New Research Regarding Olive Oil Use with Baby Massage.
Earlier in 2013 a new piece of empirical research was published about the potential damaging effects of using olive oil for massage in adults with undamaged skin. It is a small study but in light of this research Touch-Learn is changing its policy and will no longer advocate its use as a massage medium with infant massage.
Olive oil is rather viscous and is not the most effective massage medium for infant massage - our preferred oil has always been organic Sunflower oil. Grape seed oil is a good alternative and fractionated coconut oil is excellent for babies with supressed immune systems.
I have included the abstract below and the full reference if you wish to read the full research paper. Also I have informed the Guild of Sensory Development who will now be updating their parental leaflets forthwith.
17 June 2013
Natural oils are advocated and used throughout the world as part of neonatal skin care, but there is an absence of evidence to support this practice. The goal of the current study was to ascertain the effect of olive oil and sunflower seed oil on the biophysical properties of the skin. Nineteen adult volunteers with and without a history of atopic dermatitis were recruited into two randomized forearm-controlled mechanistic studies. The first cohort applied six drops of olive oil to one forearm twice daily for 5 weeks. The second cohort applied six drops of olive oil to one forearm and six drops of sunflower seed oil to the other twice daily for 4 weeks. The effect of the treatments was evaluated by determining stratum corneum integrity and cohesion, intercorneocyte cohesion, moisturization, skin-surface pH, and erythema. Topical application of olive oil for 4 weeks caused a significant reduction in stratum corneum integrity and induced mild erythema in volunteers with and without a history of atopic dermatitis. Sunflower seed oil preserved stratum corneum integrity, did not cause erythema, and improved hydration in the same volunteers. In contrast to sunflower seed oil, topical treatment with olive oil significantly damages the skin barrier, and therefore has the potential to promote the development of, and exacerbate existing, atopic dermatitis. The use of olive oil for the treatment of dry skin and infant massage should therefore be discouraged. These findings challenge the unfounded belief that all natural oils are beneficial for the skin and highlight the need for further research.
Danby, S. G., AlEnezi, T., Sultan, A., Lavender, T., Chittock, J., Brown, K. and Cork, M. J. (2013), Effect of Olive and Sunflower Seed Oil on the Adult Skin Barrier: Implications for Neonatal Skin Care. Pediatric Dermatology, 30: 42–50. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2012.01865.x
Click this link to download Guild of Sensory Development Leaflet on Oils for Baby Massage