Writing about children’s skincare is something I never thought I’d do as a beauty blogger! However, this post about Japanese products for babies and toddlers with sensitive skin is largely based on the Japanese (drugstore) products I’ve used to treat my daughter’s atopic dermatitis.
Over the years, I’ve developed a simple skincare routine to keep her eczema in check, and this routine relies on both prescription and drugstore products. Her skincare routine, in turn, has become the basis of my own daily skincare routine. It’s a preventative routine that focuses primarily on 3 things: a quality cleanser, a rich moisturizer, and a double-duty sunscreen.
Disclaimer: This post is not intended as a replacement for medical or professional advice. If your child has a severe or painful skin condition, please consult with a pediatrician or dermatologist before making changes to your skincare routine or experimenting with new skin care products. This post contains affiliate links.
Japanese Products For Babies and Toddlers With Sensitive Skin
Before I get into the list of products, I’ll briefly touch on “sensitive skin,” “eczema” and a vocabulary list of Japanese words to look out for when shopping for Japanese products from babies and toddlers with sensitive skin:
What is Sensitive Skin?
What we call “sensitive skin” is not a clinical diagnosis. Rather, it’s a term that refers to skin that reacts (become red, dry, itchy, flaky, or bumpy) upon contact with irritants (contact dermatitis). These irritants could be pollen, hold/cold temperatures, sunlight, nickel, fragrances, and/or ingredients in household products & cosmetics.
What is Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)?
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin condition common in children. It makes the skin red, patchy, and extremely itchy. Rashes may develop and there may even be thick, hard patches of skin – the result of a process called lichenification. Symptoms tend to flare up in the summer and winter.
How To Take Care of Baby/Toddler Skin
Prescription medication, OTC products, and a good skincare routine can relieve symptoms and prevent flareups. However, the key to it all is to avoid products that irritate the skin, especially scented body soaps, bath salts, laundry detergents, and hand soaps, etc. Dress your child in clothing with natural/breathable fabrics, keep skin hydrated and moisturized, and apply medicated creams and ointments to relieve redness and itchiness.
Japanese Products For Babies and Toddlers With Sensitive Skin: A Shopping List
Be on the lookout for these words on product labels:
低刺激 // tei shigeki // low-irritant
低アレルギー性 // tei arerugi- sei // hypoallergenic
乾燥肌 // kansou hada // dry skin
アトピー性皮膚炎 // atopi- sei hifuen // atopic dermatis
敏感肌 // binkan hada // sensitive skin
無添加 // mutenka // additive-free
Minon Body Shampoo is a mild shower gel formulated with amino acids, naturally occurring molecules that are essential to moisturize the skin. My daughter’s pediatrician recommended this, along with Curel Foaming Body Wash. Because of its consistency, you can also use it as shampoo that will nourish your child’s scalp.
Like Minon Body Shampoo, Curel is a body wash formulated to meet the needs of those with dry and/or sensitive skin. The key difference, however, is that Curel is formulated with ceramides, lipids that form the skin’s natural barrier. As a foam, it rinses off easier than a gel, which means you use less water.
For what it’s worth, I buy both Minon and Curel products interchangeably, depending largely on which brand earns me extra points at the drugstore!
Atopia is a line of skincare products formulated for babies and toddlers for sensitive skin. Atopita Body Lotion has the consistency of a milky moisturizer, so it doesn’t do much when it comes to locking in hydration unless you reapply it throughout the day. You’ll want to layer it with other products, like Atopita Baby Cream or a baby oil to seal in moisture.
Momo no Ha is a line of mild, peach-scented products from Pigeon. Peach leaf extract as a skincare ingredient reduces inflammation and boosts skin hydration. This lotion can be used on infants 1 month and older and can be used in a baby bath, applied after bath time, or used to wipe down skin on a hot and humid day.
Muhi Baby is used to relieve itchiness and redness caused by bug bites. But, you can also use it to alleviate symptoms of heat rash. This is a summer staple in our home and helped me get through our first summer in Tokyo as well as a few summers in South Carolina! It’s available in cream and roll-on form.
Baby oil is used to moisturize baby’s skin, but it can also be used for baby massages and cleaning tiny belly buttons, ears, and noses. (You can also use it as an impromptu makeup remover!) To lock in moisture, apply Pigeon Baby Clear Oil to damp skin immediately after a bath/wipe down.
Yuskin is a classic Japanese skincare product used to treat painfully dry, cracked skin. It has a rather unique scent that your child probably will not like! I use Yuskin Cream specifically to soothe and heal my daughter’s dry and cracked fingertips. Yuskin is available in a tub, but I prefer the tube as it takes up less space in her skincare basket.
I brought several mini tubes of Atopia UV Cream on a trip to Australia when my daughter was 6-7 months old. It was one of the first sunscreens that I used and her eczema had just started to show. I wasn’t sure if the redness was from her eczema or the sunscreen not working. Plus, it left a weird terrible white/purple cast. However, we’ve since had better results with Atopita sunscreen as she got older, though I personally find that other sunscreens work better with my child’s skin. With that said, other parents have had better luck with this product, so I’m adding it to this list.
