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  5. Can Baby Oil Actually Be Used On Your Skin? + Benefits & Side Effects

Have you ever thought of using baby care products? Baby oils are popular among some adults for skin and hair care. Widely believed to form a semi-breathable layer over the skin, baby oils help to retain the natural moisture on your skin’s surface.

People also believe that any product suitable for a baby's sensitive skin would be best for adults as well. However, it is important to know about the composition of baby oil, its benefits, usage, and precautions that need to be followed. Read on to find out more.

What Exactly Is Baby Oil?

Baby oil is usually a clear, moisturizing liquid meant to be applied to delicate baby skin after a bath. It helps to soothe and smoothen their skin. The key ingredients of most commercial baby oils are mineral oil (the major component) and fragrance (in a small percentage). Baby oils may also be formulated with vegetable oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, other natural ingredients like vitamin A & E, aloe vera, honey, etc., along with mineral oil.

A highly purified form of petroleum, mineral oil is a popular component in cosmetic products used for moisturizing and hydrating the skin [1]. It is a colorless, odorless, inert substance and does not react with other substances that come in its contact. Generally, mineral oil is non-comedogenic, which means that it doesn't clog skin pores.

Basically, this oil creates a barrier layer on the top of your skin and thereby prevents moisture loss. Mineral oils help to soothe your skin and retain moisture. There are multiple options of baby oil with different combinations of ingredients, some of which are highly controversial.

Why Do Some People Use Baby Oil On The Skin?

While baby oils are meant for delicate and sensitive baby skin, some people find them excellent for adult skin as well. Baby oils are carefully formulated to be hypoallergenic, so they can be applied on baby skin without any fear of allergic reaction. This property makes it a suitable choice for adults irrespective of their skin type.

Did You Know?

Some people use baby oil to rehydrate their dry skin and lock in its moisture.

Additionally, these paraben, phthalate, and dye-free oils are considered beneficial for cuticle care, hair care, foot care, makeup removal, etc. Baby oils with different natural ingredients are believed to nourish your skin and keep it healthy.

Benefits Of Baby Oil On Skin

It is commonly believed that baby oil can benefit your skin in multiple ways. Though some claims are yet to be proven, it doesn’t diminish its popularity as a skincare product. Here are the benefits of baby oil:

1. As A Skin Moisturizer

The mineral oil present in baby oil has a larger molecular size, making it non-comedogenic (not clogging your skin’s pores) and occlusive. It helps to lock in the moisture on your skin. So those with normal to dry skin can use baby oil to moisturize their skin.

A study was conducted to identify the effect of some common moisturizing ingredients on people’s skin. It showed mineral oil to have a more significant moisturizing effect than glycerin, ethanol, and water. So, products like baby oil that contain a high percentage of mineral oil, can be applied as a skin moisturizer. Scientists also added that mineral oil could help plump up skin along with providing a hydrated appearance.

Woman Legs With Perfect Hairless Smooth And Silky Skin

2. As A Makeup Remover

An unproven benefit of baby oil is that it can be an excellent alternative to a makeup remover. Many people believe that baby oil helps to dissolve makeup and dirt buildup on the skin. To use, apply a thin layer of baby oil to your skin and massage for a few minutes. Then wipe it away with a cotton pad and wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove all the residue.

3. Reduces The Appearance Of Stretch Marks & Scars

There is no direct research showing the efficiency of baby oil as a scar and stretch mark reducer. Still, a 1993 study exhibited that baby oil can help in scar removal. Being an effective moisturizer, baby oil can plump up the depressed skin of scarred areas. It helps to reduce the overall appearance of scars and stretch marks.

A 1975 research has shown that baby oil is not long-lasting. So, you need to reapply baby oil at regular intervals to keep your skin looking moisturized and plump.

