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The 7 Best Baby Lotions to Keep Dry and Sensitive Skin at Bay


If I had only had one child, this would be the most boring discussion about the best baby lotion possible. My first child had no allergies or skin issues. We exclusively used Johnson’s Baby Lotion, and I loved it. The second child was completely different. Because of his skin sensitivities, we tried many baby lotions until we found what worked best for him.

Here’s what I discovered on our quest for the best baby lotion.

Always consult with your pediatrician before using any products.

Best for Sensitive Skin:
Best Lotion without Alcohol:
Best for Dry Skin:
Best Natural Baby Lotion:


Best Fragrance-Free Baby Lotions 

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a great lotion for babies that is not a baby lotion. This lotion may not be geared for little ones but it works wonders on their skin.  Eucerin Baby Body Lotion, however, is also a great lotion choice that is geared for baby’s delicate skin.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion with Soothing Oat and Rich Emollients to Nourish Dry Skin, Gentle & Fragrance-Free Lotion is Non-Greasy & Non-Comedogenic, 18 fl. oz
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

That’s right! You heard it here first; the best baby lotion isn’t even for babies! I’m so thankful that I was already using Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion because, otherwise, I might not have even thought about trying it.

Fragrance-Free

I am a fan of the fragrance. Unfortunately, my son’s skin was not. Initially, I had no idea what was causing bumps on my baby’s skin. He was otherwise very healthy, so I decided to make changes to his soap and lotion.

It turns out that many baby soaps and lotions contain fragrance, and some babies can be sensitive to that. Your child might have small bumps or an irritated area that seems to persist after several days. Although nothing is absolute with skin conditions on children, this might be a reaction to fragrance.

That’s why it’s so important to use fragrance-free lotions and soaps when you’re caring for your little one.

Ingredients:

  • Active Ingredient:  Dimethicone 1.2% (skin protectant)
  • Inactive Ingredients:  Water, glycerin, distearyldimonium chloride, petrolatum, isopropyl palmitate, cetyl alcohol, avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, benzyl alcohol, sodium chloride

Why I Love It

  • It’s fragrance-free:  Although fragrance-free lotion isn’t essential for everyone, switching to fragrance-free lotion is a great chance to make if your child is having skin issues.
  • It does a great job moisturizing dry skin:  Whether you’re using this lotion in winter or summer, it always does a great job providing just the right amount of moisture.
  • It’s not very expensive:  Aveeno has a reputation of being a high-quality product for a budget price.
  • I like that my child and I can use the same lotion:  By only having one bottle of lotion to share, we save on countertop clutter.
  • It’s not greasy:  Unlike some other lotions, after your moisturize your baby, you don’t feel like you need to wash your hands.
  • Rated 2 by EWG (Environmental Work Group)

Don’t forget to protect your baby’s skin with a baby sun hat during those sunny months! You don’t want to have to soothe a baby sunburn.

Why I Don’t

  • Contains potential irritants/allergens
  • Contains ingredients with potential toxicities
  • Contains petrolatum

Eucerin Baby Body Lotion

Eucerin Baby Body Lotion - Hypoallergenic & Fragrance Free, Safe for Everyday Use on Sensitive Skin - White 13.5 fl. oz. Pump Bottle
Price$$$$
Quality

Although I didn’t personally try Eucerin Baby Body Lotion on my babies, this was the next lotion on my list. I have a lot of friends that swear by this baby moisturizer. This is a go-to lotion for families where skin sensitivities and eczema are present. It’s not medicated, but the ingredients, mostly shea butter, and pro-vitamin B5 are intensely moisturizing and calming, especially to baby skin.

Gentle and Calming

If you or your kids have ever had a skin rash or problem, then you know how harsh and irritating most skin products can be. Even some of the medicated lotions and ointments contain too many ingredients that do more harm than good. That’s why I love the hypoallergenic and non-scented formula that this lotion for baby uses. Plus, it has good old glycerin, which is a skin-saving superstar.

