When it comes to baby lotion, there are so many options to choose from—and they’re not all created equal. Here’s how to identify the best lotion for non-toxic relief of dry skin.
If you’ve been a parent for more than, oh, a day, then you know how challenging it can be to find a lotion for babies and children that is both effective and safe.
Infants and young children are particularly prone to dryness because their skin is much more sensitive than adults’.
Everything from indoor heating to cold outdoor air, summer sun exposure, air conditioning, diaper rash, and frequent bathing can cause young skin to become dry, patchy, or irritated.
In other words, baby lotion is a must-have for any parent.
But here’s the rub: So many of the body moisturizers geared toward children are filled with impossible-to-pronounce ingredients that have been linked to dubious health effects.
The list of toxic chemicals found in many moisturizing creams is depressingly long. Suspect ingredients include (but aren’t limited to) DMDM hydantoin, fragrance, parabens, PEG, phthalates, propylene glycol, quaternium-15, and sodium laureth and lauryl sulfate.
These ingredients have been linked to a slew of potential health impacts, from respiratory issues such as asthma to eye damage, skin damage or irritation, allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and even neurological issues.
Many of them—including PEG and propylene glycol—may be carcinogenic (meaning they have the potential to cause cancer).
That all sounds pretty scary. After all, the role of a parent is to protect their children, not give them asthma.
So before we go any further, let’s all take a deep breath. The good news is there are baby lotions that are both safe and effective for treating dryness and keeping young skin healthy.
In order to find the best lotion for your needs, you simply need to know what ingredients to look for.
Now that we’ve covered what you don’t want in a kid lotion, let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that are ideal for young skin. Armed with this information, you’ll be empowered to weed through the body moisturizer aisle (or the online shop) and find the best body lotion for your children.
A good child lotion should help counteract young skin’s proclivity toward dryness. As mentioned above, a host of factors can all collude to zap your baby’s skin of moisture. These include dry air, sun exposure, and air conditioning.
When an infant lotion is doing its job, it should:
- Help soothe skin dryness
- Heal rashes
- Keep skin soft, and
- Promote healthy skin overall
In the winter, aim to apply kid lotion at least twice a day. Same goes for any time your kid’s skin is noticeably dry.
Again, it’s critical that you choose a body moisturizer that contains helpful ingredients (and doesn’t contain harmful ones). Otherwise, you risk doing more harm than good.Experts recommend applying a moisturizing cream after bath time year round. It may also be helpful to apply moisturizer before putting on a new diaper—this way, the lotion provides a “barrier” that helps prevent the diaper from irritating your infant’s skin.
The tricky thing is that even when you know what to avoid, it can be tough to identify ingredients that will actually provide your child relief.
After all, as much as you don’t want to expose your child to harmful ingredients, you also want to treat their skin issues. Just because something is natural, that doesn’t mean it will be effective.
But with the following ingredients, you get the best of both worlds. Not only are they non-toxic and naturally occurring, but they’ve also been proven to soothe dry skin, heal rashes, keep skin soft, and generally promote healthy skin.
And that is the earmark of a quality lotion.
This little flower can do more than look good around your house or make a nice tea. Chamomile has been used for centuries to help heal wounds.
It is shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and its nutrients promote healing while cleansing the skin. Chamomile extract has been proven to soothe skin irritations while moisturizing.
Calendula, which is derived from marigold flowers, has a long-standing reputation as one of the most soothing skincare products around—and for good reason.
This oil promises to help treat minor cuts, burns, bruises, and skin irritations. It accomplishes this by preventing infections, reducing inflammation, and promoting healing. It boasts antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which help maintain skin health and is particularly effective for soothing diaper rash.
Sorry, parents: Cocoa butter doesn’t actually erase stretch marks. But that doesn’t mean you should throw the cocoa butter out with the bathwater. This shelf-stable fat provides a host of benefits for young skin with its high levels of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals and promote skin health overall.
Its antioxidant content also helps explain why it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help relieve psoriasis, eczema, and rashes. The high amounts of saturated fats are very effective skin moisturizers, making it particularly effective for treating chapped or burned skin and reducing itchiness. The high amount of polyphenols help maintain skin elasticity and complete skin health.
