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How to Find the Best Baby Lotion for Your Little One’s Skin
There’s nothing quite as smooth as a baby’s skin. Brand-new and unblemished, I spent hours with my babies sleeping on my chest, running my hand down their backs or along their chubby little arms. There’s nothing like it.
So if babies are born with such perfect skin, why are there hundreds of products dedicated to moisturizing it? Do they really need extra hydration?
Here’s everything you need to know about why your baby needs lotion, how to recognize different skin conditions, and which lotion might work best to keep their little tushie…well, as soft as a baby’s bottom.
Why Does My Baby’s Skin Need Lotion?
A baby’s skin is thinner than an adult’s and also loses moisture more quickly (source). For this reason, it can dry out and cause discomfort. Dry skin can cause (source):
Infection in skin that has broken open
Ashy, gray skin
To prevent your baby from experiencing these symptoms, you may want to consider using a baby lotion.
When Should I Use Lotion on My Baby?
The best time to put lotion on your baby is immediately after their bath, when their skin is still wet. This will serve two purposes:
1) It will trap the moisture from bathtime into your baby’s skin.
2) It will prevent your baby’s skin from drying out after the bath.
As odd as it seems, excessive baths actually cause skin dryness in babies. The water from the bath removes natural oils in your baby’s skin, causing it to dry out
You may also want to apply lotion regularly in the winter time when the weather is cool and dry, which can irritate your baby’s skin and rob it of moisture.
You can also use lotion or another moisturizer anytime you notice dry skin or another condition that could benefit from hydration.
How Can I Tell If My Baby’s Skin Needs Lotion?
There are many skin conditions that are common to babies. If your baby has a condition that persists for a week or more, see your doctor for treatment recommendations. And never apply lotions, creams, or ointments to an open sore or wound without consulting your pediatrician.
Some common skin conditions that may benefit from topical lotions or moisturizers are:
Dry Skin: Dry skin is caused by environmental factors, exposure, or for no reason at all. It typically looks dry, flaky, or ashy. Dry skin is easily treated with regular moisturizers of any type, though extremely dry skin may be best served by an ointment.
Eczema: Many babies suffer from eczema, which looks like a red, bumpy rash but does not appear in the diaper area (source). It typically appears on the face first, but can spread to other areas of the body. It is itchy. Eczema is best treated with a thick cream or ointment that will not only moisturize the skin, but protect it as well.
Baby Acne: While the exact cause of baby acne is unknown, it is very common in babies. Baby acne looks like small red bumps or teeny pustules – basically just like adult acne, but smaller. Baby acne is not itchy or painful and typically resolves on its own after a few months.
Most doctors recommend simply washing and drying a baby’s broken-out skin without adding lotions or moisturizers (source). However, if you feel that your baby is experiencing dryness in addition to acne, you may choose to use a lotion that doesn’t have a high oil content.