Medically Approved

6 baby products moms can use, too

4 minute read
Mother using baby skincare products

The same gentle products you use on your baby can pull double duty as makeup-removing wipes, anti-chafing creams, lip balms and more. Learn how to find the best picks for you and your little one.

Lauren Bedosky

By Lauren Bedosky

Whether you’re an expectant parent stocking up for the big arrival or a new mom (or dad) treating diaper rash and cradle cap, you want the best products for your little one’s delicate skin. Why not pamper yourself, too?

But instead of heading to the adult beauty counter, go ahead and dip into your baby’s supply. Many of the gentle, effective ingredients in your baby’s products will also work wonders for you.

Why baby skincare products work well for adults

Baby skincare products aren’t just the ideal choice for your little one. They’re well-formulated for new and expecting moms as well.

“During and after pregnancy, the skin can become more sensitive and reactive. So it’s a great time to try gentler, cleaner products and determine what works for you,” says Nina Antonov, MD. She’s a dermatologist with Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut.

And it just so happens that many baby skincare products check those boxes. Many (though not all) products formulated for little ones are gentle and contain fewer allergenic and irritating ingredients than adult products, says Lauren Eckert Ploch, MD. She’s a dermatologist in Augusta, Georgia, and Aiken, South Carolina.

Baby skincare products also tend to have lower concentrations of active ingredients known to cleanse and exfoliate. Those ingredients are usually fine for normal adult skin, but they can irritate sensitive baby and new-mom skin.

Products made for babies are also more likely to have higher concentrations of skin-soothing ingredients that support the skin barrier, Dr. Antonov says. That means baby products may be less likely to cause dry skin or rash than their adult counterparts.

Shop for all your baby and new-mom needs on the Optum Store and have products shipped directly to your front door.

Are baby skincare products held to stricter rules?

You might think that baby skincare products have stricter safety standards, but that’s not the case, Dr. Ploch says.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates skincare products, it doesn’t have the power to approve them before they pop up in drugstores. The most the FDA can do is pull a product if there’s enough evidence proving it’s unsafe or doesn’t live up to its claims.

That means it’s up to you to do a little research, both for your baby’s sake and your own. “Marketing and product packaging can be misleading. So the best thing an expectant or new mom can do is learn how to read product ingredient labels,” Dr. Antonov says.

When you know what to look for — and what to avoid — you’ll feel more empowered as you browse the aisles, she adds.

So get in the habit of checking product ingredient labels. Avoid baby skincare products that contain any of the following irritating ingredients and common allergens:

  • Alcohol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Fragrances
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Sulfates
  • Synthetic dyes

Dr. Ploch also suggests avoiding “natural” baby skincare products. They may contain essential oils that mimic the effects of estrogen.

“Tea tree oil and lavender oil have caused breast growth in young boys, so I would never recommend a baby product with essential oils,” she says. Essential oils may also cause irritation or allergies on young or sensitive skin.

Best mom uses for your baby’s skincare products

Once you feel confident that you have a stash of safe supplies for your baby, here’s how you can borrow them for your beauty routine. (You can also find a wide range of adult skincare products on the Optum Store.)

To remove makeup: Baby wipes

Baby wipes are a great option for removing makeup. “I personally use them,” Dr. Ploch says.

You can also use them to freshen up after a workout or wipe away grime after wearing a face mask all day.

Just check that the wipes are hypoallergenic. If they’re not, Dr. Ploch recommends giving your skin a quick scrub instead with a gentle cloth or cotton round, along with a gentle face cleanser to avoid irritation.

For shaving: Baby body lotion, baby oil or baby balm

If your skin struggles with regular shaving cream, give baby body lotion, oil or balm a try. All these options contain gentle, nourishing ingredients to protect against irritation and razor burn.

For dry, cracked skin or chafing: Diaper rash cream or ointments

Diaper rash creams are made to soothe and heal irritated skin. Also, plain ointments such as Vaseline and Aquaphor can pull double duty as a diaper rash cream and a calming salve for dry skin. “We recommend these ointments to adults for chapped lips, dry skin, wound healing and more,” Dr. Ploch says.

These products are also helpful for problems that can result from all the changes your body goes through during and after pregnancy. You may find new areas of skin chafing, such as under the breasts and along the inner thighs.

A zinc oxide-based diaper rash cream can act as a soothing and protective barrier on those places, Dr. Antonov says. Apply to raw spots to relieve pain and prevent further irritation.

To clean makeup brushes: Baby body wash

The gentle ingredients in baby body wash make it a top choice for cleaning delicate makeup brushes and sponges, according to Dr. Antonov.

We've got more ways to help new moms. Check out "8 products that take the frustration out of breastfeeding."  


Additional sources
Cosmetic regulations: US Food and Drug Administration (2013). “FDA Authority Over Cosmetics: How Cosmetics Are Not FDA-Approved, But Are FDA-Regulated”
Essential oils and breast growth: Endocrine News (2018). “ENDO 2018: Chemicals in Lavender and Tea Tree Oil Appear to Be Hormone Disruptors”