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If you’re a new or expecting parent shopping for baby products, you may feel that your little bundle needs their own of everything — including lotion. Your baby’s ultra-sensitive skin has a myriad of different demands that adult skin simply doesn’t.

For starters, baby skin is thinner and loses water faster, which causes it to dry out quicker and more easily, explains Papri Sarkar, MD, a dermatologist in Boston, Massachusetts.

“In addition, children less than 5 years old have more permeable skin, meaning that things can pass more easily both into and out of it, which can lead to more skin reactions than adult skin,” she says.

When it comes to selecting a lotion for your baby, it helps to be choosy. That’s why so many parents are turning to natural baby lotions: They don’t contain synthetic chemicals in their products.

There’s no federal regulation over what is or isn’t considered natural when it comes to skin care. This, Sarkar explains, is because most over-the-counter skin care products (except for sunscreen, though it’s advised that babies under 6 months shouldn’t use sunscreen!) are considered cosmetics.

“Any brand can use the term ‘natural’ if they feel there is one ingredient in their recipe that is naturally derived,” Sarkar says.

The best way to navigate the seemingly endless baby lotion options on the market is to seek out brands that keep things simple and avoid harsh ingredients that may irritate infant skin.

Choosing a brand that has fewer ingredients could be better for your baby.

There are also organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, which do a lot of the work for you when it comes to researching ingredients lists.

When creating this list, we relied heavily on the advice of board certified dermatologists to ensure that we selected lotions containing the most beneficial and non-harmful ingredients. We also considered EWG ratings and customer reviews.

Ingredients to watch out for

Baby lotions are specially formulated to be gentle enough to use on a baby’s delicate skin. However, as there is no system to regulate ingredients used in lotions and other baby products, it’s important to check the ingredients list carefully.

Not all baby lotions are created equal, and some may contain ingredients that can be irritating for more sensitive skin types. Remember, even natural ingredients can be potent and damaging to the skin. Here’s a partial list of ingredients in baby lotions to watch out for:

  • added scents, which may be listed as “fragrance,” “aroma,” “perfume,” or “parfum”
  • essential oil blend
  • chemical fragrances, such as amyl cinnamal
  • synthetic dyes
  • silicone
  • parabens
  • phthalates
  • formaldehyde
  • propylene glycol
  • sulfates, including sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate
  • chemicals, such as PABA and oxybenzone

In general, check with your pediatrician before using new lotions and other products on your baby. Many pediatricians recommend using little, if anything, on the skin for the first few weeks.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$20
  • $$$ = over $20

Best natural baby lotion for eczema

The Honest Company Soothing Therapy Eczema Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: babies with eczema or rash-prone skin
  • Key ingredients: colloidal oatmeal, prebiotics
  • Free of: parabens, silicones, phenoxyethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, petrolatum, mineral oil
  • Pros: recognized by the National Eczema Association (NEA)
  • Cons: higher price point

Co-founded by actress and entrepreneur Jessica Alba, this brand is hailed for its use of natural ingredients in all its products. This lotion is accepted by the NEA, and its ingredient list is deemed safe for babies who experience one of the most common skin conditions, eczema.

Honest Company’s eczema cream is formulated without parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, petroleum, or silicones. It contains safflower seed oil, coconut oil, and shea butter as its main ingredients.

Parents say this product works well. However, the reviews are rather mixed about the scent: Some folks say there is one, some say there isn’t.

Best organic baby cream

YoRo Naturals Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: babies with very dry skin, skin flaking, or eczema
  • Key ingredients: manuka honey, organic beeswax
  • Free of: synthetic ingredients
  • Pros: nongreasy formula contains a blend of 100 percent natural ingredients, including New Zealand manuka honey, manuka oil extract, organic olive oil, grapeseed oil, and organic beeswax
  • Cons: higher price point; packaged in a jar or tub that can make application messy and contaminate the product more easily; honey and beeswax may contain pollen, which can be irritating to some babies and adults with allergies

This baby cream, a favorite of model Ashley Graham for her baby, packs a powerful punch in just a tiny pea-sized application. It’s an oil-based balm with some added water that creates a soft and buttery texture that the skin takes in easily.

The best part about YoRo’s cream is that it can be used safely anywhere, from your baby’s flaky cradle cap to their delicate, diaper-covered region. The formula is made up of several easy-to-recognize ingredients, including New Zealand manuka honey, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and beeswax.

On the negative side, this is a pretty pricey product for its size. However, the rave reviews from parents of children with eczema might just make it worth your dollars.

Best fragrance-free baby lotion

CeraVe Baby Lotion

  • Price: $
  • Best for: dry to normal skin
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, niacinamide (B vitamins), and vitamin E
  • Free of: fragrance, paraben, dye, and phthalates
  • Pros: lightweight moisturizing formula in a handy pump bottle; accepted to meet skin care criteria by the NEA
  • Cons: contains some synthetic ingredients; fast-absorbing formula may not be moisturizing enough for babies with severely dry skin and may require multiple applications

While this moisturizing lotion doesn’t tout itself as a “natural” product, dermatologists like to recommend it to new parents because of its gentle ingredients. In addition to being fragrance-free, it’s also formulated without parabens, which have been flagged for their potential link to hormone imbalances.

It does contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which are both hailed for helping skin retain moisture, notes Brendan Camp, MD, dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York.

Best hydrating baby lotion

Pipette Baby Lotion

  • Price: $
  • Best for: dry skin
  • Key ingredients: plant-derived squalane, glycerin
  • Free of: synthetic fragrances
  • Pros: vegan and cruelty-free; low price point
  • Cons: contains ylang-ylang essential oils for added subtle scent, which may be irritating for more sensitive skin

This lotion from Pipette is not only fragrance-free, but nontoxic and EWG certified as well. Its star ingredient is sugarcane-derived squalane, which is revered for its hydrating and nourishing properties.

