Why Natural Baby Oil is What You Should Be Using by Billy Norris
Baby oil is used to lessen the effects of chapping and chafing, but would it surprise you to know that many brands can actually block pores, worsen rashes, and even irritate sensitive skin? Parents have used it for decades on their babies without realizing that can actually be harmful. The good news is, there are safer alternatives available.
Also called mineral oil, liquid petrolatum, petroleum distillate, and other names, ordinary baby oil is essentially petroleum with a fragrance added to make it smell light and innocent. The type commonly sold in stores is a petrochemical classified as a Group One or Group 3 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, depending on the level of refinement. According to the National Institutes of health, it may even be contaminating women who use cosmetics made with mineral oil. Furthermore, when a young boy died after inhaling a baby oil, the Consumer Product Safety Commission mandated that all bottle of baby oil be equipped with child proof caps – and no, it’s not one of those Internet memes, it’s sourced on Snopes with links to the new stories at the time. With those big red flags comes a host of other reasons that you don’t want to use this on your family. It’s like putting a coat of paint or plastic wrap on your skin. It prevents skin from expressing waste, leading to blocked pores, and can in turn lead to acne or even abscesses.
The Good News
Thankfully, there are much better choices and alternative oils for your family’s health with natural baby oil from sources like The Honest Company that use people and earth friendly sources. Natural ingredients make a better product. Sustainability and less impact from drilling and refining crude petroleum from drilled or fracked wells is better for the earth – and better on your skin. Look for these kinds of ingredients in your baby oil:
Butters can vary in texture from smooth and creamy to chunky and hard and are often used in creams and lotions.
• Cocoa Butter: This delicious smelling butter is high in vitamin E and is becoming a popular replacement for petrochemicals in your cosmetics.
• Mango Kernel Butter: High in essential fatty acids and with a pleasant, fruity scent, this butter is very similar in texture and use to those of cocoa butter.
• Shea Butter: This African butter has been used throughout history to protect and heal skin, and despite being a little pungent as a standalone, it is very popular. It’s high in vitamins A and E, essential fatty acids, and also has a built-in SPF factor of 6.
Often called carrier oils, these are the liquid oils that are most often used in body and baby oils. Some are more popular than others, and can be combined with other carrier oils and butters.
• Apricot Kernel Oil: great for sensitive baby’s skin as well as for the aged, this oil has a non-greasy feel and loads of fatty acids.
• Avocado Oil: Loaded with plant sterols, fatty acids, and vitamin E, this oil is recommended for people with sensitive skin, irritations, and problem skin.
• Coconut Oil: While this oil might be taken for a butter, it’s classified as an oil because of its low melting point. Coconut oil makes a great barrier, coating skin and keeping moisture in while still allowing skin to breathe.
• Grapeseed Oil: This non-allergenic oil, like many in this list, is a favorite in the kitchen, the bath or the nursery. This oil takes well to skin that resists oils, and is used as a carrier oil especially for this property.
• Jojoba Oil: This is actually more of a plant wax, and is a thick, stable ingredient in many natural baby oil preparations. It’s a favorite because it’s chemically similar to our skin’s natural oils – called sebum. Jojoba is also used as a scalp cleanser, and some even claim it can cure cradle cap in babies.
• Sunflower Oil: Loaded with lecithin and vitamins A, D, and E, it’s recommended especially for damaged, aged, and weathered skin.
• Tamanu Oil: Often called a miracle oil, Tamanu oil has antibiotic, antimicrobial, antineuralgic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s been well-researched and proven to have unquestioned healing properties on scars, sores, rashes and more.
Instead of a chemically based scent, natural baby oils will use essential oils to make their product not only smell good, but to impart aroma therapeutic properties to the oil. These oils are distilled instead of composed of chemicals or extracted through the use of solvents. Popular scents for body and baby oils include chamomile, rose, bergamot, vanilla, galbanum, lavender, valerian, and others. You can make your own, but the raw materials can be expensive, and it takes experience to turn out a useable product. While experimenting with DIY can be fun, it’s better to leave some things to the professionals.