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    What we know today about applying oils to newborn skin

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    Guideline gap

    There is no data to provide guidelines on good ingredients for newborn skin, according to Dr. Kirkorian.

    “Since we don’t have definitive data, I would recommend bland emollients, such as petrolatum ointment and cleansers that are fragrance- and dye-free,” she says.

    There are more studies on what might be bad ingredients for newborn skin, according to Dr. Kirkorian.

    “…there are multiple studies in mice,6 adults7 and now infants1 that suggest that the use of some topical oils may actually disrupt the skin barrier. Specifically, olive oil, mustard oil and soybean oil have been demonstrated to disrupt the lipid barrier and increase epidermal inflammation and should probably be avoided,” Dr. Kirkorian says.

    READ: Challenges in treating pediatric skin conditions

    There is data supporting the use of sunflower seed oil or safflower oil as an emollient in neonates, in particular in the prevention of nosocomial infections in preterm children in developing countries, according to Dr. Kirkorian. 8

    “However, the Oil in Baby SkincaRE [ObSeRvE] Study demonstrated increased skin barrier disruption with both [sunflower seed oil] and olive oil,” 1 she says. “Other popular oils, such as tea tree oil, can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Since definitive evidence is currently lacking, it might be sensible to avoid the use of all oils on newborn skin at this time or to use sunflower seed oil, which has better evidence of safety and efficacy compared to other oils.”

    NEXT: Preventive care

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is president of Words Come Alive, based in Boca Raton, Florida.

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    • LisaEris
      I grew to the beliefs of my parents that olive oil and sun flower oil are good for the skin. Recently, I also heard that oil does more harm than any good to skin of newborn babies. Though, current studies is conflicting, I also agree, that it is better to encourage new parents to prevent applying both to newborn babies because it might cause dryness on the sensitive skin of your babies.

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