As a Registered Massage Therapist – one of the questions we often get during our Infant Massage class is, “what oil should I use for my baby?”. This is a great question and I’ll be giving you the run down on the right oils to use.
Coconut oil is low in both oleic and linoleic acid, but is high in laurel acid, a known antifungal and antimicrobial agent. It also can help improve the integrity of the skin barrier function. It’s easy to find, available at the grocery store, smells nice, and won’t hurt your baby if they get it in their mouth, unless they’re allergic – which is pretty unlikely. This is my go-to oil for infant massage.
Preterm infants who had application of coconut oil to the whole body twice-daily for the first 7 days of life exhibited lesser transepidermal water loss (TEWL) when compared to infants from the control group who received no treatment, indicating that coconut oil improved the integrity of the skin barrier function.
Oils high in linoleic acid
High linoleic acid (high polyunsaturated fats) are better for more sensitive skin. They’re thought to protect the skin’s natural barriers. This includes safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, and hemp oil.
Oils high in oleic acid
High oleic acid (high monounsaturated fats like Olive, jojoba, avocado) are deeper penetrating and although, traditionally thought of as more moisturizing, can make baby’s skin more permeable. So, although moisturizing in the short term, these oils leave skin prone to moisture loss; however, these types of oils are good for treating cradle cap.
Oils you shouldn’t use
I don’t recommend using the following oils on babies: mustard oil, mint oil, peanut oil, aqueous creams (eucerin etc.) perfumed oil, essential oils, or creams with alcohol.
Infant Massage Workshop
I hope the above was helpful. If you have any other questions or would like to learn more about Infant Massage, please join our Infant Massage workshop in Toronto or Newmarket or book a massage appointment for your lil one.