The use of cosmetics (cleansers, moisturizers, and talcs) was investigated in 200 infants and children of low socioeconomic level with and without skin disease. For children with atopic dermatitis, mothers preferred to use unscented soap. Lubricating or hydrating creams were widely used in children without skin disease. Talc and mineral oil were significantly more frequently used in infants than in children. Both of these products are potentially harmful and represent an unnecessary expense for families with a survival-level budget. Dermatologists should discourage their use.