April 23, 2024

MedicalCentre

Great Health is a Choice

The 9 Best Baby Lotions of 2024

One of the best parts of holding a newborn is taking in their baby skin—it’s so soft, supple, and sweet smelling. We’d even say it’s right up there with puppies and sunshine for bringing people joy. But it also often needs a little extra care and attention so it doesn’t get dry or develop rashes or other irritations. Enter: Baby lotions, developed specifically for your baby’s sensitive brand-new skin.

“Because newborns have very delicate, sensitive skin, it’s important to choose skincare products with minimal ingredients that are safe for young children,” explains dermatologist Karan Lal, D.O., FAAD. So how do you find your little one the best lotion, cream, or ointment? Well, you can talk to your pediatrician, of course—or you can also consult this list, which we created with the help of some expert dermatologists, to find solutions for dry skin, cracked skin, cradle cap, eczema, diaper rash, and more. With gentle ingredients and no dyes, strong fragrances, or harsh chemicals, our list of the best baby lotions can help soothe that precious skin ASAP.

Our Favorites

Best Overall: Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Body Lotion

Amazon


Why We Like It

Aveeno prioritizes creating safe, functional products for babies and children, and our pick for best baby lotion overall reflects this. The Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion is for sensitive skin, and the brand promises it will keep skin moisturized for 24 hours. 

This lotion isn’t greasy at all, even on adult skin, and we love that it’s fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and safe for children of all ages (and adults, too!). It also contains an important ingredient that dermatologists recommend: “Colloidal oatmeal is another soothing ingredient that will be super beneficial if your baby is struggling with eczema or diaper rash,” says Samuel Hetz, MD, medical director of Concept Medical in Ottawa. This is a natural ingredient, and it’s super moisturizing. 

The lotion’s other active ingredient is dimethicone, a silicon polymer that acts as an emollient, sealing in the skin’s natural moisture and protecting it.

But Take Note

The pump-style packaging means getting the last bit out of the bottom can be a challenge.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, dimethicone
  • Fragrance: No

Best for Face: Cerave Baby Cream

Amazon


Why We Like It

From dermatologist-recommended brand CeraVe, this baby cream promises not to disrupt your baby’s delicate skin barrier. This thicker cream includes ceramides, which are fat cells that are naturally found in the skin and not only don’t disrupt the barrier but help maintain it. It also has hyaluronic acid to add moisture to the skin. 

We like this thick cream for the face, but it’s safe for use all over your baby and has been formulated to deliver moisture for up to 24 hours. It’s also fragrance-free, paraben-free, and dye-free, delivering gentle hydration.

But Take Note

Some parents may find the formula too thick and challenging to rub in. On the plus side, it has a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid
  • Fragrance: No

Best for Scalp: Vivvi and Bloom Scalp and Body Massage Oil

Amazon


Why We Like It

While there’s no cure for cradle cap, that flaky condition that appears on babies’ scalps and upper bodies, you can gently massage away some of those crusty bits with massage oil. We like Vivvi and Bloom’s because it’s made from sunflower and coconut oils, doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, dyes, or essential oils, and is never tested on animals. It’s also Environmental Working Group (EWG) verified, meaning it meets strict standards and doesn’t contain questionable chemicals.

You can massage this oil onto their damp skin after bath time as a moisturizer. To remove scalp flakes, massage the oil into the scalp, let it sit for a few minutes, gently comb the hair, and then wash with baby shampoo.

But Take Note

It does have some fragrance, which you may want to avoid if your child has eczema.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: sunflower oil, coconut oil
  • Fragrance: Yes

Best Ingredients: Earth Mama Baby Lotion

Amazon


Why We Like It

From the cute name (non-scents, get it?) to the restrained packaging, everything about this baby lotion seems carefully created, and that’s reflected in the ingredient list. The formula contains no petroleum, parabens, artificial fragrance, or preservatives and is rated at a 1 on the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, the lowest hazard rating possible for harmful or irritating ingredients. For this reason, it’s great for babies with eczema, allergies, or any other sensitivities.

It contains dry skin fighters like organic aloe leaf juice, organic olive fruit oil, organic rooibos extract, organic calendula flower extract, and organic shea butter. The company also funds plastic recovery and processing to make up for the amount of plastic it produces, which is one more way to improve our babies’ long-term futures.

