Baby lotion is often used to maintain the skin of infants and to provide a barrier to protect it. Emollient ingredients added to damp skin after a bath can lock in the natural moisture of the skin, and baby lotion in particular is typically marketed as an after bath product. Other uses for baby lotion include providing a barrier for diapered areas and relieving skin conditions that can occur in infants.
Many baby lotions have a scent that is similar to powder, while others are fragrance free. Babies tend to have a naturally pleasant smell, and for some parents, it is a preference to use unscented products. Ingredients in scented baby lotion also may be a concern for those babies with sensitive skin. Strong perfumes can cause irritation in some infants. Generally the scent of lotion is a matter of preference in choosing a product
As with adult skin care products, baby lotions are offered in various natural and organic versions. These are often preferred by parents who want a product that contains fewer chemicals or synthetic ingredients, which can be irritants. It is usually easier to find products containing natural ingredients in developed countries. Using pure olive oil on the skin can be very effective for moisturizing, as can nut and plant oils and gels such as sesame, kola, and aloe vera. In much of the world, Western countries specifically, baby lotions may have ingredients that differ little from regular adult body lotions, or they can be gentle moisturizers that contain few ingredients.
Baby lotion can be used on infants and small children to provide moisture after a bath. Typically it can be applied from head to toe, though care should be used around the face, and especially the eyes and mouth. Though petroleum, cream, and gel formulas may be applied to a baby’s bottom with diaper changing, lotion also can be used to keep this skin soft and to soothe dry or red areas.
Some infants may require extra moisture for conditions such as cradle cap or eczema. If red or persistent flaky skin is present, a medical professional should be consulted. Often, though, treatments for some common skin conditions include simply cleansing and keeping skin moist, which can be aided with an emollient baby lotion. In choosing a lotion for specific skin troubles, those with less fragrance and fewer ingredients may be advisable.