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Oils & Lotions

Choosing the Right Oil or Cream

On a general level to obtain the maximum benefits from a massage the most suitable oil should be chosen for that purpose.  Oils glide better than lotions and creams which tend to lose their glide quite quickly as absorbed faster than Oils.   Easy  Oils to get are Johnsons baby oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil and olive oil.

Some parents choose a mineral oil and others a vegetable oil. Some prefer ones that sink in whereas others prefer ones that are more slippery on the babys skin.  Oils high in linoleic acid include sunflower oil and grapeseed oil and this fatty acid can make the babys skin more permeable and help oil and water be absorbed.  Oils high in oleic acid include olive oil and high oleic sunflower seed oil and can be harsher on the skin than oils high in linoleic acid or baby mineral oils.

If your baby has skin conditions such as eczema ones then its better to use medical emollient creams or ointments.  Avoid vegetable oils that are higher in fatty acid such as oleic acid as they can be harsher on your babys skin

Almond Oil

Sweet almond oil is pale and yellow in colour and slightly oily so allows hands to glide easily over the skin.  It can reduce skin inflammation and heal skin cells.  The vitamins A & E and the fatty acids in the oil encourage repair of dry skin.

Coconut Oil

A light non greasy liquid oil and good massage oil.  Long shelf life and less expensive than others.  Also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties so an ideal choice for babys skin

A study in 2004 showed that coconut oil on newborns resulted in weight gain as improved skin barrier function.

Sunflower Oils

Light and non greasy and will not leave skin feeling oily.  Extracted from sunflower seeds.  Full of Vitamin E and is edible and safe for the skin.  Can go rancid quickly so should be purchased in small quantities and kept in a dark cool area.  Putting one or 2 capsules of Vitamin E in the bottom may help extend the shelf life.

Mineral Oils

Mineral Oils or Petroleum based ointments have also been shown to help protect premature babys skin.  They are thought to improve the barrier function in vulnerable areas of premature babys skin because they seal in the moisture.  They work well for baby massage if after a bath and skin still damp.

Commercially Sold Massage Oils

Many infant oils on the markets are safe but always check ingredients and advice on age appropriateness.

Oils and Creams To Avoid

  • Mustard Oil – has a toxic effect on the skin barrier causing irritation and potential damage to the babys skin.
  • Unrefined Peanut Oil – because contains proteins and baby may be allergic.
  • Aqueous Cream – because it contains a harsh detergent called sodium lauryl sulphate that may irritate your baby’s skin and damage the skin barrier.

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