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Even though I don’t yet have any children, the idea of children’s skincare has fascinated me for the last few years. Obviously, ingredients that you apply to adult skin cannot always be applied to infant or toddler skin, including the common sunscreen components oxybenzone and avobenzone – but what about more innocuous substances, like moisturizers and soothing agents? I was glad to come across the Jojoba Company’s 100% Natural Baby Oil, a hypoallergenic formulation that combines jojoba seed oil, moringa seed oil, and lavender oil to create a soothing and hydrating serum for your little one’s delicate skin. See my discussion and thoughts below!
Jojoba Seed Oil is a Penetration Enhancer that Also Hydrates the Skin
The Jojoba Company’s 100% Natural Baby Oil contains (you guessed it!) jojoba seed oil as its primary ingredient. While many readers may hear “oil” and automatically assume that it won’t be compatible for oily skin or even acne-prone skin, think again; jojoba oil is technically a wax ester, not an oil (Elementis Specialities). Jojoba oil is remarkably similar in composition to human sebum, which can hydrate the skin. As such, it is believed (but not yet formally proven) that jojoba oil is able to fool your skin into thinking that it is producing sufficient amounts of sebum, thus regulating sebum and oil production in the skin. Even better yet, jojoba oil is a non-comedogenic substance, so it won’t clog delicate skin that is already oily or riddled with pimples (Acne.org, Dr. Joshua Zeicher for HowStuffWorks.com).
Take for example, a 2008 study from the Journal of Dermatological Science. When applied to the skin of adults and infants, topically-applied jojoba oil was found to encourage modest swelling in the skin within 90 minutes after application, thus indicating that jojoba oil may influence moisture retention in the outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum).
Similarly, a 1984 study from the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society suggested that jojoba oil may also act as a penetration enhancer, a quality that is of particular importance for those who apply anti-inflammatory creams for rashes or whitening creams for scars in addition to the Jojoba Company’s 100% Natural Baby Oil.
Moringa Seed Oil: A Little-Know but Ultra-Beneficial Ingredient
Readers of FutureDerm know that just because a product is touted as being “all-natural”, “organic”, or “100% pure” doesn’t necessarily imply that the product is any more beneficial than synthetic ingredients. Nevertheless, I was quite happy to see that the moringa seed oil in the Jojoba Company’s 100% Natural Baby Oil was not only pure and natural, but that the extract can hold a great deal of benefits for the skin as well. Research published in Advances in Dermatology and Allergology suggested that topically-applied moringa contains phenolics like quercetin, ellagic and ferulic acid, and antioxidants. These components are believed to contribute to moringa’s ability to protect against collagen and elastin-degrading enzymes in the skin, as well as to offer a degree of photo-protectivity and hydration. Moringa has also been linked to an improvement in skin roughness and volume.
But when applied to infant and toddler skin, will moringa truly make any difference? While more research is needed in order to explore moringa’s effects on the skin, its ability to moisturize the skin and alleviate rough/scaly patches may be of use to those babies who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, or even a rash.
Lavender Oil May Soothe the Mind and the Body
Lavender oil has a myriad of purported uses in folk and alternative medicine, although we are still waiting for clinical studies to confirm these qualities. When used in aromatherapy, the scent of lavender oil has been suggested to soothe the nervous system, promote restful sleep, and soothe irritation and agitation – definitive boons for those attempting to pacify an upset baby (University of Maryland Medical Center, Herbs and Natural Supplements Volume 2: An Evidence-Based Guide, Volume 2).
Better yet, when used as a topical agent, lavender oil has demonstrated antioxidant activity against UV exposure-induced free radicals (Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences), which is of immense benefit for little ones who may be extra sensitive to the sun or days when you may forget to reapply sunscreen. According to a review published in 2002 in the journal Phytotherapy Research, lavender oil has long been used to serve as antibacterial and anti-fungal agent, as well as to sooth burns, insects bites, and muscles, although more modern clinical trials are needed in order to confirm these claims.
It is important to note that although there have been concerns recently that lavender may exhibit estrogenic effects on young boys and encourage gynecomastia (breast growth), these claims have not been officially confirmed by the medical community and recent studies have garnered criticism due to inconsistent study design and incomplete information. If you are interested to learn more about this controversy, you may want to begin by reading the following articles from the New England Journal of Medicine and the International Journal of Toxicology, which provide viewpoints that both suggest and deny lavender oil’s estrogenicity, respectively.
How to Use
Apply a dime-sized amount to the hands and rub into the appropriate areas. More of the baby oil may be required, depending on which parts of the body are being treated. Since jojoba oil spreads easily, it is best to begin with a small amount and gradually use more as needed. The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Baby Oil is best for treating skin irritations, nappy rash, or cradle cap in infants, as well as to serve as bath oil or massage oil and moisturizer.
Personal Use and Opinion
Even though the Jojoba Company 100% Natural Baby Oil was is intended for infants and young children, I decided to give it a dry. I tend to get dry hands during the winter, and often get cracks between the webs of my fingers. I applied a dime-sized drop of the baby oil to my hands, and rubbed it in thoroughly from the tips of my fingers to my wrists.
The formulation is surprisingly light and spreads easily on the skin without leaving behind any greasy residue – the formulation was completely absorbed within a few seconds after application. The formulation also has a very faint but pleasant floral scent – not so heavily fragranced that it may irritate the nose or seep into one’s clothing, but pleasant nonetheless.
While I am sometimes skeptical of those products which tout themselves as being “all-natural” or “pure”, the Jojoba Company 100% Natural Baby Oil is a truly spectacular product that makes use of an assortment of natural extracts that truly can benefit the skin. The jojoba seed oil in this formulation may serve to hydrate the skin and improve penetration of other ingredients, whereas moringa seed oil may improve skin texture, especially for those babies who suffer from dry skin or a rash. Lavender oil has not only demonstrated antioxidant activity when applied topically, but lavender oil’s purported ability to soothe the nervous system and calm irritation and agitation may help to relax your little one when s/he cries.