Your Baby Care Products Must Not Have Mineral Oil, Here’s Why

Your Baby Care Products Must Not Have Mineral Oil, Here’s Why

21 Feb 2023 | 5 min Read

Manisha Pradhan

Author | 1053 Articles

Babies have delicate skin and need extra care. It is important to choose skincare products carefully and also check the ingredients they contain while buying skincare products for babies. 

Sometimes, some ingredients that are deemed to be safe for a baby’s skin may not be safe such as mineral oil. The uses of mineral oil include moisturising the skin; treating skin issues like cradle caps, cracked feet, dandruff, and eczema. It is sometimes also used to relieve constipation. However, mineral oil is not safe for a baby’s skin.

Read on to know why mineral oil is not safe for a baby’s skin.

What is Mineral Oil? 

Mineral oil is a colourless white transparent oil. It is a by-product that is derived from refining crude oil used for making gasoline and petroleum-based products and gasoline. Mineral oil is commonly used as an ingredient for baby skin care products like baby oil, baby hand wash and lip balms. 

Why Is Mineral Oil Not Safe For Babies?

Mineral oil is considered to be unsafe for babies. Since it is derived from petroleum, it does not absorb into the baby’s skin. Skincare products that contain mineral oil sit on the surface of the baby’s skin and clog the skin instead of hydrating it. 

What Are the Side Effects of Using Mineral Oil on Infants? 

Mineral oil has several other side effects when used on a baby’s skin. Some of these include: 

  • Skin irritation and allergies: One of the most common concerns associated with using mineral oil on a baby’s skin is the risk of skin irritation and allergic reactions. Mineral oil can clog pores and prevent the skin from breathing, leading to the development of rashes, bumps, and other skin irritations. In some cases, prolonged use of mineral oil may also cause allergic reactions, such as redness, itching, and swelling.
  • Respiratory problems: Mineral oil can also pose a risk of respiratory problems if inhaled. If a baby accidentally inhales mineral oil while using it on their skin or through ingestion, it can lead to breathing difficulties, coughing, and wheezing. In severe cases, it may even lead to pneumonia.
  • Contamination: Mineral oil may contain impurities that can be harmful to a baby’s health. These impurities can range from benzene to heavy metals, which can be dangerous if ingested or absorbed through the skin. Contaminated mineral oil may also contain harmful chemicals that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Potential risk of cancer: Mineral oil may increase the risk of certain cancers, such as skin cancer. This is because mineral oil can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens. 
uses of mineral oil
Plant-based oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and almond oil, are excellent alternatives to mineral oil/ Image source: freepik

Safe Alternatives To Mineral Oil

There are several safe alternatives to mineral oil.

  • Plant-based oils: Plant-based oils, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and almond oil, are excellent alternatives to mineral oil. They are rich in nutrients and essential fatty acids that help moisturise and protect the skin. These oils are easily absorbed by the skin and do not clog pores, making them suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
  • Shea butter: Shea butter is a natural emollient that is high in essential fatty acids and vitamins. It helps moisturise and soothe dry, itchy, and irritated skin. Shea butter is safe for all skin types and is particularly beneficial for babies with eczema or other skin conditions.
  • Beeswax: Beeswax is a natural wax that has moisturising and protective properties. It is often used in baby care products, such as diaper rash creams and lip balms, as it helps protect the skin from moisture and irritation.
  • Lanolin: Lanolin is a natural oil that is derived from sheep’s wool. It is a popular choice for nipple creams and is known for its moisturising and protective properties. Lanolin is safe for babies with sensitive skin and is often used to soothe dry, cracked, or sore nipples during breastfeeding.

Mineral Oil Vs Natural Oil

  • While mineral oil is petroleum-based, natural oils like coconut oil are plant-based making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
  • Mineral oil sits on the surface of the skin and therefore does not hydrate the skin whereas natural oil is absorbed into the skin, leaving the skin well hydrated and moisturised from within.
  • Mineral oil can clog the skin and lead to skin irritation but natural oils like coconut oil have similar properties as found in breast milk as it contains essential fatty acids and has antifungal anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. It helps to protect the baby’s skin from infections.
  • Since mineral oil is a byproduct, it is not environmentally friendly while natural oil is biodegradable since it’s natural.

When choosing a product, always look for natural, organic, and high-quality ingredients that are free from additives, fragrances, and other potential irritants. As always, consult with your paediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about the best products to use on your baby’s skin.

Take a look at some of the baby care products that contain no mineral oil and are made with all-natural ingredients and plant-based oils, that are safe for a baby’s tender skin.

Cover image source: freepik



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