Newborn baby’s skin is so delicate and thin, you really want to use as few chemicals as possible on it.
In the early months, it’s best not to use anything other than. Even with baby wipes, it’s good to use only cotton wool and water, or perhaps a gentle cloth and water.
Your new baby definitely needs the purest baby skincare available. That means nothing with dyes or perfumes.
- Look for products that are free from dyes, perfumes, phthalates and parabens – all of these can irritate baby.
- Go for organic and natural skincare products, as these generally have better ingredients.
- Read the labels and familiarise yourself with harmful ingredients (or have a look at Hello Charlie's cheat sheets, where all the hard work is done for you!)
- Watch out for greenwash – just because a label says ‘hypoallergenic’ or ‘natural’, it doesn’t mean that it is. Hypoallergenic means that it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, but can still be full of harsh chemicals.
Which skincare products to use on your baby, and when?
Baby soaps, baby washes or cleansers, and baby shampoo
Soaps can be drying on newborn skin, so look for a natural baby wash or cleanser instead. Try something gentle and natural such as an unscented castile soap like Dr Bronners. Unless your baby has lots of hair, you’ll be able to use this as a shampoo as well.
Have a look at our cheat sheet for the best in baby soaps and body washes.
Baby lotion and moisturisers
Newborns have naturally fabulous skin – where do you think the phrase ‘smooth as a baby’s bottom’ comes from? They don’t need much in the way of moisturizer, especially if you’re using only water or very mild baby wash which doesn’t strip oils.
If baby has dry spots, try a natural balm like the ones from Dr Bronners, Badger or Nature’s Child. You can just dab these on to the dry areas, rather than apply all over.
If you do want to use a moisturizer all over on baby, make sure you’re looking at a very gentle, fragrance free lotion like the one from ecostore.
Nappy rash creams
You can get nappy rash creams with zinc to provide barrier protection, but it’s generally best to let baby have some nappy free time every day and let their skin breathe rather than using something at every nappy change. If there is any redness, try using a natural healing cream like Nature’s Child or Badger Baby Balm. These can also be used at each nappy change if you prefer, and they’re gentle enough to use on newborns.
Change baby’s nappy frequently to avoid a wet nappy sitting against baby’s skin. Choosing a disposable nappy with no perfumes, dyes or lotions will help reduce incidents of nappy rash. If you’re using cloth nappies, consider using a liner to help wick moisture away.
Eczema and cortisone creams
See your doctor before using any over the counter eczema or cortisone creams on baby, as they may help to reduce redness and inflammation, but can be very harsh. Be aware that even natural creams can contain essential oils and herbs that may be irritating to an eczema prone baby.
Wonderful to use when you’re massaging baby, but it’s not great as a moisturizer. Baby skin doesn’t absorb oil easily, and it does make baby very slippy when you’re getting them dressed. Better to use a baby moisturizer unless you are actually doing a baby massage.
Make sure that you look out for natural baby massage oils that aren't based on petrochemicals.
Baby laundry powder
It’s definitely worth buying a natural laundry detergent that doesn’t contain perfumes, dyes and other harsh chemicals. You don’t need to buy a specific baby laundry powder, just switch to one of the eco friendly brands like ecostore or Rockin Green. Both of these have unscented versions and no nasty chemicals, but they’ll still get the rest of the family’s wash clean, too.
Baby powder is used to dry moisture on baby’s bottoms. The problem is that small particles in baby powder can cause breathing problems if you shake baby powders onto baby’s bottom.
If you do choose to use baby powder, choose a talc free one and shake it on to your hand first and then pat it on to baby’s bottom.
It’s best to use cotton wool and water, or a moistened soft cloth to clean newborn babies’ bottoms. When baby is a few months old, look for natural baby wipes without harsh chemicals such as WaterWipes.