What’s Really In Baby Oil?
Baby oil is generally made from 100% mineral oil with fragrances. Mineral oil is a widely misunderstood ingredient. It refers to a category of oils rather than one particular type of oil. The term mineral oil includes the likes of paraffin oil, white oil, and petroleum oil. Regardless of the specific type of mineral oil, they are all produced as a by-product of refining crude oil into gasoline and petroleum products. If you are starting to feel like it doesn’t sound like something you want to turn into baby oil and apply on your child, you might be right to hesitate.
The world Health Organisations issued concerns over the carcinogenic risks of mineral oils and studies have shown continuous topical applications on skin to be linked to skin cancers. Mineral oils also have a risk associated with ingestion. Considering the research we’d also hesitate before using a mineral oil based baby oil.
Why you should be considering natural plant oils as a baby oil?
Our skin absorbs substances on its surface in much the same way as our digestive system absorbs nutrients. The importance of ensuring what you put on your skin is food grade and not harmful is increasing even as adults.
The skin of babies absorbs moisture and toxins at a much higher rate than that of adults. Babies also have a higher skin to body mass ratio than adults, making them more susceptible to the impact of toxins applied to their skin. Medical practitioners recommend only critically important products should be applied to the skin of babies.
How To Make Natural, Mineral Oil Free, Baby Oil…
There are a few recipes out there for natural baby oil. The key objective of baby oil is to moisturise. For this, we recommend either olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil or even coconut oil. Most recommend the infusion of calendula oil as a soothing, anti-inflammatory property but this is an optional added extra. If you intend to mix oils or infuse with other ingredients remember the shelf life of the oil would be diminished. Make small batches to last a few weeks and create new batches regularly. If you notice the oil forming sediment, changing colour or smelling different replace it with a new batch immediately.
The simple version of natural baby oil involves just a pure plant-based oil:
- Olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil
Which one you choose will depend on your budget, fragrance preferences, how frequently you intend to use it and for what.
For more complex baby oil recipes:
Naturally Mindful recommends:
- 100ml olive oil
- 100ml sweet almond oil
- 1 cup dry chamomile flowers
- 1/2 cup dry calendula petals
Wellness Mama recommends:
- 1 cup of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons calendula flowers
- 2 tablespoons chamomile flowers
- 1 cup olive oil or almond oil
- 2 tbs dried herbs like calendula or lavender
The ingredients in all the above posts are safe and proven to have skin soothing properties.
If you are using a pure oil there is no prep required. Just decant into your preferred container and store close at hand to be used when necessary.
For the more complex recipes, you can follow 2 approaches: infuse with heat using the double boiler method or infuse with time by allowing the herbs to steep in the oil for a few weeks before use.
Method 1 – Infuse with heat:
- Heat the oils and herbs in a double boiler (not directly on the stove or they will burn) until the oil starts to take on the aroma of the herbs added.
- Allow the mixture to cool.
- Strain the herbs from the mixture using a fine strainer
- Pour strained mixture into preferred storage container and store in dark, cool place ready to use when needed.
Method 2 – infuse with time:
- Add the herbs to the oil in a container.
- Store the container in a dark cool place and shake daily for 6 – 8 weeks.
Because of the increased risk of rancidity caused by the herbs over time, we would opt for option 1.
Notes On Fragrances Of Baby Products
We specifically exclude all fragrances using essential oils from our baby care product recipes. Most essential oils are not safe for small infants, especially those younger than 3 months. Using essential oils for infants older than 3 months can be safe depending on the type, amount of essential oils applied and the frequency. Ensure you do adequate research before incorporating any essential oils into your baby’s products.
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Don’t forget to browse the rest of our baby care recipes for further natural recipes you might find useful.