Is It Safe To Put Baby Lotion On Newborns?

Is It Safe To Put Baby Lotion On Newborns?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Arti Sharma (Paediatrician)
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Once you welcome your newborn into the world, caring for the little one becomes a top priority. Many first-time mothers ask, “can you put lotion on a newborn?” Newborns have delicate skin that is vulnerable to irritation and dryness. Although newborn skin does not require additional moisturisation very often, the skin does get dry after baths and may require a small amount of moisturiser to replenish the natural skin oils lost due to bathing or dry air. Hence, using lotion to protect your little one’s skin is safe.

It’s important to remember that every baby is different and may require different skincare routines. Always consult with your paediatrician before trying out any new products. As a parent, caring for your newborn’s skin is just one of the many ways to show your love and protect them. With some extra care and attention, your baby’s delicate skin will stay soft, healthy, and snuggly! Let us look at some dos and don’ts regarding the application of lotion on your baby’s skin.

Video: Is Baby Lotion Safe for Newborn Babies?

When Can You Start Putting Lotion on a Newborn Baby?

Ah, the joys of caring for a newborn baby! As a new parent, you probably wonder when it’s safe to start using lotion on your little one’s delicate skin. Most paediatricians recommend waiting until your baby is 2-3 weeks old before introducing lotion to their skincare routine.

But here’s the catch – not all lotions are created equal! Make sure to choose a lotion specifically designed for babies that is fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. You don’t want to risk irritating your baby’s skin with harsh chemicals or overpowering scents.

Newborn babies have a covering over their skin called ‘vernix’. This is a waxy layer of protection that covered their body in the womb to protect their skin from the amniotic fluid. This layer starts peeling off in the first few weeks after birth, giving the appearance of dry and flaky skin. The skin below this layer is moist enough and does not need extra moisturisation.

dry and flaky skin on baby

However, you can use a moisturiser if the baby seems to have very dry skin, especially around the ankles, elbows and hands. It is safe to use petroleum jelly, olive oil or Vitamin A-D cream to help with the appearance of the skin when the vernix is peeling off. If you want to use store-bought moisturiser, it is best to use a mild, fragrance-free one or one that has been recommended by your newborn’s paediatrician.

Why Does a Newborn Baby’s Skin Need Lotion?

Do babies need lotion? A newborn baby’s skin is quite moist under the outermost layer. However, it does need lotion or a moisturiser as it can dry when exposed to dry air in the room and after a bath. It is best not to bathe your newborn baby more than thrice a week, as this can strip the baby’s delicate skin of all the oils that keep the skin soft and supple.

The baby’s skin is sensitive and prone to irritation and eczema. Hence, you may need to use lotion or moisturiser to soothe skin irritation and combat baby eczema. You can use mild and fragrance-free lotions to keep your newborn’s skin from drying. 

baby feet

You can use lotions that are mild and fragrance-free to keep your newborn’s skin from becoming too dry. You can also use olive oil or petroleum jelly if you do not wish to use commercially available baby creams and lotions.

Where Can You Apply and Not Apply Lotion on Newborns?

After bathing your baby, applying lotion to their body is safe to replenish natural skin oils that may have been lost due to bathing or dry air. However, being cautious about where you apply the lotion is crucial. Applying lotion to the face, hands, and diaper area is not advisable. This is because newborn skin is delicate and susceptible to irritation, especially on the face. Rather than using lotion on the face, gently cleaning it with a soft, damp cloth is recommended.

Newborns have a habit of putting their hands in their mouths, so it’s essential to avoid applying lotion to their hands. If the hands need to be moisturised, a gentle, unscented product specially formulated for babies can be used. In the case of the diaper area, applying lotion can form a barrier that restricts breathing and causes diaper rash. A diaper cream specifically designed for diaper rash is a better alternative.

Always use a small amount of lotion and select a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic product specifically created for babies.

Tips to Apply Baby Lotion on Newborns

Here are some tips on how to use baby lotion on newborns:

1. Apply Lotion After Bath

Baths can dry the baby’s skin, so apply a fragrance-free, gentle lotion. Clean your hands thoroughly. Take a small amount and spread it on the palms and fingers of your hands. Gently massage the baby’s body such that the lotion spreads evenly all over.

2. Use Lotion on Areas That Look Dry

Apply lotion to areas of the baby’s body that appear very dry such as the ankles, elbows, and hands.