Just as coconut oil is a safe and effective skincare option for adults, it’s also an ingredient in some of the best baby lotions on the market. Coconut oil is a great choice for kid lotions for several reasons:
Much like cocoa butter, it’s high in saturated fats, which help moisturize and smooth the skin. It contains plenty of Vitamin E, which has been shown to prevent cracked skin and repair dry or broken skin.
The high levels of lauric acid, have both antiviral and antibacterial properties—making it a good choice for soothing rashes. Coconut even helps the skin retain more moisture so that it’s less prone to dryness in the first place.
That’s right: Rosemary isn’t just for garnishing fancy cocktails or flavoring stews. It also promises some powerful skin benefits.
Rosemary promotes circulation, which can help soothe symptoms of eczema and speed up wound healing. It’s packed with antioxidants, which can ward off skin damage and promote overall skin health. It’s both antimicrobial and antiseptic, which makes it a helpful treatment for conditions such as acne, dermatitis, eczema, and oily skin.
While you may eat it for it's healthy fats, your skin will love it just as much. That is because those same essential nutrients will speed up wound healing and reduce inflammation.
It even improves healthy skin by strengthening skin fibers, increasing collagen density and growth. What more could skin ask for?
These big beautiful flowers don't just make a fun seed to chew on, it's oils can work miracles. This is due to its high amount of fatty-acids which restores lipids to damaged skin.
Sunflower oil help maintain the skin barrier and prevent water loss, improving overall skin health. It is so good at reducing infection that it improved the mortality rate of infants by 26%!
Rosehip Seed Oil
The seeds taken from rose bushes are full of vitamins A, C, D and E, fatty acids and antioxidants. When these nutrients get absorbed through the skin they covert to prostaglandins which help cell membranes and tissue regeneration.
It acts as a strong anti-inflammatory that helps with all kinds of skin troubles like rosacea, burns, rashes, acne, and more.
We've all heard and smelled this lovely oil, but did you know what it can do for your skin? These oils are antibacterial and antifungal, relax muscles and sooth itch.
They are antimicrobial to help prevent infection while speeding up healing. Lavender even reverses oxidative stress, keeping skin nice and healthy.
Gluten Free Oats
There is good reason your mom ran you an oatmeal bath to help soothe your chickenpox. It has been used for thousands of years to calm itchy, damaged skin.
Oatmeal can improve dryness, scaling, itch, roughness, rashes, and more. It works to reduce inflammation and irritation while increasing moisture. It is even effective on eczema and psoriasis. Oats also help to improve the skin barrier to strengthen skin overall.
If you look for a body moisturizer that includes these 10 ingredients (while omitting the dangerous chemicals mentioned above), you’ll help ensure that your child has healthy skin for years to come.
Where might you find such a lotion?
Well, based on these parameters, one of the best kid lotions on the market right now is ours.
It contains each of the beneficial ingredients listed above—and then some. Other laudable ingredients include:
- Chickweed, which help soothe skin of itch and irritation while speeding up healing
- Vanilla extract, containing naturally antibacterial compounds that keep skin clean of infection
- Brown sugar extract, an ingredient that draws moisture into the skin and improving absorption of other nutrients.
- Non-GMO mixed tocopherols, organic compounds that are high in vitamin E and antioxidants that keep skin healthy
What you won’t find in this moisturizer is parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, or any other of those scary-sounding ingredients. Instead, your child will benefit from effective dry skin relief.
The best baby lotions don’t need to rely on harsh, potentially dangerous chemicals in order to soothe dry skin.
Instead, they draw on safe and (oftentimes) food-grade body lotion ingredients that are proven to treat dry skin and rashes and keep children’s skin soft and healthy.
The next time you’re in the market for a moisturizing cream, be sure to read the label. If you can’t recognize or pronounce the ingredients on the list, you should probably keep looking.
If, on the other hand, you find a paraben free body lotion that includes some or all of the natural ingredients listed above, then you’re on the right track.
And if you’re not sure where to start, give our baby lotion a try. It’s effective and safe for even the most precious skin.