But Take Note

You may run out of it quickly, as it’s available in 8-ounce bottles only.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Organic aloe leaf juice, organic olive fruit oil, organic rooibos extract, organic calendula flower extract, and organic shea butter
  • Fragrance: No

Best for Eczema: Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Amazon


Why We Like It

Eczema, a skin condition that causes inflamed, irritated, and often itchy skin, affects as many as 25% of children in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Aveeno is one of the top brands recommended by dermatologists and parents, and this cream promises to soothe dry, itchy, irritated skin due to eczema. 

This cream strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier to prevent and protect against dryness and eczema. Colloidal oatmeal and vitamin B5 are the key ingredients to help with this skin condition, while it doesn’t have fragrances, which could make it worse.

But Take Note

The formula for this Aveeno baby lotion contains alcohol, which some find irritating.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, vitamin B5
  • Fragrance: No

Best Smelling: Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

Amazon


Why We Like It

This best-seller from the dermatologist-recommended brand promises quick and long-lasting moisture for a baby’s dry skin. The Mustela baby lotion contains jojoba oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E, and vitamin F (a.k.a. essential fatty acids). It also contains a proprietary ingredient derived from avocado that also moisturizes and nourishes.

But Take Note

The lightweight, nongreasy lotion has a slight hint of the 70-plus-year-old French brand’s beloved, child-appropriate scent that will linger on the skin. Some absolutely love it, but if your baby is prone to eczema or has sensitive skin, you should probably skip it.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Avocado pereose, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E, vitamin F 
  • Fragrance: Yes

Best Fragrance Free: Pipette Baby Lotion

Amazon


Why We Like It

This light, scent-free lotion goes on easily and smoothly all over your baby’s body and face. You’ll probably enjoy the bonding time when you rub it in. Pipette Baby lotion promises fast-acting but long-lasting hydration, and you can use it from head to toe.

This lotion is made with the brand’s proprietary sugarcane-derived squalane, a moisturizing ingredient. For babies with sensitive skin, this fragrance-free lotion offers a mild alternative that is particularly suited to sensitive skin prone to eczema. The brand has banned 2,000 potentially irritating ingredients from its products, instead opting for high-quality ingredients that are dermatologist-tested and loved by parents.

But Take Note

The thin, lighter formula may not be strong enough to hydrate super dry skin.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Water, squalane, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl olivate
  • Fragrance: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion

Amazon


Why We Like It

Like the CeraVe cream we recommend above, the ceramides in this lotion boost the skin barrier, sealing in moisture, while its hyaluronic acid is the same form of moisture our own bodies create. Vitamin E also helps nourish and protect those skin cells.

But Take Note

This lighter formulation than the cream is easier to spread on your baby’s whole body. This product is ideal for sensitive skin because it’s free of fragrance, paraben, dyes, and phthalates. However, note that the formula includes alcohol, which can cause irritation to some skin.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid
  • Fragrance: No

Best for the Whole Family: The Honest Company All Purpose Balm

Amazon


Why We Like It

This all-purpose balm from Honest Company is useful for babies, little kids, and parents, too. You can use it on your dry elbows, knees, cracked hands, and dry cuticles while knowing it’s safe for your baby, too.

All Honest products are made with organic ingredients. This balm includes chamomile and calendula to soothe skin, while sunflower seed, olive, and coconut oils work with shea butter to nourish and moisturize skin.

But Take Note

While we appreciate the organic ingredients you can use on anyone’s skin, the formula may feel sticky at times.

The Details:

  • Ingredients: Chamomile, calendula, sunflower seed, olive, coconut oils, shea butter
  • Fragrance: No

Our Review Process

We looked at the dozens and dozens of baby lotions on the market right now, with an eye on dermatologist recommended brands and on which products met specific skin-care needs. We spoke with dermatologists Karan Lal, D.O., FAAD; Samuel Hetz, M.D.; Alpana Mohta Ranka, M.D., DNB, and Gary Goldfaden, M.D. We looked for recommendations from the National Eczema Association, and spoke to other parents. 

We also looked at the ratings from the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database, because it’s a great shortcut many parents use to check for potentially harmful ingredients. 

“In general, I didn’t use much lotion on my baby, but when I did, I picked things that were verified by EWG and then did it based on price,” mom Bridget Shirvell tells us. “I also avoided anything that had a fragrance to it, and by looking into EWG’s list I was able to avoid products with more problematic chemicals without having to really dig into the labels to see what actually contained formaldehyde, parabens, etc.”

