What lotion can I use for my newborn's sensitive skin?
December 19, 2007 3:23 PM   Subscribe

What lotion can I use for my newborn's sensitive skin? I've tried the Mustela, Aveeno and J&J but it doesn't seem to work very well. What lotion do you recommend that I can use on her face?

My baby is 8 weeks old and she has dry, sensitive skin. And running the heater at night sure doesn't help. She gets a patch of flaky skin on her right eyebrow that comes and goes about once a week. When I put lotion on it, sometimes it turns a little red.

Can anybody recommend a lotion that I can use on her face that won't irritate her skin?
posted by albolin to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Cetaphil?
posted by MegoSteve at 3:25 PM on December 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

i've got nothing on a baby-safe lotion, but i recommend running a humidifier in the room where she sleeps.
posted by argylekneesocks at 3:34 PM on December 19, 2007

seconding the humidifier. lubriderm is pretty mild, and may help.
posted by thinkingwoman at 3:36 PM on December 19, 2007

Shea or cocoa butter? (Most "baby" products are loaded with tons of fragrance, and even my adult sensitive skin gets kind of annoyed by that stuff.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 3:38 PM on December 19, 2007

Would you consider a balm alternative instead of lotion? Rosebud Salve.
posted by spec80 at 3:39 PM on December 19, 2007

Earth's Best Extra Rich Therapy Crème has worked quite nicely here. Unscented and mild, but very 'rich' indeed. I liked it so much I ended up using it myself, too, and my irritation-prone skin loves it.

Olive oil is worth a try, too.
posted by kmennie at 3:42 PM on December 19, 2007

I really like Burt's Bees "baby bee buttermilk lotion." It's 98% natural ingredients, plus vitamin E, and smells nice but not too strong. About $8 in the US, and now probably available nearly everywhere. I've used it (on myself) for years.

I'm a big fan of natural body products, partially because I'm suspicious of lotions which use petroleum (i.e. aren't actually moisturizing, just feel good), but also because chemicals are absorbed directly through the skin to the blood stream (rather than being filtered out by the liver, as when you eat fruits & vegetables with pesticide residue).
posted by soviet sleepover at 3:53 PM on December 19, 2007

Seconding Cetaphil. It's the only thing that works on my grownup skin.

Also, has a doctor seen that patch on her eyebrow? It may be dermatitis, not just flakiness. My patches of dermatitis require prescription cortisone--moisturizer only irritates.
posted by serialcomma at 3:57 PM on December 19, 2007

Seconding Cetaphil.
posted by terpia at 4:01 PM on December 19, 2007

I would ask the doctor which lotions are ok for a newborn. Also try running a humidifier (hot water humidifier is better, and you'll want to clean out the basin with vinegar every few days) if the heater is drying out the nursery.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:11 PM on December 19, 2007

The two-four month period is pretty crazy for infant skin--keep in mind that many "problems" will work themselves out as all of your baby's systems become more organized. That said, my babe has very sensitive, dry, and reactive skin and so I understand the frustration and wanting to keep baby comfortable.

I would be careful with Cetaphil until the baby's a bit older as it does contain a little nut oil that some babies might react to--that's being a bit hypervigilant, but there you are (otherwise, Cetaphil's a great product).

We've had great success with two products. California Baby Super Sensitive Lotion and Unpetroleum Jelly. The first is a lovely, everywhere lotion (the whole line of products is great, actually), and the second is a very nuetral, mild, protective balm.

Good luck, and congrats on your new little sweetie!
posted by rumposinc at 4:17 PM on December 19, 2007

Lansinoh/lanolin cream is not just for sore/cracked nipples. It's great (and safe) for baby skin, too.
posted by jrossi4r at 4:28 PM on December 19, 2007

Vanicream. This is the product recommended by my children's dermatologist. It works for infants and any sensitive skin. Now if you child's skin is super dry then Aquaphor or equivalent.
posted by jadepearl at 4:33 PM on December 19, 2007

If you're breastfeeding, try expressing some of the fat-rich "hindmilk" right after a feeding and using that. It worked like magic on the chapped cheeks of my 3-month-old when we were trapped in a Chicago hotel for 20 days in January.
posted by mezzanayne at 4:55 PM on December 19, 2007 [2 favorites]

Seconding time, Unpetroleum, Lansinoh, and breastmilk, all mentioned above. Especially Lansinoh.
posted by cocoagirl at 5:16 PM on December 19, 2007

Pure jojoba oil is nice, because it doesn't leave a slimy residue, it doesn't smell like anything, and it's not thick and goopy like Lansinoh.

But look, newborn skin is just a mess. Best thing I found was to use plain water to wash the baby whenever possible, and the least amount of chemicals when an actual cleaning agent was required, and to accept the leprosy of the newborn months as part of the territory.
posted by padraigin at 6:25 PM on December 19, 2007

Sorbolene with glycerine.
posted by taff at 6:37 PM on December 19, 2007

Thirding the Lanisoh and unpetroleum.
posted by schnee at 6:48 PM on December 19, 2007

Expressed Breastmilk, Lanisoh or Cetaphil. Eucerin can also work in a pinch. Keep soap away from her skin. You only need to 'wash' her with warm water and some cotton. Put the moisturiser on while her skin is still damp (but not so damp that her little skin folds don't dry). Both the Lanisoh and Cetaphil are quite thick, so warm/thin it out by briskly rubbing a glob of it back and forth between your palms before slathering her down.

