Lotions & creams for babies with sensitive skin

A tot’s pure skin should be nourished and protected. Here is a handy guide to skincare for kids with sensitive skin.


Babies and kids are sensitive to begin with. Their delicate skin is soft, pure and still developing. There may come a time when your tot’s skin can’t tolerate creams and lotions or even detergents without getting rashes or itchy but for kids who have eczema and allergies, using these kinds of personal care items can result in dry peeling skin and hives.  There are products that can be used that won’t irritate your child’s skin as long as you know what to look for.

What avoid when choosing skincare for a sensitive child

Each child is different and what may work for one may not work for another, especially if there are allergies involved.  Some careful experimenting might be necessary to find the right products.

  • Fragrances and Phthalates: Fragrances can be a big factor when it comes to irritation and allergies. If your tot is showing signs of allergies or scent sensitivities, removing fragrances would be the first step.  Artificial fragrances need estrogen mimicking phthalates to help bind them to the product. It’s best to avoid them.
  • Parabens and harsh preservatives: Parabens are chemicals that preserve a water-based product to prevent bacteria growth and lengthen the shelf life of a product. Parabens have become somewhat of a buzzword and many ‘natural’ brands have banished them from their products in order to market them effectively.  Despite this, other equally damaging chemicals are used in place of parabens. The rule of thumb is – if you can’t read the label without a science manual, it’s probably best to avoid it.
  • PEGs and synthetic chemicals: When you learn that PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) can cause irritation and systemic toxicity, you understand why it’s not something you want on your baby’ skin. Polyethylene glycol is a family of synthetic chemicals that function in cosmetic formulations as surfactants, cleansing agents, emulsifiers, skin conditioners, and humectants. Manufacturers use PEGs to help their products absorb deeply into skin to increase their effectiveness. It is highly troubling that PEG’s are thought to increase cancer risks, including women’s risk of breast cancer. PEG compounds often contain small amounts of ethylene oxide. According to experimental results reported on in the National Toxicology Program’s Eighth Annual Report on Carcinogens, ethylene oxide increases the incidences of uterine and breast cancers and of leukemia and brain cancer. PEG compounds are routinely contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane. The less processed chemicals in a skin product the better.
  • Nut-derived or essential oils: Sometimes kids are sensitive to products because of an allergy.  Tree nuts or strong essential oils can be an irritant even if they’re natural.  It’s best to experiment and see what will work and what won’t.

What to look for when choosing skincare

  • Natural fragrances or fragrance-free: Choose products that are scented with essential oils or that are not scented at all.  Many organic and natural brands stick to a few basic safe scents that are not only safer but less pervasive overall.  You want your baby to smell like a baby not a “summer breeze”.
  • Nut-derived or essential oils: Some ingredients can actually help to heal eczema and skin irritations. Shea butter, coconut oil or things like calendula and aloe vera can reduce inflammation, itching and ease the discomfort of irritated skin.  However it’s always wise to do a patch test if your tot has eczema or sensitive skin to rule out any potential problems.
  • Ingredients you can understand: It goes without saying that if you can barely read the list of ingredients on the back of a product you might not want to put it on your toddler’s skin. Look for brands that cherish the philosophy of carefully chosen natural ingredients that are used to heal and to protect.