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    What we know today about applying oils to newborn skin


    Preventive care

    There is no definitive data that demonstrates that any product prevents eczema.

    RECOMMENDED: Inactive but controversial OTC product ingredients

    “In fact, Cochrane and non-Cochrane reviews did not demonstrate conclusive evidence for any strategy for primary prevention of eczema, although limited data supported exclusive breastfeeding until six months and the use of prebiotics in high-risk patients,”9 Dr. Kirkorian says. “The good news is that research is underway to develop new agents to upregulate filaggrin as a means of primary prevention of eczema so we may have products to recommend to our patients in the future.” 10

    Educating parents

    Well-meaning parents are gravitating toward baby products that are “natural,” which they equate with “safe,” according to Dr. Kirkorian, which makes a dermatologist’s advice more important than ever.

    “A Google search of ‘the best oils for baby massage’ demonstrates more than 14 million results indicating that patients are actively seeking out and using these products,” Dr. Kirkorian says.

    Many of the products being marketed are complex and could be contributing to contact dermatitis. This includes seemingly natural baby products. After all, poison ivy is natural, according to Dr. Siegfried.

    INTERESTING: Psychological problems impact skin disease

    “Dermatologists can provide information that supports parents while educating about the risks of barrier disruption with the use of certain oils. Parents can be encouraged to carry out infant massage or other practices using a bland emollient such as petrolatum ointment that does not contain any preservatives such as parabens,” Dr. Kirkorian says. “Parents might also be motivated to use emollients daily if informed about the potential benefit in the primary prevention of atopic dermatitis.”

    Dr. Siegfried says that she stresses simplicity to parents when making recommendations about newborn skincare practices. For example, she recommends applying topical mineral oil to the baby’s skin after his or her bath.

    “More recently, I’ve been recommending coconut oil, because there is some data on the safety and efficacy of coconut oil on atopic dermatitis and also on neonates,” Dr. Siegfried says.  11, 12, 13

    ALSO READ: Technology fuels skin reaction

    As frontline providers for pediatric patients with eczema, dermatologists are keenly aware of the disease’s impact on the patients’ and families’ quality of life.

    “It is exciting that a relatively simple approach of daily emollient use might have a disproportionate benefit for our patients, if reduction of the incidence of atopic dermatitis is confirmed with this treatment,” Dr. Kirkorian says. “We can give patients hope and help to ‘do no harm’ by gently providing information and steering them away from ‘natural’ treatments that might have harmful effects on newborn skin.”

    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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