Ingredients:

Water, Cetyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid

Why I Love It

  • Perfect for Eczema: This is one of the few lotions that won’t make your baby’s eczema flare-up. It’ll help keep the itchiness away.
  • Good ingredients: the Shea butter smoothes your baby’s skin and the glycerin helps to seal in moisture so that the dryness doesn’t get worse. Vitamin B5 is nourishing for growing skin.
  • No bad stuff: There’s no fragrances, parabens, dyes, or drying alcohols (although it does contain cetyl alcohol, which is a type of emulsifier). It’s hard to find a baby lotion without alcohol.
  • It feels good: This is a light lotion! It’s not greasy like a lot of other baby lotions. It absorbs quickly and stays in the skin without rubbing off on clothes or surfaces.
  • Rated 2 by EWG (Environmental Work Group)

Why I Don’t

  • Almost too light: This isn’t a thick and creamy baby moisturizer. It’s a bit on the thin side, but that’s what keeps it feeling light on the skin.
  • Non-medicated: This doctor-recommended lotion touts how good it is for eczema, but it has no actual skin medications in it. 
  • Contains potential irritants/allergens
  • Contains ingredients with potential toxicities
  • Contains mineral oil

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment - Advance Therapy for Diaper Rash, Chapped Cheeks and Minor Scrapes - 14 Oz Jar
Price$$$$
Quality

For stubborn issues with dryness or diaper rash, you can’t beat Aquaphor Healing Ointment. This thick petroleum-like product covers the skin, moisturizes it, and protects it from irritants. You can’t ask for more than that! However, it’s not necessary all the time.

Moisturizing and Protective

Aquaphor effectively treats even the angriest of skin conditions. We have used it on diaper rash and a form of baby eczema. If you’ve got a case of very dry skin, it will moisturize it quickly. Although the super moisturizing powers are wonderful, I particularly love Aquaphor’s ability to treat, seal, and protect.

When you’ve got a baby with diaper rash, the last thing you want is a product that either doesn’t offer enough protection from or sticks to waste matter. It’s tough to find a diaper cream that offers protection yet is also able to be easily removed with a wipe. Aquaphor is the perfect solution.

Ingredients:

  • Active Ingredient:  Petrolatum (41%), a skin protectant for the treatment or prevention of diaper rash
  • Inactive Ingredients:  Mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, bisabolol

Why I Love It

  • It’s a wonderful moisturizer: Aquaphor heals dry skin in a snap! It has so many great uses for skin.
  • It treats, seals, and protects your baby’s skin:  If you’re trying to protect your little one from (or get rid of) diaper rash, this lotion is the best.
  • It comes off easily with a wipe:  If you’re used to using Desitin on diaper rash, you’re really going to love how smoothly Aquaphor cleans up.
  • Rated 2 by EWG (Environmental Work Group)

Why I Don’t

  • I have to wash my hands after I apply it:  You should absolutely always wash your hands after applying anything to your child’s diaper area. However, even if you’re just trying to heal rough elbows, you may want to wash your hands after application because this lotion is so thick.
  • Unless you’re treating diaper rash, this is probably only appropriate for winter dry skin issues:  That makes this a very seasonal product, and it can be annoying to have a product that can only be helpful during one season of the year.
  • Contains potential irritants/allergens
  • Contains ingredients with potential toxicities
  • Contains petrolatum, mineral oil and lanolin

CeraVe Baby Lotion

CeraVe Baby Lotion is created with the help of pediatric dermatologists, so we’ve chosen to add this product to our list of best baby lotions. 

Ingredients:

  • Active ingredient: Dimethicone (1%)
  • Inactive ingredients: Water, cetearyl alcohol, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, niacinamide, allantoin, potassium phosphate, ceremide NP, ceramide AP, ceramide EOP, carbomer, zinc citrate, behentrimonium methosulfate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, sodium PCA, arginine PCA, sodium hyaluronate, cholesterol, dipotassium phosphate, disodium EDTA, tocopheryl acetate, tocopheral, lauric acid, phytosphingosine, xanthum gum, polyglyceryl-3, diisostearate, polysorbate 60, ethylhexylglycerin

Contains Ceramides

CeraVe Baby Lotion is proud of the fact that their lotion contains three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) that help restore the baby’s natural skin barrier. If you don’t know anything about ceramides, they are naturally occurring in the skin and makeup 50% of lipids in the skin’s barrier.

Why I Love It

  • Pediatric dermatologists: A lotion created by pediatric dermatologists is a plus.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Helps prevent dry skin and keeps skin hydrated.
  • Non-greasy: No one likes a greasy lotion!
  • No icky ingredients: No worries about parabens, phthalates, dyes, or fragrance in this lotion.
  • NEA Seal of Acceptance: This lotion is accepted by the National Eczema Association!

Why I Don’t

    • Very light: This is a lightweight baby lotion so it may not moisturize really dry skin.
    • Lengthy list of ingredients: I like a list of ingredients that I can, for the most part, pronounce and this list has a lot of ingredients I can’t (which can be a red flag). Something to be mindful of.
    • Contains potential irritants/allergens
    • Contains ingredients with potential toxicities
    • Contains sulfates
    • Rated 3 by EWG

Best Baby Lotions

When comparing baby lotions, Johnson’s Baby Lotion is a smooth, non greasy, moisturizing lotion with a wonderful smell, while Aveeno Baby Calming Lotion has a nice smell but does not feel particularly nice on your skin.

