The Best Baby Lotions for Protecting and Soothing That Sweet, Brand-New Skin

Fight dry skin, rashes and chafing with the best lotions and ointments for your baby.

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Best Lotions for Newborns

Parents / David Hattan

One of the best parts of holding a newborn is taking in their baby skin—so soft, supple, and sweet smelling. It’s no surprise it’s up there with puppies and sunshine for bringing people joy. But it also often needs a little extra care and attention due to dryness, rashes, and other forms of irritation, and the best baby lotion takes into account just how sensitive and special that brand-new skin is.

“Newborns have very delicate, sensitive skin, so it’s important to choose skincare products with minimal ingredients that are safe for young children,” explains dermatologist Karan Lal, D.O., FAAD. “If your baby has eczema, you want to opt for a cream or an ointment, which can provide more intensive moisture and skin barrier repair.”

Where to start with finding the best lotion, cream, or ointment for your little one? Talk to your pediatrician, of course. 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, and harsh chemicals, the best baby lotions can help soothe that precious skin ASAP.

Our Favorite Baby Lotions 

Best Overall: Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion

Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Body Lotion


Why We Like It: It keeps babies’ skin soft for 24 hours, so you don’t have to apply multiple times. 

But Take Note: The pump style packaging means getting the last bit out of the bottom can be a challenge.

Aveeno has made creating safe, functional  products for babies and children a priority and our pick for best baby lotion overall reflects this. It’s made for their 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, M.D., 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 works as an emollient, which seals in skin’s natural moisture and protects.

Price at time of publication: $10

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, dimethicone
  • Fragrance? No

Best for Face: Cerave Baby Cream

Cerave Baby Cream


Why We Like It: It moisturizes with ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and has a seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association.

But Take Note: Some may find the formula too thick.

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.

Price at time of publication: $9

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid
  • Fragrance? No

Best for Scalp: Vivvi and Bloom 2-in-1 Scalp and Body Massage Oil

Vivvi and Bloom 2-in-1 Scalp and Body Massage Oil


Why We Like It: It’s a gentle oil that will soften cradle cap flakes.

But Take Note: It does have some fragrance, which you may want to avoid if you child has eczema.

While there’s no cure for cradle cap, that flaky condition that appears on babies’ scalp and upper body, 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 have parabens, phthalates, dyes, or essential oils, and it’s never tested on animals. It’s also Environmental Working Group (EWG) verified, which recognizes products that meet strict standards and don’t contain questionable chemicals.

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

Price at time of publication: $10

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: sunflower oil, coconut oil
  • Fragrance? Yes

Best Ingredients: Earth Mama Simply Non-Scents Baby Lotion

Earth Mama Simply Non-Scents Baby Lotion


Why We Like It: Its organic ingredients moisturize without irritating babies’ skin or harming the planet.

But Take Note: You may run out of it quickly, as it’s available in 8 ounce bottles only.

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  or any other sensitivities.

What it does contain are 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 produces, which is one more way to improve our babies’ long-term futures.

Price at time of publication: $17

The Details:

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

Best Ointment: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Baby

Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Baby


Why We Like It: It helps with rashes and itchiness as well as dryness.

But Take Note: It does contain petrolatum, which some people try to avoid. 

This moisturizing cream from a long-established brand has been formulated for those who want to, or need to, avoid chemical irritants in the ointment they use for their baby. It’s easy to apply and not too greasy, so it’s quickly absorbed into your newborn’s skin. It also won’t clog pores and has no botanical extracts, formaldehyde, or essential oils. It’s also gluten-free which is important to many with allergies. 

According to the brand, this product can help with issues like drool rash, itchiness, and dry, chapped skin from teething. And, of course, it also works as a moisturizer. 

Price at time of publication: $17

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Petrolatum, sorbitol, cetearyl alcohol, propylene glycol
  • Fragrance? No

Best for Diaper Rash: Baby Mantra Diaper Rash Ointment

Baby Mantra Diaper Rash Ointment


Why We Like It: It’s a thick ointment with effective zinc oxide plus soothing, plant-derived oils.

But Take Note: Because it doesn’t have preservatives, you should pay attention to the expiration date.

You want to soothe babies’ diaper rash, and prevent further irritation, as quickly as possible, but you also don’t want to cause them any further harm with the products you’re using. Baby Mantra’s diaper rash ointment has been allergy tested and doesn’t contain any harmful sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances.

The main ingredient in the formulation is zinc oxide, which forms a barrier to protect skin from the urine and poop in their diaper. The ointment also includes sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, rosemary leaf, jojoba seed oil, and beeswax, all of which are shown to help soothe irritated skin. The texture on this ointment is smooth, so it’s easy to apply, and washes off in the bath. You can also use Baby Mantra for chapped and cracked skin and lips.

Price at time of publication: $27

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Almond oil, sunflower oil, rosemary leaf, jojoba seed oil and beeswax
  • Fragrance? Yes

Best for Eczema: Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream


Why We Like It: Colloidal oatmeal soothes irritated skin.

But Take Note: It contains alcohol, which some find irritating.

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.

Price at time of publication: $18

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, vitamin B5
  • Fragrance? No

Best Smelling Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion

Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion


Why We Like It: It’s a very lightweight lotion that absorbs quickly and smells great.

But Take Note: The added fragrance may not be good for kids with eczema.

This best-seller from the dermatologist recommended brand promises quick and long lasting moisture for baby’s dry skin. The 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.

This 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, you should probably skip it.

Price at time of publication: $26

The Details:

  • Important ingredients:  Avocado pereose, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, vitamin E, vitamin F 
  • Fragrance? Yes

Best Fragrance Free: Pipette Baby Lotion

Pipette Baby Lotion


Why We Like It: The light lotion absorbs quickly and won’t irritate skin.

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

This light, scent-free lotion goes on easily and smoothly all over your baby’s little body and face, and you’ll probably enjoy the bonding time when you rub this 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.

Price at time of publication: $9

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Water, squalane, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl olivate
  • Fragrance? No

Best for Sensitive Skin: Cerave Baby Lotion

CeraVe Baby Moisturizing Lotion


Why We Like It: Lightweight, fragrance free, accepted by the National Eczema Foundation

But Take Note: Contains alcohol

Like in 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.

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.

Price at time of publication: $9

The Details:

  • Important ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid
  • Fragrance? No

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

The Honest Company Organic All Purpose Balm


Why We Like It: Made with organic ingredients, it can moisturize your own skin as you use it on baby too.

But Take Note: Some find the formula sticky.

This all-purpose balm from Honest Company is so useful for babies, little kids, and parents too. Use it on your own dry elbows, knees, cracked hands, and dry cuticles, all 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.

Price at time of publication: $13

The Details:

  • Important 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.

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Parents uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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