Olive Oil versus Mineral Oil
It has been brought to our attention that an article on the internet includes a quote from a paediatric dermatologist, stating that olive oil encourages yeast activity on the skin and can promote the development of such conditions as cradle cap; so should not be used for massage with babies. The article also stated that mineral oil was a much better choice. These claims were not explained beyond the statements themselves, so it is unclear where they come from and what evidence there is to support them.
I have emailed the paediatric dermatologist twice, politely requesting the reference to the research based evidence, so that we might be able to make an informed decision, but I am yet to receive a reply. I have also, via the Open University library service, searched for any studies that might substantiate these claims. But to no avail.
Therefore, we feel it safe to say that it is wise to continue to avoid the use of mineral oil as a massage medium and that olive oil, though not our first choice, as it is quite viscous, marks clothing easily and does not absorb as quickly as other mediums, should not be disregarded, if it is all a parent has to hand to massage their infant.
The internet is a wonderful tool, but so often there is unsubstantiated information to be found, so it is important to be wary and investigate more deeply.