Earth Mama Sweet Orange Baby Lotion

Earth Mama Sweet Orange Baby Lotion with Organic Calendula, 8-Fluid Ounce
Price$$$$
Quality

If you’re looking for a great baby lotion that includes organic ingredients, Earth Mama Sweet Orange Baby Lotion is it. This is a dermatologist-tested baby lotion and has been clinically tested for irritation, so it’s a great choice for sensitive baby skin.

Organic Ingredients

You can’t pass up a good baby lotion with organic ingredients in it! Earth Mama Baby Lotion is even certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 Standard for Personal Care Products Containing Organic Ingredients. That’s pretty impressive!

Ingredients:

Organic aloe leaf juice, organic olive fruit oil, organic rooibos extract, organic calendula flower extract, kosher vegetable glycerin, organic shea butter, olivoyl hydrolyzed oat protein, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl oleate, glyceryl stearate, organic vanilla fruit extract, organic sweet orange, xanthan gum

Why I Love It:

  • Organic ingredients: Organic ingredients are the best, so I love how many organic ingredients are in this baby lotion.
  • Sweet orange smell: A subtle, yet clean and refreshing smell.
  • Dermatologist-tested: Yay! Dermatologist-tested is a plus.
  • Certified: The cherry on top is that this baby lotion is certified.
  • Rated 1 by EWG (Environmental Work Group)

Why I Don’t:

  • Size: You are paying a decent price for only 8 ounces of lotion. 
  • Contains potential irritants/allergens

Johnson’s Baby Lotion

Johnson's Moisturizing Pink Baby Lotion with Coconut Oil, Gentle, Nourishing & Hydrating Baby Body Lotion, Hypoallergenic, Paraben-Free, Sulfate-Free, Dye-Free, Phthalate-Free, 27.1 fl. oz
Price$$
Quality

If I would have only had one child, I would have sworn up and down that Johnson’s Baby Lotion was the only lotion you would need. My older son had no skin issues while using this lotion, and it made him smell absolutely wonderful.

Oh, That Smell!

I love how fresh this baby lotion made my older son smell. Because I believe in playing hard and getting dirty, he had a bath every day. It was a delight at the end of the day to wash and lotion him, then snuggle while we read. When that boy was washed and lotioned, it produced a smell better than anything else I’ve ever smelled. Literally, the smell has made me drool.

Ingredients:

Water, isopropyl palmitate, glycerin, stearic acid, glyceryl stearate, cetyl alcohol, coconut oil, cetearyl alcohol, dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 20, magnesium aluminum silicate, fragrance, carbomer, p-anisic acid, sodium hydroxide, xanthan gum, ethylhexylglycerin, titanium dioxide

Why I Love It

  • I love that smell:  Oh, that sweet smell of babies! I don’t know what their specific fragrance is, but it is always my idea of the perfect smell for a baby.
  • It does a good job moisturizing skin:  With my oldest, the lotion was a great moisturizer that didn’t cause any skin issues.
  • The lotion is smooth and non-greasy:  I’ll confess that I never minded squirting out extra lotion because I just used it on myself. I never felt like I needed to wash my hands or wipe them on something after using this lotion.

Why I Don’t

  • Fragrance can cause skin issues for some:  Unfortunately, the fragrance that I love so much can cause skin issues for sensitive babies.
  • Contains other potential irritants/allergens
  • Contains ingredients with potential toxicities
  • Contains fragrance
  • Rated 4 by EWG

Aveeno Baby Calming Lotion

Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Moisturizing Lotion with Relaxing Lavender & Vanilla Scents, Non-Greasy Body Lotion with Natural Oatmeal & Dimethicone, Paraben- & Phthalate-Free, 18 fl. Oz
Price$$
Quality

The lotion that I was most disappointed in was the Aveeno Baby Calming Lotion. Maybe I thought the lotion actually had lavender (because of the label) or maybe I thought the lotion would actually help calm my fussy baby. In both cases, I was wrong. I don’t think this lotion contains anything above a lavender smell, and smell alone will not help soothe a fussy baby.

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

I’m a big believer in form and structure, so I wanted to take a moment to tell you about what I like best about the Aveeno Baby Calming Lotion. Unfortunately, I don’t really have anything of substance to say. It smells nice, but it doesn’t feel good on your skin. In my opinion, it might serve as a lotion and moisturize your skin, but it doesn’t deliver on its promise of calming babies.

