What You Need to Know About Skin-Care Lines for Babies, According to Dermatologists

Updated: Mar. 04, 2021

Do babies really have different skin types—or aren't they all just super sensitive?

Yulia-Sribna/ShutterstockAs a parent, it’s important to establish the products you should never use on your baby’s skin. But when it comes to skin care products specially formulated for infants, the choice can be overwhelming.

French-based baby brand, Mustela, recently revamped its baby skin care range, categorizing it by skin type. According to the company, 95 percent of moms believe it is important that their baby‘s skin care products are formulated specifically for their skin type. “Babies are born with different skin types and therefore require specific care,” the company shares in a press release announcing the line. “Mustela researchers have identified four key skin physiologies: normal, dry, eczema-prone, and very sensitive.”

All four lines, which each offer a suite of products for bath time, hydration, cleansing, and quick clean-ups, are formulated with Mustela’s “responsibly sourced key ingredient: Avocado Perseose,” which claims to “protect the skin’s cellular reserves and maintain moisture levels.” Additionally, each product line includes unique natural ingredients to address specific skin concerns, such as ceramides and beeswax in the “Dry” product line to nourish, sunflower oil distillate in the “Eczema-Prone” product line to replenish, and shizandra, a berry extract, in the “Very Sensitive” product line to soothe redness and irritation.

But shouldn’t all products designed for babies’ sensitive skin be nourishing, replenishing, soothing, and, above all, extremely gentle? We’re wondering if dividing them into different skin types is more about marketing than what’s best for baby.

DermatologistWeighs In

First of all, parents shouldn’t worry that they’ve chosen a baby product for the wrong skin type, shares Jennifer MacGregor, MD, of New York’s Union Square Laser Dermato­logy,. “All products that target babies’ sensitive skin in general will be formulated to be extra gentle and less irritating than typical cosmetic formulations for adults,” she says. When it comes to skin conditions, such as eczema, she recommends petrolatum ointment (plain white Vaseline) as the first and best topical treatment: “Use this all over the skin and use often—multiple times a day.” (Have you heard of this miracle trick to treat eczema?) When a baby with eczema is a few months old, Dr. MacGregor always recommends supplementing petrolatum ointment with a ceramide moisturizer, like Mustela’s line or Eucerin Ceramide.

If you’re wondering what babies would need the “Very Sensitive” products in Mustela’s range, the answer is simple. “All babies!” says MacGregor.

Don’t forget your own skin care, mom—here are some skin care tips dermatologists follow themselves.