What is the Difference Between Baby Lotion and Baby Oil?
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Parenting is a lifelong, full-time job with lots of responsibilities: a job that is fulfilling in a way that no other job could ever replicate. As a generation we have been exposed to more knowledge about the development of children in their early years than ever before - so it is natural to be overwhelmed as a new parent. It is natural to wonder if you’re getting every detail right.
It is also natural to wonder what the deal with baby oil or baby lotion is. Our mothers and grandmothers certainly made it sound like an essential… but is it actually necessary? Do you really need to be putting oil or lotion on the soft skin of your beautiful child? Well, the answer is - yes and no.
Let us elaborate - during the first month of a newborn’s life, their skin is pretty soft and emolliated. Even if it is peeling, it will likely heal itself on its own and you have nothing to worry about. However, after a newborn is about a month old, the need for baby oil or baby lotion massages arises. Not only are they essential to prevent the excessive drying of your newborn’s skin, but the act of massaging strengthens your baby’s muscles. Other issues around baby skin include diaper rashes, eczema, and excessive dryness. This is because children do not secrete a lot of androgens (male sex hormones that affect the sebum production on one’s skin) that adults do and are thus more prone to developing dry skin problems. This makes it important to add oils and lotions to children’s skin to avoid these problems.
But wait a minute... What is the difference between baby oil and baby lotion? What should you be picking to get the absolute best for your child? Fret not, because we have got all the answers around baby oil and baby lotion here for you to read and understand. Ready? Scroll!
What is Baby Oil?
Baby oil is the favorite of Indian mothers and grandmothers as it is largely used in our culture for the loving practice of baby massage. It is believed that baby massage is essential for the growth of newborns and the strength of their muscles. And what do you know? They’re right! Recent research has indeed shown that baby massage oil can help improve the blood circulation to one’s muscles, enabling better absorption of nutrients in your baby’s body.
But what exactly is baby oil? Is it different from regular body oils? The answer is yes! Since baby skin is very delicate and soft, “baby oil” is concocted such that it has no harmful chemicals or irritating substances that could cause redness and rashes to one’s skin. It does not need too many complicated ingredients - it has natural ingredients such as mineral oils or natural oils with some organic fragrance added to it for comfort.
This simplicity of the composition of baby oil has even enticed adults to add it to their skincare. In the past few years, there is an increasing trend where adults use baby massage oil for their own skincare routines! Whether you want to use it as a moisturizer, a make-up remover, a dry skin remedy, or a rejuvenating hair mask - baby oil can work wonders not just for your baby, but you as a parent!
The easiest way to use baby oil for your newborn is using it to massage your baby’s arms, legs, and torso after a bath. For best results, use baby massage oil right after bathing your newborn. This locks in moisture in your baby’s skin and prevents rashes. The touch of gentle hands during baby massage, also helps you in bonding with your newborn and makes them feel loved. Remember - the love language of babies is always best expressed with the magic of touch! This is definitely the biggest advantage of using baby massage oil for your newborn’s wellbeing.
The Pros of Baby Oil
- Improves blood circulation to muscles through baby massage
- Useful in treating rashes and irritation
- Thick and stays on for long - and you don’t have to use too much of it for it to really do the job
- Baby massage oil have proven effective in improving the bonding between mother and child. This is especially beneficial if one suffers from postpartum depression.
- Baby oil has multiple haircare and skincare uses for the parents themselves!
The Cons of Baby Oil
- Excessive use of baby oil on your newborn’s skin might lead to dirt getting stuck on their skin. Instead of preventing rashes and irritation, this can give way to other infections. Therefore, it is important not to overuse baby oil.
- Oils can be quite messy to deal with, especially if they’re too thick. Natural oils such as olive or coconut oils can leave stains on your baby’s clothes. Further, your baby’s skin might have trouble fully absorbing the thick oil.
What is Baby Lotion?
Baby lotions are pretty much exactly what you envision them to be - they are creamy and light in texture (when compared to oils) and are used to keep the newborn’s skin hydrated and plump. However, it is not the same as lotions used for adults. Adult lotions are made of complex ingredients that may be needed for one’s skin type and often contain strong scents. This means that adult lotions can often contain ingredients such as alcohol, parabens, artificial fragrances, and more.