Factors to Consider When Picking Baby Lotion

Ingredients to Suit Babies’ Needs

There are a few top ingredients Dr. Mohta recommends. “Parents [should] look for one or more of the following ingredients in their baby’s lotion: glycerine, ceramide, oatmeal, zinc oxide, and omega 6 fatty acids like Gamma-linolenic acid, shea butter,” she tells us, adding that calendula extract has great anti-microbial properties.

For babies and children with eczema prone skin, Dr. Mohta says, “Choose products that are specially formulated for their skin type. Again, you must look for fragrance-free and hypoallergenic products that contain gentle and moisturizing ingredients such as ceramides, essential fatty acids (gamma-linolenic acid), glycerine, paraffin, colloidal oatmeal, shea butter. It’s also essential to avoid harsh soaps, detergents, and fabric softeners that can irritate their skin. In severe cases, consult with a dermatologist who can prescribe medicated creams or ointments to help manage the condition.”

Ease of Application

For general purposes, you’ll want the lotion to go on easily. But different needs call for different levels of thickness, and obviously a diaper cream is going to go on a little different than a daily moisturizer. All of our picks are ranked highly for going on smoothly and not leaving white chalky residue.

How to Use Baby Lotions Safely

Everything babies absorb into their skin directly affects their bodies, so you should pay special attention to the types of products you use on them. Some dermatologists, like Dr. Goldfaden, recommend avoiding the ingredients parabens, phthalates, talc, alcohol, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, and dyes—though not all of these are universally considered harmful. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against phthalates (because they interfere with hormones), formaldehyde (a respiratory irritant), talc (which is often found contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos), and heavy metals such as lead. The AAP also advises caregivers to use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products on babies and children with eczema. 

While some studies point to parabens as being endocrine disruptors, and several in this class of preservatives are banned in Europe, the FDA currently states that parabens have not been proven to be harmful. If you choose to avoid parabens, make sure you pay attention to guidance on how long to use the product after opening it, because without preservatives, some products deteriorate and get moldy. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that some of the preservatives being used as an alternative to parabens are even more allergenic than parabens.

Beyond ingredient avoidance, Dr. Goldfaden says that babies should have short baths with gentle soap and water that’s not too hot, followed by gentle lotions. “If flare-ups are consistent and often, you want to work with your pediatrician as there are other treatment measures that can be successful including topical steroids and oral medication, to name a few,” he says.

Your Questions, Answered 

Is lotion safe for newborns? 

While some lotions are safe for newborns, doctors typically don’t recommend using it right away. 

“Newborns, post-birth, have a protective layer on the skin called vernix caseosa, which protects the skin from dryness after birth,” explains Dr. Goldfaden. “When this layer begins to shed, it gives a flaky appearance to the skin which can be confused with dryness and usually dissipates at about 6 weeks. Unless [otherwise] recommended by your pediatrician, I recommend starting to incorporate a lotion into your baby’s routine after bath at 6 weeks.”

Do babies need lotion?

Babies have very delicate skin that can get dry, says Goldfaden, and the right product can alleviate that. 

“It is ideal to use a lotion for your newborn (6 weeks on) to reduce the chances of their delicate skin becoming dry and flaky. Be informed and use a product that is gentle—free of alcohol and artificial colors, fragrances, and dyes.”

“Lotions, creams, and ointments are necessary for maintaining that new skin barrier,” Dr. Lal agrees. “If your baby has a diaper rash, using a barrier ointment or paste on affected areas can help reduce irritation.”

When should I call a doctor about my baby’s skin?

Like any other situation with a baby, err on the side of caution if you notice any changes, says Dr. Lal.

“Contact your pediatrician or a board certified dermatologist if you notice new symptoms in your baby’s skin,” he says. “They can provide an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan so you best care for your baby’s skin. You should definitely reach out to a doctor if your baby’s symptoms don’t resolve, if their rash gets worse, if they’re itchy and uncomfortable, or if you notice any crusting, oozing, pus, or sores.”

Who We Are

Tanya Edwards is an experienced parents, food, beauty, and health journalist who has been writing and editing parenting and beauty stories for over a decade. She’s obsessed with ingredient lists and skincare that actually does what it promises, and loves to talk to experts about what products are best for every person’s body.