One of the main reasons to love Pipette is its dedication to sustainable sourcing and environmentally friendly packaging. Many parents like that it absorbs quickly, but a few complain that the lack of fragrance makes it smell musty when first applied.

Best scented natural baby lotion

Earth Mama Sweet Orange Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: dry skin
  • Key ingredients: organic calendula, aloe vera
  • Free of: petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, and artificial fragrance
  • Pros: light orange and vanilla scent
  • Cons: contains organic herbs and oils, which may be irritating for people with more sensitive skin types and babies and adults with some allergies

There’s a reason this brand is a favorite among parents — they don’t have to worry about the ingredients list. Earth Mama’s products are dermatologically tested and NSF/ANSI 305 certified for using high quality ingredients.

For people who prefer a scent, this baby lotion is an excellent choice. It contains organic herbs and oils, including aloe leaf juice and calendula flower extract, which help soothe your baby’s sensitive skin. Most reviewers say it smells like a creamsicle!

Best natural baby cream for newborns

California Baby Super Sensitive Cream

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: dryness
  • Key ingredients: calendula, aloe vera
  • Free of: harsh chemicals, parabens, or petroleum
  • Pros: allergy-tested formula; soy-, gluten-, oat-, dairy-, and nut-free
  • Cons: higher price point; available in a jar only

When it comes to keeping things simple, this cream does it right. It’s formulated without common allergens and irritants like fragrance, parabens, harsh chemicals, and petroleum-derived ingredients, and it’s entirely plant-based.

“California Baby uses calendula extract and aloe vera to soothe and moisturize the skin without leaving the skin feeling greasy,” says Garshick, which is one reason she recommends it to her patients with newborns. “It’s so gentle, it can also be used as an aftershave lotion.”

Best natural baby lotion with shea butter

Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: dry, sensitive skin
  • Key ingredients: shea butter
  • Free of: parabens, phthalate
  • Pros: long-lasting moisturize; convenient pump bottle packaging
  • Cons: contains natural oils (avocado, jojoba, and sunflower), which may be irritating to babies with eczema or other kinds of skin rashes

This nongreasy baby lotion contains a powerful blend of natural ingredients that have impressive skin benefits, including jojoba oil and sunflower oil, which have anti-inflammatory properties. It also has sweet almond oil, shea butter, and avocado oil, which nourish and hydrate the skin.

“This lotion leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth and is free of parabens, phthalates, and phenoxyethanol,” adds Garshick.

Best natural baby lotion for face

Earth Mama Organic Baby Face Nose & Cheek Balm

  • Price: $
  • Best for: facial skin irritation and dryness
  • Key ingredients: calendula, coconut oil
  • Free of: synthetic chemicals, parabens, fragrances
  • Pros: synthetic chemical-free alternative to petroleum jelly; low price point
  • Cons: contains natural oils such as sunflower oil, which may be irritating to people with very sensitive skin types

This is an organic face balm that can help soothe baby’s dry and rosy face all winter long. It’s formulated from organic ingredients, with calendula and coconut oil as two of the main nourishing ingredients.

Earth Mama’s EWG-approved face balm is a great alternative to petroleum jelly for locking in moisture, and it has no scent, so it’s designed to be nonirritating on your baby’s sensitive skin. Parents of babies who drool, in particular, say it’s a winner.

According to Camp, ingredients to avoid when shopping for baby lotion include:

“If you are concerned about how a product will react with infant skin, test a small amount on the inside surface of the arm for a few days before applying it all over,” Camp says.

What are the most toxic baby lotions?

Avoid any baby lotion with added synthetic fragrances, dyes, and other ingredients. Silicone may cause skin irritation in some babies, and in very rare cases, mineral oil and petroleum jelly may too.

Which ingredients are best for a baby’s skin?

Although organic ingredients aren’t necessarily safer for babies, they do benefit the environment and the ingredients are regulated.

Overall, however, try to find lotions and creams that contain fewer ingredients. That way, if your baby has a reaction or rash, there are fewer things to try and avoid as you try to sort through what may have caused the reaction.

Although organic ingredients aren’t necessarily safer for babies, they do benefit the environment and the ingredients are regulated. Overall, however, try to find lotions and creams that contain fewer ingredients. That way, if your baby has a reaction or rash, there are fewer things to try and avoid as you try to sort through what may have caused the reaction.

Is Johnson & Johnson baby lotion safe?

Johnson & Johnson baby lotion contains tested ingredients that are safe for most babies. It contains natural ingredients such as coconut oil and other plant oils, as well as synthetic ingredients like dimethicone.

These ingredients are safe for most skin types, but try the lotion on a small area first if your baby has sensitive skin.

When should I apply baby lotion?

You can apply baby lotion to your baby at any time. The best time to apply lotion is immediately after bath time or a diaper change. Pat the skin dry and apply lotion to your baby’s skin.

Is baby lotion safe for newborns?

Baby lotions that have gentler and fewer ingredients are safer for newborns. Check the ingredient list carefully, and apply a tiny bit first to make sure it suits your baby’s delicate skin.

Baby lotions are specially formulated for babies delicate skin. Most contain tested natural and synthetic ingredients that have been proven to be safe for most skin types. However, it’s still important to check the ingredients label.

Some lotions may contain ingredients that are irritating to more sensitive skin or to babies with skin conditions such as eczema.

Even naturally derived ingredients such as plant oils and oats can be irritating to some very sensitive or damaged skin. Talk with your pediatrician about the best baby lotion for your little one.

When trying a new product, do a test before applying the lotion more widely: Place a small amount of lotion on a tiny area of skin to ensure that it does not cause a reaction after a few hours.