All of these potentially irritating ingredients are absent in baby lotions! They, therefore, are perfect for newborns and even those of you who struggle with sensitive skin. Of course, you should always check the ingredients of a baby lotion before you buy it, but they are generally safe to use. Baby lotions for dry skin can be used practically whenever you need to use them with little to no hassle. Baby skin can easily absorb the lotion and take in the goodness that comes with its natural ingredients. It is easy to apply and relatively cheaper - and works wonders to heal dry or rash prone skin. However, since it is not that thick, you might have to apply baby lotion on your newborn’s skin more than once or twice a day.
Baby lotions, just like baby oil, should be ideally used right after bathing your baby when the skin is still damp. If you live in dry weather conditions, putting a layer of baby massage oil over it can help you seal moisture into your baby’s skin effectively.
The Pros of Baby Lotion
- Baby lotions are safe to use on delicate skin and serve a variety of skin care purposes.
- Baby lotion is not messy and can be used anywhere and anytime without hassle.
- The soothing feel of the creamy texture of baby lotion can calm your baby when they are irritated with things such as diaper rashes.
- Prepares your newborn’s skin against harmful external agents that may dry up or affect their skin.
- Baby lotion is affordable and easily available.
The Cons of Baby Lotion
- Baby lotions are not that thick, which means they do not work that great if you are looking to baby massage.
- Lotions may have to be applied repeatedly on your baby’s skin for the best results. This implies that though baby lotions are cheaper and less messy, they could end up being more costly in the long run because they run out pretty easily.
- They offer little to nothing beyond the benefit of moisturizing your newborn’s skin.
Baby Oil Vs Baby Lotion - What’s Better for Your Child?
Well, if you have read everything up until here, there is a good chance that you might have already picked what is more suitable for your newborn’s needs. However, if you are still a little torn on what to choose, we are here to provide you with a point-by-point comparison of baby oils and baby lotions. May the best one win!
- Both baby oil and baby lotion for dry skin are great moisturizer. However, oils are much thicker in consistency than lotions. This means that they provide significantly more moisture than lotions. Oils are occlusives - they create a barrier on your skin and prevent water from escaping your upper skin layers, keeping it fresh, soft, and plump. Lotions on the other hand might have oils or occlusives in some quantities, but they mainly only do the job of adding moisture to your skin, they aren’t effective in sealing it in. If your baby’s skin is too dry, then you can apply baby lotion on their skin, let it absorb, and then apply baby massage oil. But if not, just oiling once after bathing or putting lotion twice a day on your newborn’s skin is sufficient.
- Baby oil can be messy and too thick to deal with and therefore needs a good massage session to be utilized. This adds to your bonding time with your baby and gives you time to really get into the process of nourishing your baby’s skin and muscles. However, if you are in a hurry or on the go, it is much easier to use baby lotion as it absorbs into your baby’s skin easily. Baby lotions are not messy at all.
- Baby lotion is cheaper than baby massage oil. However, you are likely to run out of baby lotion faster as it generally needs multiple applications during the day. Therefore, if you go cost-wise, both baby oil and baby lotion cost pretty much the same in the long run if used from similar brands.
- Neither is better than the other- baby oil and baby lotion have their own sets of uses and are meant to be picked according to the needs of the user, i.e., you and your newborn.
Precautions to Take Before Picking an Appropriate Product for Your Baby
Certain precautions apply to all skin products you may use on your newborn. Here is a list of things you should always keep in mind before buying baby oil or baby lotion-
- As mentioned before, babies younger than 1 month do not need extra skincare products on their delicate skin. In fact, using them on an infant younger than that can do more harm than good. Therefore, both baby oil and baby lotion should not be used on a newborn younger than a month.
- Remember to consult your doctor before using any kind of skin product on your baby. They can give you better insight into what exactly will suit your newborn’s skin best.
- Always look at the ingredients on the bottles of the products you buy. Though labelled safe for babies - you can never be too sure. Research well upon what ingredients are safe on baby skin and what is not. Generally, products with artificial fragrance, alcohol, added dyes, and parabens are a big NO for your newborn’s skin.
- Always do a patch test on your baby's skin before fully using a new product. This can be done by using a little bit of the product on a safer area of the newborn’s skin, such as the back of the palm. If there is any irritation or redness upon use, consult your doctor immediately.
- Remember to enjoy bonding with your beautiful child.
Well, there you have it! We have in the best words possible attempted to decode the meaning, uses, and benefits of baby oil and baby lotion defined to you as new parents. Baby oil is an excellent choice to go for when trying to bond with your child by the magic of touch and the goodness of baby massage. Baby lotion on the other hand is also a skincare essential that comes in handy in dry weather. Parenting can be a challenge but it is essential to try and enjoy the process - whether you’re dealing with ups or downs. We hope we helped. Happy parenting!