4. As A Foot Care Product

There is no proven study supporting the effectiveness of baby oil as a foot care product. But, baby oil with vitamin A and E [2] can help rejuvenate and restore the skin of your heel and sole area. It is beneficial in healing cracked heels too. You can apply baby oil as a foot moisturizer or even use it for a home pedicure. Applying baby oil after a shower and before going to bed at night will make your feet soft and moisturized.

5. As A Shaving Cream

While no study supports the usage of baby oil as a suitable alternative to shaving cream, some people prefer to use baby oil over shaving soap or foam. It leaves your skin moisturized and smooth after use. This makes it a desirable alternative to shaving cream for many. The oil gives a smooth glide to your shaving blade, which helps in a much closer shave.


Baby oil keeps the skin soft while shaving and protects the skin from razor cuts.

6. As A Soothing Product

Some studies support the fact that baby oil can help relieve skin discomfort caused by dry skin or conditions like psoriasis.

A 2012 study conducted on patients undergoing hemodialysis [3], showed that baby oil helped significantly to reduce itchiness when applied to itchy body parts. A minimum 15 minutes massage with baby oil per day for three weeks offered maximum benefit.

Women Applying Cream

7. As An Under-Eye Gel

Another less common and unproven use of baby oil is as an under-eye gel. People use baby oil to restore moisture in the depressed eye area. A daily gentle massage of baby oil over the eye area with fingertips for 1-2 minutes could be helpful to soothe your eyes.

How To Use Baby Oil For Healthy Skin?

To get the benefits of baby oil and keep your skin healthy, you must follow some simple steps:

  • Wash your face or body using a gentle cleanser or soap.
  • Pat your skin dry, leaving some moisture on the skin surface.
  • Apply a small amount of baby oil all over your body or in the desired area.
  • Gently massage the oil into your skin for 2 to 3 minutes.

1. Who Can Use Baby Oil?

Primarily a baby care product, it can be used for moisturizing a baby's skin, treating diaper rash and eczema, and for regular baby massages. Baby oil is also widely used by adults regardless of age for moisturizing dehydrated skin, body massage, makeup removal etc.

2. When Can You Use Baby Oil?

The best time to apply baby oil to your skin is when it is thoroughly cleaned and damp with water. Baby oil creates a semi-breathable barrier to lock the moisture on your skin.

3. Recommended Quantity

While there is no recommended quantity of applying baby oil, use an adequate quantity to form a thin layer over your skin. Excess oil can suffocate your skin and leave a greasy residue.

Side Effects & Precautions While Using Baby Oil

Usually, baby oil is safe to use for all age groups. However, some people may experience a few side effects. So, it is wise to be aware of these possible side effects and take precautions.

1. Allergic Reaction

Though allergic reaction to mineral oil is infrequent [4], super sensitive skin may react and show some allergic reactions. To avoid this, always do a patch test. Check for reactions like redness or itching that may occur over the next 24 hours. If there are none, you can use baby oil confidently.

2. Trigger Breakouts

Baby oils are mostly non-comedogenic and don't clog pores. But people who are prone to acne can experience breakouts. Being highly occlusive, mineral oil can suffocate the skin and trap in pore-clogging ingredients that can trigger acne.

3. Blocks Sweat

Baby oil forms a skin barrier that can trap excess moisture over your skin, even on hot summer days. This barrier can stop you from sweating, even when your body naturally tries to cool itself down with sweat.

4. May Cause Sunburn

Baby oil is thought to attract UV rays and allow them to penetrate deeper into your skin. This can increase the chances of cell damage and even skin cancer. It may cause sunburn in some people. However, there is not enough research in this regard.

SkinKraft Tip:

Avoid applying baby oil before stepping out in the sun.

Wrapping Up

Besides being a popular baby care product, baby oil is also widely used as a skincare product by adults. Baby oil can help to moisturize, plump, and smoothen skin by locking in moisture. It can also soothe irritated skin. However, baby oil is not recommended for acne-prone skin or as a sun (UV ray) protection product.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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