ointments are thick and greasy, but they’re ideal for children who suffer from extremely dry skin or conditions such as eczema.
When it comes to baby lotions and their ingredients, simpler is often better. Here are some things to look for on the label when shopping for the best baby lotion for your family:
- Fragrance and dye-free. Dimaggio recommends unscented and dye-free baby lotions, as added fragrances and chemicals can cause rashes.
- Ceramides. Ceramides are a type of lipid that helps retain moisture, making them an important ingredient in skin care products for people of all ages. Formulas containing ceramides have also been proven to reduce eczema flare-ups, adds Hoffman.
- Hyaluronic acid. Found naturally in the skin, this ingredient promotes hydration.
- Paraben-free. Avoid baby lotions that contain parabens, a chemical preservative that can irritate delicate skin.
As you shop for baby skin care products, there are also ingredients that you should avoid. Hoffman advises against any formulas that contain isopropanol, benzocaine, pyrethrin, hexachlorophene or salicylic acid, as these can be harmful to infants. Moreover, she suggests parents steer clear of olive oil and sunflower oil, as they’ve been found to adversely affect skin barrier function.
Now that you know how to keep baby’s skin healthy, you’re ready to create a standout skin care routine for your little one. From lightweight baby face lotions to nourishing creams, shop our favorite products to protect and nourish the most delicate of skin.
This standout baby lotion isn’t called a dream cream for no reason. You can depend on this product’s rich, intensive formula to keep your little love’s skin hydrated throughout the day. It’s thoughtfully made with natural extracts and plant-based ingredients, resulting in a non-irritating, nourishing blend. Best of all? The super-gentle baby lotion can be applied to even the newest of newborns. It’s no surprise that this top-notch cream won a Best of Baby award!
- Gentle formula can be used from birth
- Available in two sizes
- Has a light scent
Developed by dermatologists and recommended by pediatricians, CeraVe offers one of the best baby lotions for eczema-prone skin or little ones in need of more hydration. This unscented baby moisturizer is paraben-free and contains ceramides and essential vitamins to maintain delicate skin.
- Keeps skin moist throughout the day
- Can help treat eczema symptoms
- Thick consistency may take longer to absorb than other products
Infants in need of deep hydration should turn to thick, rich baby ointments. This top-rated option from Aquaphor is strong enough to relieve painful diaper rash, yet gentle enough to protect and help heal chapped or cracked dry skin from wind, cold and dry air. This baby ointment works wonders in winter but can be used year-round to provide nourishment when needed.
- Rich formula heals cracked, chapped skin
- Can heal a diaper rash in as little as 6 hours
- Ideal for winter
- Contains mineral oil and lanolin alcohol
This organic baby lotion has been specifically formulated to combat sensitive, dry and eczema-prone skin. Gentle enough to be used as a safe baby lotion for all ages, its label lists ingredients such as organic aloe leaf juice, rooibos extract and calendula flower extracts.
- Can be used for eczema, diaper rashes and rough patches
- No harsh chemicals or ingredients
- Only available in an 8 oz. bottle
- Lightly scented
Baby’s face is extra-delicate, which is where a baby face cream comes in handy. Enter: This option from Ever Eden. It’s fast-absorbing, deeply hydrating and can be counted on to keep skin feeling fresh for up to 72 hours. For optimal results, gently massage the lotion on your newborn’s face morning and night. What’s more, this family-friendly product is also ideal for soothing sensitive adult skin.
- Can be used by the whole family
- Fast-absorbing formula
- Can be applied day and night
- Only available in a 1.7-oz. container
The Honest Company’s healing balm is perfect for soothing sore skin from your child’s head to toes, quite literally. The versatile pick can nourish dry knees, elbows, hands and even split ends—plus, it can be used by everyone in the family. Made with all-natural ingredients, the organic baby lotion has an ultra-gentle formula that’s been thoughtfully designed for daily use.
- Certified organic and vegetarian
- Free of petroleum, mineral oils, fragrances, dyes and parabens
- Can be used for just about anything, including rashes, cuts, sensitive skin and chapped lips
- Thick consistency may be hard to spread
It’s no secret that baby has incredibly sensitive skin, but if your little one suffers from dryness as well, you’ll need an extra nourishing solution. Cue: This baby lotion for dry skin from Mustela. The pediatrician-recommended formula boasts vitamins E and F, as well as almond oil, jojoba oil and shea butter to keep infants soft and hydrated.
