Baby Oil Mysteries - What Are Its Ingredients?
A HubPages reader asked the humorous question:
- If corn oil is made from corn and vegetable oil from vegetables, what is baby oil made of?
The quick answer is:
- No, baby oil is not made from babies. So, what are its ingredients?
Contents of the Product
Baby oils contain ingredients like some of those listed below that I have found in different brands of the product. I remember when baby oil that was available at the supermarket was always 100% mineral oil, packaged differently from that available in the pharmacy, and sold at a slightly higher price.
Customers likely thought that the product sold in the pharmacy was a different, higher grade of product. At the same time, people occasionally purchased plain mineral oil from the pharmacy or used petroleum jelly instead of the baby oil available. Then, with industrial progress, other ingredients began to be added to the baby oils.
A Scientific Answer
The cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum/petroleum jelly that we buy in many types of stores have been called the "safest, most nonirritating" moisturizers in existence according to the publications Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; and Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46.
These elements keep some air from penetrating the skin, but this is necessary for a portion of the heckling process from burns and chaffing - especially in cases of dry skin. These elements of skin products have also proven effective in wound healing, according to Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33–40.
In decades past on the farm in rural America, people sometimes used herbal remedies for diaper rash and dry skin. If nothing else was available, they even used lard, which would just as well as oils and hand lotions today, although with less of a pleasant scent.
In some countries, whale oil is used for skin protection, especially protection from high winds. In fact, the Indigenous peoples of Alaska and Northern Canada still use whale oil for these needs.
Baby Oil May Cause Side Effects
Not all babies or children and adults can tolerate baby oil o the skin. Some side effects include:
- Burning or stinging sensations.
- Redness, swelling or other irritation.
- Whiteness and a soggy skin texture.
- Skin infection.
If the side effects occur, call your pharmacist or physician right away. Allergies and side effects can be deadly.
Skin Care Emergencies
Using whale oil for health and beauty applications reminds me that honey and sugar were used on the farm to heal wounds. In isolated areas of our country, these ngredients are likely still used in emergencies, coupled with standard American Red Cross First Aid techniques.
In urban areas, hospitals send wound treatment mobile units out into lower income neighborhoods to help residents with chronic wounds that are not healing. This is particularly true of those with diabetes and those who are elderly. A number of techniques and treatments are used, as needed, including hospital-grade honey and probably a variety of lotions and oils as well.
Honey is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts water or moisture and helps to seal a wound. Many honeys are 80% sugar and 20% water. Honey is also antiseptic, killing bacteria. This leads me to think that honey was probably used at times to treat diaper rash.
The old wives' tale that putting butter or oil on a burn helps is incorrect and and may do harm, such as causing infections. For a first degree burn, apply ice or cold water, or it will burn all the way to the bone. Afterward, maybe medicinal honey or with hazel can help the burn to heal, but ask your doctor to be certain.
Ingredients in Top Brands of Baby Oil
Soft and Silk Baby Oil
- Mineral Oil, Aloe Vera Extract, Vitamin E, Acetate, Fragrance.
Johnson's Baby Oil, Lavender Scent
- Mineral Oil, Fragrance
Burt's Bee Baby Bee Oil
- Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, tritium vulgare (wheat) germ oil, tocopheryl acetate, fragrance, tocopherol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, glycine soja (soybean) oil, canola oil
Buddha Baby Oil
- Prunus amygadulas dulcis (sweet almond) oil and Lavendula augustofolia (lavender) oil.
Baby Moon Oil
- Lavender, tangerine and "other" essential oils, in sweet almond and olive oils.
A successful home recipe for baby oil from a friend:
Mix equal parts of apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, organic jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, lavender oil, mandarin orange oil. Store in a glass bottle.
Science Fun with Baby Oil
- Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46.
- Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79.
- Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33–40.
© 2008 Patty Inglish MS