There are few things more daunting than being a parent, especially when it seems like everything is a danger to your little one. Even popular skincare brands for your baby have been put under the microscope to find out if they're truly as safe for your little one as they intend to be. You might be eager to find an alternative for your baby's skin, like coconut oil, but how natural is everyone's favorite product? Is coconut oil safe to use on baby, too, or should you pop your little one into a plastic bubble until they reach adulthood?
Don't panic. If you're wary of all the ingredients in popular beauty products, you've probably already fallen in love with coconut oil in your own skincare routine. But it turns out, coconut oil can become part of your baby's care, too. According to Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology (FAAD) and a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric dermatologist, coconut oil is specifically great for people with sensitive skin, like babies.
"Natural oils are great for moisturizing the skin and helping to recreate the natural skin barrier, which is often damaged by frequent hand, face, and body washing with water and drying soaps that strip the skin of its natural protective oils," Shainhouse says. She also notes that coconut oil has no potentially irritating additives, which can make your baby's skin even happier.
In fact, some professionals specifically encourage parents to use coconut oil on their babies. "I tell my patients to put it on their baby's head to help with cradle cap," Dr. Jennifer Yakimishyn of Foundation Chiropractic, a chiropractor specializing in pregnancy and pediatrics, tells Romper. "Cradle cap is something that most babies experience, but I believe that coconut oil helps speed up the healing and I have seen good results with many patients."
Both Shainhouse and Yakimishyn note that the only time coconut oil isn't safe to put on your baby is if your baby has a sensitivity to it. Yakimishyn recommends that parents test the coconut oil on a small area of their baby's skin to see if there's a rash before using it all over their body or making it part of their skincare routine.
Even better, coconut oil is safe for babies to ingest. "Coconut oil is edible, it is a natural antibiotic, and it is high in healthy fats — good things that babies need," Yakimishyn says. So don't worry about slathering your little one in coconut oil just so they can stick their hands and fingers in their mouth. Instead, take a deep breath and realize that your baby is well-moisturized, safe, and smells like a giant candy bar. (As if you didn't want already want to gobble them up.)