- Provides lasting and immediate hydration
- Free from paraben, phthalates and phenoxyethanol
- Fragrant formula
Does your little one suffer from super-sore, dry skin? Treat and prevent flare-ups with this baby lotion for eczema. The dermatologist-recommended product protects the skin’s natural moisture barrier with colloidal oatmeal, ceramide-3 and licorice root extract. You can count on this clinically proven formula to relieve redness, dryness and itchiness while also promoting overall hydration.
- Relieves redness, dryness and itchiness caused by eczema
- Steroid-free and fragrance-free
- Suitable for babies 3 months or older
Proudly Hydrating Baby Lotion is specifically designed to meet the needs of little ones with melanated skin, which tends to have fewer ceramides in its natural protective barrier, making it more prone to dryness and eczema. The lightweight, naturally non-greasy formula is perfect for applying after a bath or for a quick midday refresh. What’s more, it’s made from shea butter, jojoba oil, oat, calendula and aloe to softly moisturize delicate skin.
- Specifically designed to meet the needs of melanated skin
- Can be used daily and by the whole family
- Reviewers say it absorbs quickly
- Only available in a 9-oz. bottle
If your little one needs a baby lotion that’s nourishing and super gentle, turn to this option from Dove. Specifically formulated for sensitivity, it softly hydrates for up to 24 hours and helps delicate skin retain moisture throughout the day. Better yet, it’s free from dyes, parabens and phthalates and can be used by infants who suffer from eczema.
- Free from dyes, parabens and phthalates
- Comes in a convenient 20-oz. bottle
- Some reviewers say it’s very fragrant
Everyone’s skin needs added protection when the weather gets chillier—and that includes baby’s. To keep them feeling refreshed and hydrated during cold months, apply this daily baby lotion from Cetaphil. It’s made with vitamin E, sweet almond oil and other gentle ingredients to softly moisturize for up to 24 hours.
- Offers up to 24 hours of hydration
- Free from parabens, colorants and mineral oils
- Some say the texture is watery
This baby lotion has thousands of five-star reviews—and we can see why. The thick, unscented balm is perfect for applying before bedtime, so it has time to be fully absorbed and work its magic. While your infant sweetly snoozes, ingredients like natural colloidal oatmeal and dimethicone will work together to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and treat eczema symptoms.
- Thick, unscented formula
- Relieves symptoms of eczema
- Thick consistency may be hard to spread at times
Strong fragrances can irritate sensitive skin, which is where this standout unscented baby lotion comes in. Thanks to its mix of jojoba seed oil and shea butter, your infant’s skin will feel extra nourished—plus, the formula is naturally non-greasy. And when it comes to moisturization, reviewers say just a little bit of this product goes a long way.
- Lightweight and non-greasy
- Hypoallergenic, vegan and made with certified-organic ingredients
- Available in two sizes
- Some say the consistency is thinner than expected
Save money without compromising healthy skin with the help of this affordable baby lotion. The hydrating formula is made from naturally derived coconut oil to help your little one feel their best from their head to their toes. It’s also hypoallergenic and pediatrician- and dermatologist-tested to ensure gentle yet effective moisturization. Best of all? You can get a 27.1 oz. bottle for just under $7—what a bargain!
- Free from parabens, dyes and phthalates
- Affordable price point
- Some say the pump can be difficult to use
Not sure where to begin when it comes to baby’s skin care routine? Consider a helpful set, like this option from EllaOla. It includes a shampoo and body wash, an organic massage oil, a hydrating lotion, a soothing face cream and a diaper rash cream, all created with delicate skin in mind. Each product was developed in part by pediatric dermatologists and has a seal from the National Eczema Association—last but not least, every formula is also free of fragrance, essential oils and parabens.
- Developed in part by pediatric dermatologists
- Free of fragrance, essential oils and parabens
- Comes in a convenient set
- High price point
About the experts:
Alexis Phillips-Walker, DO, is a pediatrician at Memorial Hermann Medical Group Pediatrics in Atascocita, Texas. She earned her medical degree from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens.
Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and a spokesperson for the AAP. She is also a clinical assistant professor at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Walters earned her medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and she was previously a resident at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Lauren Hoffman, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and a cosmetic dermatologic surgery fellow at UnionDerm in New York City. She completed her medical degree and her dermatology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.