Massaging babies with oils

by Anne Halbert

We are often asked if it is alright to massage babies with oil. Over the last few years we have discouraged using nut based oils such as almond oil or peanut oil, in case the baby becomes sensitized to the nuts through the skin. In a recent study published in Paed Dermatol 2013;30:42-50, it was shown that olive oil actually harms the skin barrier and can cause irritation. In contrast, sunflower seed oil improved skin hydration and did not cause irritation, making it a better choice for baby massage. Coconut oil is also fine to use.