We understand there are so many different massage oils on the market for you to use, it can be difficult to make a decision. Please find information on here that may help you to decide which oils to use during baby massage. Also giving you some information about the types of oils available.
Your baby’s skin acts as the first line of defence against surface invasion (micro-organisms) and injury and contains a reservoir of defensive elements capable of combating infection and healing deep disruptions. The skin is alive and your baby’s skin forms two new layers every two to three hours and sheds over a million cells an hour.
Which oil to use
Your baby’s skin is finer, with far more sensory receptors than those of any adult, and the openings of the sweat and sebaceous glands and hair follicles render your baby’s skin porous and capable of absorption into the blood stream. Consequently, only the purest products with the most subtle aromas are appropriate for the baby’s skin and these need not be expensive.
Products derived from living structure like plants and vegetables that are easily assimilated in the body are most preferred on baby’s skin.
NatalChoices Developmental Baby Massage classes do not provide massage oil. Our baby’s skin can be very sensitive, and some oil can cause a reaction and other oils are needed for very dry skin. There are also individual preferences for organic or a specific brand that makes it difficult to tailor to all desires.
Natural oils such as fruit and vegetable oils have been historically proven to be the best for use with babies and young children. This has been tried and tested by generations of families from all different parts of the world. As a result many people find it best to avoid peanut oil.
Patch Test First Before Using
Always purchase an oil that you are comfortable with and patch test first before conducting the full body massage.
Before you apply any oil to your baby’s body always patch test first by rubbing the oil into your baby’s forearm from the elbow to the wrist. Leave for an hour, and if there is no adverse reaction then it’s safe to assume it is compatible with your baby’s skin.
Fruit & Vegetable Oils
Grape seed oil has been used to treat skin disorders for thousands of years, as it is easily absorbed it facilitates a good medium for massage. Grape seed oil acts as a moisturiser and its quality of easy absorption means it can penetrate the pores and cleanse the skin. It contains vitamins C D and E which assist skin tone, and is also used to soften dry skin.
Sweet Almond oil is full of vitamins A, B, D and E. Sweet Almond oil helps make the skin soft and smooth and helps keeps it hydrated. It is suitable for oral consumption and used in a variety of skin care products.
Fractionated Coconut Oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is both nourishing and moisturising and hydrates and softens and cleanses the skin. Coconut oil contains vitamin E and absorbs quickly to leave the baby’s skin feeling smooth.
Jojoba Oil is very similar to sebum and therefore is the closest substitute for the natural oil that lubricates your baby’s skin. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and non-toxic. It is quickly absorbed into the skin and does not leave behind any oil residue. This helps in creating a powerful barrier against moisture loss, as well as against allergens and dust pollution. Has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is rich in vitamins E and B-complex.
Olive Oil –antioxidant ingredients are believed to be responsible for a number of olive oil’s biological activities. The light olive oil is yellow in colour, less aromatic and less viscous which makes this particular variety more suitable for the baby’s skin.
Sunflower Oil its nutritious composition makes it one of the healthiest oils for application on the skin. Sunflower oil is known as a natural and healthy way of maintaining the skin. Due to its emollient properties, sunflower oil helps the skin retain its moisture. Using sunflower oil as a lotion on the skin of a premature baby acts as a protective barrier and massaging them with this oil is said to reduce skin infection. Sunflower oil is extremely high in Vitamin E and is essential for preventing damage to the skin cells by UVA from the sun. It is also used in skin products and creates a soft feel on the skin.
These oils are used for healing rashes and bruising. They differ from vegetable or fruit carrier oils as that they are manufactured by the infusion of fresh or dried herbs. One of the most common herbal oils are Calendula. Calendula oil has healing and soothing properties. It is particularly gentle on the skin and can help sooth nappy rash or be used on dry skin as a moisturiser. This oil is not to be consumed and you should avoid the baby making hand contact with either of these oils and then sucking their fist.
Not all essential oils are suitable for babies so first check on those that are, and ensure they are pure.
These are aromatic oils that are extracted from various parts of a plant. Used in massage these oils are absorbed through the skin and transported throughout the body. Essential oils are highly refined and potent and should always be diluted with a base oil before being applied to the body. Essential oils are not recommended for use with babies under twelve weeks of age.
English Lavender A traditionally English herb, has antiseptic qualities which can offer protection. It is cooling, and acts as an insect repellent. Most useful with coughs and colds and last thing at night if your baby has the ‘snuffles’ as used as decongestant.
Chamomile Roman Widely used since the ancient Egyptians, essential oil of chamomile roman is known for its calming and soothing effects. An anti-inflammatory and sedative, it calms the digestive system. It also possesses antiseptic qualities and is recommended for teething, fractiousness and colic and last thing at night to improve sleeping.
Firstly all parents should be content with the decision regarding their chosen oil. Ensure your baby does not have a reaction to the oil before attending a baby massage class. There are no right or wrong decision as long as you are happy and feel you have been well informed.
Most commercial baby oils are mineral and unlike pure fruit and vegetable oils, this does not absorb into the baby’s skin. It lays on top of the skin and seals in the moisture, this means it prevents the skin from breathing. Therefore fruit and Vegetable carrier oil’s are mostly recommended for baby massage.
An adverse reaction from a natural fruit or vegetable oil would normally manifest in a discolouration of the baby’s skin like red blotches that look similar to a heat rash. This will disappear within a couple of hours, then you may try another oil.
Recommended oils to use – Olive oil, Grape seed, Sweet Almond oil, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil, Sunflower oil
To see more detailed information about some commercial baby oil’s please Click Here
Peter Walker (2019) Johnson & Johnson admits: Our baby products contain cancer-causing formaldehyde
NCT (2019) Baby massage: tips and benefits
International Association of Infant Massage (2019) Recent Oil research
Midwifery Journal (2018) Volume 56, Pages 29–43,Skin care for healthy babies at term: A systematic review of the evidence