Don't know if she's your firstborn (congrats, btw!!), but babies absolutely don't need to be bathed everyday. Just wipe down their nether regions, face and perhaps under their chin to avoid the dreaded "stinky milk neck" syndrome. Otherwise, they don't do much to get dirty! :)

She's about to go through an icky phase of baby acne and cradle cap. It will suck, because you will want to take pics, and she will be red, blotchy, peeling and have little bumps on her face. It stops. But it will take around 2-3 weeks. If her face starts to look like she has a mild sunburn, you can put a teeny tiny -think baby pea-sized - bit of 1% cortisone on the red areas to calm the skin. But no more than once every other day or so.

If/when she starts up with the cradle cap, I found the Gentle Naturals Cradle Cap stuff to work (it stinks, btw). You rub some on her head -- keep her wrapped in a warm towel with her dipe on, because this icky stuff has to sit for a while -- then kind of massage/comb it out with one of those crappy fine-toothed combs they sent home from the hospital. You'd be simultaneously amazed/horrified/impressed/freaked out/fascinated by how much stuff comes off of such a little noggin (not unlike using a Dyson vacuum for the first time). You'll then have to wash her head three or four times with a regular, mild shampoo to get the nastiness of the Cradle Cap treatment off. I've always had really good luck with the Baby Aveeno shampoo/babywash stuff. Not crazy expensive, smells good, pretty much hypo-allergenic.

Another *great* skin wash if you can find it is Phisoderm Baby. I've only ever found it on drugstore.com. It's the one and only soap/cleanser that I've found to take away my kiddo's eczema completely and entirely. My 5yo used to get patches that were red and raised and itchy. All gone after this stuff.

So, anyway...Enjoy that new baby smell. Ahhhhhhh. What a nice memory! :) And, again, congrats on your new little girl!
posted by dancinglamb at 7:39 PM on December 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Oh, and definitely consider using a humidifer/vaporizer in your bedroom. If you're kind of freaked out by that idea, at least try putting a pan of water on your radiator (assuming you have one) or in front of your heating vent. Plants will also help humidify the air.
posted by dancinglamb at 7:44 PM on December 19, 2007

I second 100% pure Shea butter. Shea butter has extremly high healing power. It also has antiseptic properties. It is edible too ! We have to hide the container from our 3 y.o. or he eats the stuff.
posted by pixx at 7:56 PM on December 19, 2007

i have dry and sensitive 'baby' skin. only moisturel or curel for me.
posted by brandz at 8:04 PM on December 19, 2007

I've used Weleda's baby calendula cream when I get chafed.
posted by brujita at 10:41 PM on December 19, 2007

Nthing humidifier in the room -- we have a cool mist one shaped like a penguin that we got from Target. Our toddler kisses it night-night every single night. Cool mist is important for safety reasons, obviously. And you can buy a little portable temperature/humidifier monitor to help you figure out what you need.

Baby skin doesn't need a lot of cleaning -- use warm water to wash, not necessarily immersing her but perhaps just wiping her down as she lies on a comfy towel -- with a moisturizing cleanser maybe twice a week or if there's a huge blowout. Make sure you get her skin folds clean (gently!), especially her little ladyparts. Aquaphor is fantastic for irritated skin, whether it's dry or chapped. Using it on our little girl helped get rid of red spots just about everywhere practically overnight. And that included diaper rash that needed more healing than diaper creams. Proactive use of the Aquaphor in her thigh folds when we changed her diaper was a good thing.

(And for diaper rash, make sure you get Desitin, the thick kind (not the creamy versions, but the stuff you almost have to dig out of the jar or squeeze hard from the tube). The concentration of the key ingredient is best in that consistency, and works much better.)

We found a gentle massage with a baby brush worked best for cradle cap, with a drop of oil on it (baby oil or even olive oil).
posted by mdiskin at 1:00 AM on December 20, 2007

Hey, we have the cool mist penguin humidifier, too! It's fantastic.
posted by lyam at 6:52 AM on December 20, 2007

Why not just plain vaseline (ie petrolatum) for the chapping? I have extremely sensitive adult skin, and I found that vaseline worked the best in the end. Aquaphor is basically vaseline thinned out a little bit. For some reason people don't like vaseline because it seems "unnatural" but it actually has the minimum of chemically stuff that causes irritation. "Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found (Sources: Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46)."
posted by footnote at 7:40 AM on December 20, 2007

Oh goodness. I was just diagnosed with Rosacea and (embarassingly) a sunburn yesterday. The doctor told me to only put things on my face that are approved by my doctor. Then he prescribed two creams and 30 days of antibiotics.

He looked at my face with a magnifying lens and told me the dry spots on my chin and cheeks are patterned in smears. The bottom half of my face is dry because I've been rubbing it. Not because anything is wrong with the skin. I just need to stop touching my face. The top half of my face is red and oily because I've been washing it with soap and getting a tiny bit of sun every day (ahem, walking from my car into a store is apparently enough to burn this delicate flower).

So my suggestion is to get her doctor on the phone and ask what he thinks, because lotion would make all of my problems worse. And I certainly can't tell you what's wrong with your child's skin.

I hope it turns out to be an easy fix for you.
posted by bilabial at 5:35 PM on December 21, 2007

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