Should you be using olive or sunflower oil on your baby’s skin?

December 15, 2015 by WonderBaba Blog

A trial of 115 newborn babies which was supported  by the University of Manchester was published in the journal Acta Dermato-Venereologic. It has shown that whilst using olive or sunflower oil increased levels of hydration in the babies skin over a four week period compared to a group who used no oil at all, it actually hindered proper skin barrier development. The study showed “significantly less improvement in lipid lamellae structure compared to the no oil group.”

The effect that olive and sunflower oils have, according to this study, can delay the development of the skin barrier which is needed to lock moisture in to your babies skin. So whilst applying oil may hydrate your baby’s skin in the short term this study would suggest it may do more damage than good in the long term. The natural skin barrier is essential for keeping out allergens and preventing infection as well as helping the skin feel soft and smooth.

More studies are needed to determine the true impact of applying olive and sunflower oils to newborn babies skin but in the meanwhile I would just be aware of this study and perhaps consider a different option as part of your child’s skincare regimen.


A few few of my favorite skin care products for moisturising my baby’s skin include:



These are all available by clicking the above links or at

You can read my blog all about eczema here –

I hope you have found this information helpful and as always don’t hesitate to contact me on the WonderBaba Facebook page ( with any questions or for one to one advice for your little one! You can also consult with me in person at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 or over the phone on 012600262.




Ref: Cooke A, Cork MJ, Victor S, Campbell M, Danby S, Chittock J, Lavender T. (2015).
Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil or no Oil for Baby Dry Skin or Massage: A Pilot, Assessor-blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial (the Oil in Baby SkincaRE [OBSeRvE] Study). Acta Derm Venereol, eScholarID:281521 | DOI:10.2340/00015555-2279






Author: WonderBaba Blog

My name is Sheena Mitchell and I'm a pharmacist with my own business Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6. From working in the pharmacy I've realised that there are a lot of first time and experienced moms who might benefit from hints and tips from a pharmacist who can balance healthcare advice with real hands on experience from my important work as a mother of two! I hope to bring you regular advice and information and answer questions that you have! Being a mother and pharmacist are my two favorite things and I'm delighted to have this way of bringing my two worlds together! All questions and queries are gratefully received but otherwise sit back, relax, and let the solutions come to you!

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