Choosing the right moisturizers for your baby

Navigating through all the moisturizers out there to find the right one for your baby can be a nightmare.

My baby Marcie has tried various lotions and creams (I remembered when the household budget burst due to many trial and error purchases and our cabinets stacked full of different moisturizers) and finally settled on using Physiogel AI cream, Physiogel body lotion and QV body lotion. As you are figuring out which moisturizer to use, it is important to remember the one advice that I had from Marcie’s doctor, “You Can’t Moisturize too Much”.

The Undecipherable Information out there on Moisturizer

Whether over the internet or on product labels, I have this conclusion after trying to no avail to sum up the pros and cons of different moisturizers – We, as parents and layman, can’t figure out from reading the information available. I have tried at least 3 times to make sense of all the information out there, including comparing all the ingredients, and given up (all three times). I can only let you know that Physiogel and QV work for Marcie which are also recommended by Marcie’s doctor (I didn’t accept any advertising fees from these two brands and neither do I see these brands sold at the clinic that Marcie’s doctor works in).

What Moisturizers worked for Marcie’s Eczema

Physiogel AI cream works quite well but due to its high cost, S$35 for 50ml, I only use it on her face and after  swimming. Physiogel AI cream is able to neutralize free radicals which when produced in excess, damages skin cells. Physiogel body lotion also works for Marcie but also due to its cost, I use when her rashes are affecting her badly (on top of using mild steroid). On a daily basis, liberal amounts of QV body lotion is slathered on Marcie and her infant care teachers have also been reassured not to worry about slathering too much.

What has not worked for Marcie’s Eczema

Aqueous cream which contains emulsifying ointment, paraffin and preservatives – I tried this as it was recommended by a friend’s dermatologist but it hasn’t worked for Marcie. She scratched the area and was crying with frustration the two nights we applied for her. Also read that some doctors say this cream will cause thinning of skin over long period of use.

California Baby – no improvement and my hubby who has eczema felt that it stung on his eczema skin

Gaia Natural Baby – no improvement and too expensive to use liberally

Both the organic cream, California Baby and Gaia Natural Baby, are gifts from friends. Read that organic does not necessarily mean non – allergenic as some people can still be allergic to the organic ingredients. Also the use of the word ‘organic’ is not regulated.

Calamine lotion – not suitable as told by a doctor whose kids have allergies. I think it’s because one of the key ingredient, zinc oxide, absorbs moisture and that’s why it doesn’t help to moisturize the skin but helps to dry up weeping wounds.

Prickly heat powder– not suitable as told by same doctor above. My own guess is that it doesn’t have any moisturizing function.

Some common items to look out for in labels

  1. Hypoallergenic – means less chance of developing allergy
  2. Suitable for eczema baby or child
  3. Free of fragrance and perfumes
  4. Free from dyes, colors, conventional emulsifiers, preservatives, mineral oils, paraffin

In general, lotions are more easily absorbed but not as long-lasting as creams. For me, I prefer lotion as Marcie is too fidgety for me to have the time to get the cream from the tub (and ensuring no contamination) and apply over her body.

Do persevere in moisturizing as dry skin leads to itching and do so liberally all day and immediately after your baby’s shower.

Update: Almost a year after writing this post, I’ve interviewed a dermatologist Dr Verallo-Rowell for a 13-part Sensitive Skin Product Series, and in this post, she provides the list of ingredients and their different names to avoid. 

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  1. Can my baby use physiogel AI cream on her face as she only 1 month old? Pls advise. Thanks.

    1. Yes, we used AI cream on our daughter’s face and body. Do keep the face clean, without using wipes or excessive wiping (that may further dry or irritate skin), do check out this interview with dermatologist Dr Jessica Krant on washing face!

      1. Thanks for the reply. Now I am confidence to use it on her face. How long should I use it on her? 1 week? I am worry that AI cream is too strong for 1 month old baby.

        How about newborn baby who is just 2 weeks old? Will physiogel AI cream too strong for them?

        1. AI cream is moisturizing, without steroid content, thus can keep using. It is encouraged to moisturize newborn babies (3 weeks old), in particular those who are at higher risk of eczema due to family history. See this post on the research study, mentioned in my interview with dermatologist Cheryl Lee – it’s considered one of the significant studies as it proves that there is a preventive effect against eczema from moisturizing. Hope all get better soon!

  2. my kid has eczema and dr prescribed sensitelial emollient care cream..any idea about this??was using physiogel lotion was fine..but once a week needed to apply steroid.pls hepl..also is cream good for face than lotion??