3. Avoid Using More than One Product

Do not use more than one product on your baby as the chemicals in commercially manufactured lotions can harm the delicate newborn skin. Choose one that has been recommended by your paediatrician and continue with it.

4. Gently Massage the Lotion into Your Baby’s Skin

When applying lotion on newborn,  use a gentle touch and massage it into your baby’s skin in circular motions. This not only helps to spread the lotion evenly but also promotes healthy circulation.

5. Don’t Forget the Folds and Creases

Newborn babies have plenty of folds and creases in their skin, especially around their neck, elbows, and knees. Make sure to apply lotion to these areas to prevent dryness and irritation.

6. Consider the Time of Day

Applying lotion in the morning and after a bath is great, but you can also apply it at night before bedtime. This can create a soothing bedtime routine for your baby and help them sleep better.

Following these tips and using a gentle touch can keep your baby’s delicate skin soft and healthy. After all, there’s nothing quite like snuggling up with a soft, sweet-smelling baby!

Safety Measures to Take While Applying Lotion

Here are some safety tips to follow while applying lotion on your newborn:

  • Choose a mild lotion, free of harmful chemicals.
  • Clean your hands thoroughly before applying lotion on your baby’s body.
  • Make sure you do not have sharp nails, as you could scratch the baby’s skin when you apply the lotion.
  • Avoid using several baby products as this can harm the newborn’s skin.
  • Wash new clothes before the baby wears them to reduce the risk of skin irritations or allergies.
  • Do not bathe your baby more than thrice a week, as it strips the baby’s skin of natural moisture.

How to Choose the Best Lotion for Your Newborn?

To find out what is the best lotion for newborn baby, follow these tips:

  • Pick a mild and gentle lotion that is free of perfume, colours, parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, preservatives, and organically extracted plant oils.
  • Choose a lotion that is doctor-recommended, rather than buying one at a store.
  • If you prefer not to buy lotion, you can use olive oil, petroleum jelly or doctor-recommended vitamin A-D cream.
  • Use a lotion that is hypoallergenic on your baby’s skin to avoid any allergic reactions.
  • Always read the label carefully to ensure that the lotion is free of any ingredients that can be harmful or irritating to your baby’s skin. 
  • Avoid lotions with alcohol, dyes, or artificial fragrances, as these can be drying and irritating.
  • If your baby has particularly dry or sensitive skin, look for a lotion specially formulated for those skin types. 
  • You may also want to choose a lotion that contains ingredients like oatmeal or aloe vera, which can soothe and moisturise dry, irritated skin.

How to Choose the Best Lotion for Your Newborn

When to Consult a Doctor?

If your baby has very dry, itchy, peeling skin along with redness, it could be eczema, and you should see a paediatrician right away. Baby eczema is usually seen on the hands, face, and back of the knees. You should also consult a doctor if the baby continues to have very dry skin despite using a moisturiser.


1. Can You Apply Lotion on a Newborn Everyday?

Yes, you can apply lotion on a newborn every day, but it’s important to use a mild and gentle lotion formulated for babies. Additionally, you should avoid using too much lotion and apply it only to areas that are dry or prone to dryness. Over-applying lotion can lead to clogged pores and cause irritation or other skin issues. Generally, it’s best to apply lotion sparingly and only as needed.

2. Can You Apply Lotion on a 3-Day-Old Baby?

Applying lotion on a 3-day-old baby is generally safe, but you should always check with your dermatologist first to ensure your baby’s skin is healthy and doesn’t require special care. In the first few days of life, a newborn’s skin is still adapting to life outside the womb, and their skin may be sensitive or prone to dryness or other issues. 

Although your baby’s skin is moist enough and does not require lotion, it is not really unsafe to use a gentle lotion. Consult a doctor before using any new product on your baby.


1. Kanti. V, Gunther. M, Stroux. A, et al.; Influence of sunflower seed oil or baby lotion on the skin barrier function of newborns: A pilot study; PubMed Central;; January 2017

2. Duan. Y, Ma. L, Galzote. C, et al.; A Randomized Pilot Clinical Assessment Of Three Skincare Regimens On Skin Conditions In Infants; PubMed Central;; December 2019

3. Tolerance of natural baby skin-care products on healthy, full-term infants and toddlers; Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology;; February 2014

4. Bathing and Skin Care for the Newborn; Stanford Medicine Children ‘s Health;

Also Read: Baby Skin Care Tips

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