Biore UV Nobi Nobi Kids Milk is a highly-rated kids sunscreen that only seemed to aggravate my daughter’s eczema. Plus, she said it had a stinging sensation whenever it got into her eyes. However, as I mentioned earlier, the reviews among parents for this sunscreen are very good, with many praising its thick, water repellent formula and its high UVA and UVB rating. Adults with sensitive, acne-prone skin also love this sunscreen, but it just didn’t work for us.
Now, here’s a sunscreen that we really like: Mommy UV Mild Gel! It’s super gentle on sensitive skin/skin flare ups, has a fun scent, rubs in easily, and comes in the cutest bottle! The milky gel formula contains hyaluronic acid, a classic moisturizing ingredient. It also contains aloe extract, raspberry leaf extract, acerola extract, and jojoba oil to nourish. My only qualm with this product is that it’s only rated SPF 33, so I switch to a different product during the summer months.
This is the kid-friendly version of Nivea’s hit sunscreen for adults, Super Sun Water Gel, which is my favorite all-body sunscreen. It contains eucalyptus extract, an anti-inflammatory that can tone down redness. Older kids with sensitive skin may be able to handle Nivea Sun Super Water Gel which is SPF50/PA+++. This family pack is a great way to try out both sunscreens!
Sunscreen works best when it’s reapplied throughout the day, so it’s great to have a spray-on sunscreen in your bag when you’re out. I started using this spray-on sunscreen last summer and it’s been a lifesaver. Unlike most kids’ sunscreen, this one is SPF 50 and PA+++, meaning it’s tough when it comes to blocking UVA and UVB rays. Skin Peace For Family UV Spray does not leave a white cast, washes off easily with soap and water, and has moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera extra, peach leaf extract and kiwi fruit extract.
My daughter is 5 years old, and I still wash her clothing and bedding separately. Arau Baby is what I used for her clothing and bedding when she was a baby. It’s additive-free and made from plant-derived ingredients. It has a slight herbal scent, and does a decent job of cleaning clothes. Don’t expect much when it comes to stains from blow outs, though! Similarly, Arau Baby is not very effective in removing stains from whites and light-colored clothing.
I mentioned in the previous entry that Arau Baby doesn’t do much when it comes to lighter colors. That’s where Sarasa comes in! Like Arau Baby it’s additive-free and uses plant-based ingredients. Even though it’s bleach-free and does not use fluorescent whitening agents, it does a great job with light-colored clothing. Miss M wears a uniform at kindergarten, so it keeps all her clothing in nice condition, too.
We got through a lot of baby wipes in our house as we have a dog. Merries Baby Skincare Wipes are thick and don’t tear easily, making them great for cleaning sensitive dog paws and wiping down kids on days that they don’t need a bath. By the way, these wipes are the flushable (流せる // nagaseru) kind, but I throw them in the trash, regardless.
What a mouthful! These diapers have an absorbent liner which contains shea butter, a nourishing ingredient. The breathable material adapts to babies’ movements, keeps skin dry for up to 12 hours and is also fragrance, parben, and latex free. I stuck with Pampers all throughout my girl’s diaper days, primarily for its points scheme. So, if you like collecting points, Pampers are a good place to start!
Babies and toddlers unknowingly make their skin condition worse when they scratch, especially when they sleep. Swaddling works for babies, but there’s not much you can do to keep a toddler from scratching in their sleep. These scissors from Pigeon are legitimately the best I’ve ever owned. What I like about these scissors is that they’re compact and have a rounded tip. It’s been 5 years, and I still use the same pair that I got when my girl was just a newborn.
Final Thoughts: Japanese Products For Babies and Toddlers With Sensitive Skin
I briefly touch on this topic in my “pregnant in Japan” and “kindergarten in Japan” posts. But, as a parent/guardian in a foreign country it’s imperative that you have the confidence to be an advocate and voice for your child.
This doesn’t mean being rude, but it certainly means knowing when to draw a line and stand up for yourself and your child. This is especially important when dealing with medical matters for babies and toddlers.They aren’t able to express in words their feelings and symptoms at their age.
I distinctly remember an appointment at a highly-regarded dermatologist in my area. He proceeded to talk down to me when I asked about food allergy testing.
Having severe food allergies myself, I didn’t appreciate the way he talked down to me.
Yeah you’re the expert, but I’ve done these blood tests plenty of times. I know what it’s like to live with a severe food allergy. I literally almost died at a friend’s sleepover in the 5th grade.
At that moment, I realized that if I were to go through with testing at this clinic, I’d have to deal with this guy for all my daughter’s future appointments. So, I quickly noped out of there and began to search for a kinder specialist.
I told myself I’d rather pay out of pocket for treatment at a fancy clinic in Hiroo or Azabu Juban or even Yokohama before I’d ever let that man draw blood from my child.
Does that make me a gaijin Karen? Don’t know, don’t care because I found a pediatrician that’s gentle, and my daughter feels comfortable when she visits. (It also helps that I also treat her to brunch after every visit!)
It goes without saying that living in Tokyo, I have near-endless access to specialists and bilingual medical resources. Therefore, someone living in a smaller city might not have the luxury of finding a second opinion. But, If you do not feel comfortable with treatment or the way a doctor/nurse is handling your child, speak up.
You know your child, not them.
I know l too well how troubling it is to find a decent pediatrician or dermatologist. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or need support!