    1. Hi! Thanks for dropping by my blog; I haven’t heard of sensitelial, but you can use these posts as a guide to assessing the cream.
      We are using physiogel, and think it’s ok. I think cream/ lotion both works on face.. but have to be careful that it doesn’t contact the top irritants as the facial skin may be more sensitive, see if the posts below helps, take care and hope all is better soon

  3. My 4-year daughter started to have eczema at the sole and spread to the whole body thereafter. Tried QV, eczerra, emu oil, TCM cream, cetaphil and ceradan. Only the last works. It’s available at CGH, KK for $43.30 @80g. May try physiogel A1 cream as cheaper (available at TTS for [email protected]).

    1. Thanks Alvin for your sharing, and understand trying different creams, been through the same. We tried a sample of Ceradan cream and seems to work quite well but it has a bit of a smell that my daughter doesn’t like. Did a post comparing different creams, it’s quite hard to figure it all out but I kind of concluded that Physiogel is quite ok, on balance for its pricing, (less) number of ingredients and (less) number of irritants.

      Thanks and good weekend!

      1. Hi, my son uses Physiogel too. Just fyi, to save $, I order from Qoo10. It’s european version and it’s actually the same. Much cheaper and sometimes buy 1 get 1 free! Do explore. 😉

        1. Thanks! I shall explore Qoo10 too; have always bought when they package their creams together in a bundle of 3. That work out cheaper than other offers they have like 2nd for 50% off.
          Thanks again, have a good day,

    1. Welcome! I’m using the QV intensive too, ever since my K2 gal protested against moisturizing, so figured use a longer lasting one for her. Nothing special about the cream, just that it has no water, so last longer. Hugs!

      1. Hi I’m using Physiogel n Atopiclaire on my child
        Has anyone heard of Curel? Saw a article on its body foam- claimed to be good. Any comments? Thx

        1. Hi Rachel!
          Thanks for dropping by my blog. Heard of Curel, it belongs to ceramide/lipid ‘replenish’ (don’t know what’s the right term for it!) but basically similar to the more expensive category of creams that work on improving the skin structure rather than just moisturizing. I heard positive feedback on it but I’ve not used it. As long as it’s within your budget because no matter how good the cream, it’s no use if you use too sparingly due to budget constraint. Or you can use both an expensive cream with a basic moisturizing one, which is what I do. Given how dry eczema skin is and how much lotion/cream/ointment is required, it’s impossible for our family budget to just use the expensive ceramide/lipid-type cream.


  4. hi, how about physiogel (hypoallergenic) cream? does it work as well as physiogel al? also, how about ceradan? anyone has any experience with this? thanks!

    1. I do use both the normal physiogel and the AI version. Both works as a moisturizer. The AI is more expensive as it has ceramides/lipids that is what dry skin lacks. Ceradan belongs to the same category as AI cream, works too. So, it’s more of a matter of affordability. Paying more to get a cream that works to rebuild the skin structure, but any cream that is used non-regularly is not going to help.
      For me, if my child’s skin is dry/itchy, I may intensively use an expensive, ceramide cream and when is ok, switch back to normal good quality cream but not ceramide-type.
      Dry skin needs lots of moisturizer – not sustainable to my household to use only ceramide cream in that ‘abundance’.

  5. Hi :

    I use QV flare-up cream on my 5 years old son when he got a flare – up. Is it safe to be used?

    1. Hi Pey Pey, thanks for dropping by my blog 🙂 I looked at the ingredients of QV flare-up, and it doesn’t look very different from the normal QV cream so I suspect it could be a higher % of glycerin which had been studied in certain articles to be more moisturizing. I don’t think there is thus un-safety to the flare-up cream, as long as your son is not hypersensitive to any of its ingredient (e.g. there is paraben in the QV flare-up cream, in low %).

      Is your son’s eczema serious? If it’s mild and more intensive moisturizing can calm the flare-up, then that’s the best. However, an angry flare-up does need more than just moisturizing to bring down the inflammation.

      Take care!

  6. One question, is it ok to apply Physiogel AI on raw eczema? Because when I put yesterday, he cried so I guess its painful.. Thats the reason why I prefer to put like Unicity Green tea oil, its easier to put on his raw skin..

    1. I think it’s ok. Oil doesn’t protect the skin, though it relieves the itch. Moisturizer has the function of trapping moisture within skin and protecting the skin barrier, and I think oil doesn’t do that function that well. Is he scratching bad? Distracting him helps?
      Take care,