Choosing Baby Skin Care Products that Help, Not Hurt

Oh, that new baby smell!  Nothing quite compares to the silky feel of a newborn baby’s skin.  As parents we want that perfectly smooth skin to last forever.  But the reality of messy diapers and frequent spit-ups mean that your baby’s skin may become irritated and need soothing at one time or another.

A baby’s skin is thinner and less resistant to bacteria.  Great care should be taken when you notice signs of skin irritation on your little bundle of joy.  However, the baby skin care products you reach for can make all the difference between quickly soothing the rough spots and creating potentially lasting damage to your child.

Many parents are enticed by the labels on skin cream bottles usually featuring a doting mother carefully cradling an adorable child who is delighted that the cream being applied is working well enough to produce that heart-melting, toothless smile.  Don’t reach for the picture on the front when choosing your baby’s skin cream!  Take the time to read the small print on the back telling you what that cream contains.  Not all “gentle” baby products produce gentle results.

According to noted cosmetics expert Paula Begoun you should choose skin care products that do not contain any of the following:

  • Fragrances:Added fragrance, or perfume (synthetic or natural) has no benefit and is always problematic for your child’s skin (and for yours!). Fragrance can irritate the skin below its surface, so even though you may not notice a reaction in your child’s skin, that doesn’t mean damage isn’t occurring.
  • Essential oils and fragrant plant extracts:There are many beneficial natural ingredients, but just because something is a plant doesn’t mean it’s good for your skin. Essential oils and some extracts, such as citrus, peppermint, menthol, eucalyptus, and lavender to name a few, are potent irritants that can make skin red, inflamed, and itchy, as well as hurt the skin’s healing process. It is shocking how often these irritants appear in baby skincare products, even in those labeled as being gentle or fragrance-free!
  • Coloring agents:Designed for visual appeal, children’s skincare products often contain a parent-pleasing pink, lavender, or yellow tint. The product may look great to you, but coloring agents might be a problem for your young one’s tender skin, and ultimately shouldn’t be ingested (but think of how often baby sticks hands and fingers in his mouth).

The next time your baby’s skin needs soothing, remember to be gentle when applying skin cream. Also remember that the skin cream itself should be truly gentle.  Already irritated skin can quickly be made worse if the ingredients being absorbed into a baby’s thin skin contain harsh chemicals, unwanted and unnecessary fragrances, and artificial dyes.  Research your baby’s skin care products.  Truly gentle products can be found if you know what to look for and what to avoid.

SOURCE:  Begoun, Paula.  (2016, August 22).  “Baby Skincare:  Do Your Child’s Products Smell Like Trouble?”  Retrieved from