Ingredients:

  • Active Ingredient:  Dimethicone 1.2% (skin protectant)
  • Inactive Ingredients:  Water, glycerin, distearyldimonium chloride, petrolatum, isopropyl palmitate, cetyl alcohol, avena sativa (oat) kernel flour, benzyl alcohol, fragrance, sodium chloride

Why I Love It

  • It smells really good:  I’m partial to the smell of lavender. This lotion smelled fresh.
  • I love using lavender and other oils to calm and soothe my baby:  I’m a big believer in using oils like lavender to help calm and soothe. Unfortunately, given the list of ingredients, I’m not sure that there’s actually lavender oil in the lotion. Instead, it might contain a lavender smell.

Why I Don’t

  • Fragrance can cause skin issues for some:  As we’ve discussed, fragrance can irritate sensitive skin.
  • It didn’t feel good on my skin:  I was really surprised that I didn’t enjoy how this lotion felt versus the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion. Honestly, I expected this lotion to be the Aveeno Daily recipe with some lavender added.
  • It didn’t particularly soothe my baby:  When you’ve got a fussy baby, sometimes you’re looking for a miracle cure. Unfortunately for us, this lotion didn’t work out for us that way.
  • There’s some controversy around the use of lavender on boys right now:  Some studies are showing that lavender can cause breast growth in boys. I’ll discuss this in the section below.
  • Contains other potential irritants/allergens
  • Contains ingredients with potential toxicities
  • Contains petrolatum
  • Rated 4 by EWG

Comparing Baby Lotions

The table below compares only the recommended products on this page. A low or high Price means it is low or high compared to the other products listed. The Popularity Score reflects how often readers click on and buy the product. The Quality Score is our assessment of the overall performance and satisfaction with the product compared to others in the table.


Guide to Selecting a Baby Lotion

When you’re deciding which baby lotion is the best for you and your baby, there are three main things that you want to do. First, know specifically why you want the lotion. Is it to soothe your child or treat diaper rash or moisturize a rough spot? Any of those specific reasons will warrant a specific kind of lotion, just as a goal for a regular daily moisturizer warrants a different kind of lotion.

(Side note: if you find yourself using lotion for your baby’s hair, you should look into baby hair gel products instead. They work much better!)

Next, read the ingredients. Know exactly what you’re buying before you smooth it all over your child.

Finally, you need to be aware that lotions with additional oils might cause future health problems for your child, particularly if you have a boy.

Since the FDA does not regulate cosmetic products, the Environmental Work Group (EWG) has created a database of products.  It offers information on the most popular products and ingredients, such as whether the product is an irritant/allergen or linked to organ/reproductive toxicities.  It rates products from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least toxic.  It is best to stick to products that rate EWG verified, 1 or 2.

Know Your Purpose

Before you buy a lotion, you need to know exactly why you’re buying it. If you’re looking for a daily moisturizer, make sure to shop from those types of lotion. Think of it this way, sunblock and diaper cream are both important for your baby, but you wouldn’t use them interchangeably. It’s the same thing with lotion. Be clear about your specific reason for use before you buy a lotion for your baby.

Remember, if your baby has a sensitive head or scalp, try some cradle cap shampoo to gently wash their hair.

Read the Ingredients

Your body’s largest organ is your skin. So, before you go slathering lotion on it, know exactly what’s in that creamy concoction. If you’re shopping for someone with sensitive skin, avoid products with fragrance and dyes. You might also think about avoiding alcohol; this can be an easier-said-than-done situation because many beauty products contain alcohol. Regardless, take the time to read the label and make sure that you’re okay with applying those contents to your skin.  

A Warning about Lavender

The use of lavender, particularly on young boys, is a little bit of a controversial subject right now. Some studies are showing that lavender use can cause boys to develop breasts. This claim isn’t a new one, but recently this claim has resurfaced. This article by Forbes explains what scientists are discovering.

Many of the ingredients included in these products are controversial, or have limited or no data/research on use for babies.  Some ingredients have been linked to health problems.  Many products have not been evaluated by the FDA.  Since no studies have been conducted with these products on babies there is no absolute certainty that these are 100% safe.  Always consult with your pediatrician before starting any products on your baby.

Sources

  1. Will Essential Oils Like Lavender And Tea Tree Make Your Breasts Larger?, www.forbes.com

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Jennifer T. Trent, MD FAAD is an acclaimed dermatologist with over 50 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. She is also an author of numerous medical texts addressing surgery and wound care as well as dermatologic diseases and therapy.



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