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When you think of a newborn baby, you probably have visions of smooth, velvety skin. After all, the phrase “smooth as a baby’s bottom” had to come from somewhere. So, what do you do if you discover that your little one is itchy, flaky, and covered in a skin rash?
If you’ve found yourself in this position, welcome to the world of baby eczema. Sometimes, offering your baby a quick supervised soak in the bath — no more than 10 to 15 minutes — followed by eczema cream can help lock moisture in.
Which cream? Well, that’s a tough question. You may find that your baby’s skin responds better to some treatments than others. This means you might have to try a few to find the best choice for you.
To help you on your quest, we’ve selected what we feel are the best baby eczema creams out there.
So, how do you know which creams are more likely to be effective? You’ll want to look for one that doesn’t irritate your baby’s skin.
You’ll also want to make sure that it locks in moisture to help treat the current flare-up while also providing a barrier to prevent future flare-ups.
When choosing our favorite baby eczema creams, we tried to find ones that had a higher chance of success by considering:
- whether it’s a cream, lotion, or ointment
- if it’s fragrance-free
- if it’s hypoallergenic
Creams tend to be thick and good for all-day use, but they can include allergenic preservatives or fragrances that can make eczema worse.
Ointments tend to be very greasy and are not appropriate for weeping eczema.
Lotions have fewer fats than creams, and they’re usually water based. This makes them easier to rub into the body but less effective at moisturizing skin.
Just because a cream is organic or natural, it doesn’t guarantee it’s hypoallergenic, so you’ll want to double-check for that distinction.
Also, we know that price can be a factor, so we made sure to keep that in mind.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = over $10
Colloidal oatmeal is the secret ingredient in this cream, which has the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance.
If you’re seeking something natural, you can rest easy knowing that this cream doesn’t include synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, or artificial coloring. But it’s still clinically proven to reduce itching and irritation caused by eczema.
A thick cream, this product has the NEA Seal of Acceptance. The brand also offers lotion options, but we prefer the cream consistency.
Developed by dermatologists, this product can be used multiple times a day. Since it’s oil-free and fragrance-free, even those with super sensitive skin tend to tolerate it well.
As a bonus, it can be used anywhere on the body without leaving a greasy feeling behind.
The major ingredients in this cream are colloidal oatmeal, glycerin, and water. It’s clinically proven to relieve itching, dryness, and irritation without the use of synthetic fragrances, steroids, or artificial coloring.
Trying to avoid eczema flare-ups in the future? Some parents say they had success using the product preventatively as well.
If you guessed this product includes colloidal oatmeal as a key active ingredient, you’d be right! It’s formulated without steroids, petroleum, fragrance, or harsh artificial preservatives, and it’s certified to the NSF/ANSI 305 standard by Oregon Tilth with a minimum of 70 percent organic ingredients.
Downside? This cream comes in a small container and costs more than many of the other options.
Petroleum is the primary active ingredient in this ointment. It’s a moisture blocker, so it keeps moisture locked inside the skin.
The preservative-free and fragrance-free formula is useful for both babies and adults and can be extremely versatile. Teething drool got your baby’s chin chapped? Diaper rash? Dry elbows? Aquaphor can help with any of these.
The downside is that it feels a bit greasy to the touch.
This petroleum-based cream prides itself on a reputation of being nongreasy, easy to spread, and fast absorbing. It’s also free of dyes, lanolin, masking fragrances, parabens, and formaldehyde, which makes it a great choice for babies or adults with sensitive skin.
As a bonus, it comes in a large 16-ounce tub, so you’ll have plenty to use on both your baby and you.
The main active ingredient in this lotion is colloidal oatmeal, and it also includes allantoin and shea butter. This product is paraben-free, colorant-free, mineral oil-free, and hypoallergenic.
Did we mention it has the NEA Seal of Acceptance?
Like many of the other creams, the major active ingredient in this cream is colloidal oatmeal. It’s free from synthetic fragrances, artificial coloring, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and steroids.
This cream has the NEA Seal of Acceptance, and the manufacturer claims it can provide a moisture barrier for up to 25 hours.
We love that this product is 100 percent petroleum jelly — there are no mystery ingredients to worry about. The petroleum jelly offers a pseudo second layer of skin without causing a stinging feeling. Note that it’s one other ingredient is fragrance.
This product is recommended by the NEA for use all over the body.
Make sure to use a small amount and rub it in thoroughly to avoid a greasy mess.
Made from plant-based ingredients, like mallow and coconut oil, it does have a sweet honey scent, but this comes naturally from the beeswax base. This product contains alcohol but is free of essential oils.
If this product works well on your baby’s face, it’s also available in a diaper care cream. Both Weleda products are recommended by the NEA for use on sensitive skin.
Most of the ingredients in this product should sound familiar: colloidal oatmeal, avocado oil, shea butter, and menthol. However, it also includes the brand’s signature SalSphere skin repair complex made to help restore the skin’s natural moisturizing barrier.
This is an ultra-gentle formula that can be safely used on your baby’s face, especially since it’s fragrance-free, steroid-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic.
Before rushing to the store to pick up some baby eczema cream, you may want to talk with your child’s pediatrician.
With newborns, it’s normal for their skin to go through some dryness and redness as it adapts to an arid environment. In these cases, it’s frequently advised to leave the skin alone.
Your doctor can also rule out any other medical issues that might be at play. Or, they might advise you on which creams they prefer. Remember: When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Catherine Crider, CD/PCD(DONA), CLEC, CBE, JD, MEd, has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher, and finds special joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys educating new parents and parents-to-be about their different options as well as the current best practices in baby care. Catherine writes for various websites and teaches full-spectrum childbirth and postpartum education in several locations in California’s North Bay Area and Peninsula.