baby massage olive oil
  • Baby & pregnancy
  • Clean beauty

Does Olive oil cause eczema in babies?

While olive oil may be a fantastic ingredient in adult skin and body care products, research shows that it may be contributing to a rise in cases of eczema in babies under 3 months.

By Alexandra Julian

3 Minute read

Olive oil has a long history of use in cosmetic products, used for its nourishing and moisture-binding properties on the skin and hair.

While it may be a fantastic ingredient in adult skin and body care products, research shows that Olive oil may be contributing to a rise in cases of eczema in young babies.

Professor Cork, a leading dermatologist from the University of Sheffield, published research into the effects of Olive oil on babies’ skin.

He demonstrated that due to the oil’s high levels of oleic acid (a natural fatty acid), it can weaken the stratum corneum (the delicate top layer of skin) and increase the risk of dryness, eczema and skin irritation in babies under 3 months.

What are the concerns about Olive oil for baby massage?

There are concerns that some parents may be unaware of the potential damage that Olive oil can do to their baby’s skin, using it for baby massage, to treat dry skin and applying it to cradle cap.

Adult skin is thicker and able to cope with exposure to oleic acid, but young babies are susceptible to damage because their skin is much more delicate.

When the stratum corneum is weakened it causes impaired barrier function. This means that external aggressors and other irritants can penetrate the skin more easily, which can lead to more severe skin problems and inflammation.

Plant oils such as Safflower and Sunflower have a more balanced fatty acid profile, with a higher percentage of linoleic acid than Olive oil and a lower percentage of oleic acid. This makes them ideal for use on newborn babies and fantastic nourishing ingredients in baby care products.

A useful method to tell if an oil is high in oleic acid is to put the oil in the fridge. If the oil goes cloudy, this is a sign that it contains higher levels of oleic acid. Different varities of sunflower produce varying levels of oleic acid.

Instead of Olive oil for baby eczema:

If you are looking for natural, eczema-friendly skin care then you may like to try Organic Babies' best-selling Soothing Baby Salve. This soothing, protective salve is deeply nourishing for sensitive, eczema-prone skin and is free from Olive oil.

"This is the best product I have found for my baby’s eczema. His arms were in a terrible state, weeping and red raw. I used this product and within 2 days his arms were significantly improved." Carla

Other recommendations for parents

Professor Cork also recommended that parents avoid products containing harsh detergents, such as sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), as these can also weaken the skin barrier. Shop for SLS-free baby wash

Do you have any questions about the link between Olive oil and eczema in babies? Get in touch with our friendly customer care team by emailing, or calling 01403 740350.


Related articles

Sunscreen for hikers and climbers

Sunscreen for hikers and climbers

Are you planning a summer hike? Whether you are looking for an SPF for a walking holiday or are an avid climber looking for a protective sun cream for use on the mountain peaks, we can help.

By Hannah Mepham


7 Minute read

Dad applying sun cream to his sons face
Baby & Child

Which SPF is best for kids? SPF50 vs SPF30

Is SPF30 or SPF50 better for toddlers? Is SPF30 good enough for older children? We get asked questions like these all the time, and if you’re unsure which is the best sunscreen for your child, we’re here to help.

By Hannah Mepham


7 Minute read

The UK gardener’s guide to sunscreen

The UK gardener’s guide to sunscreen

In this post we share tips for avoiding gardening sunburn and reveal the best natural and organic sunscreen for gardeners.

By Hannah Mepham


5 Minute read

Read more articles

1,500+ Five star reviews

Read all Reviews
"One of the best companies I have ever dealt with in my 63 years on this planet!"

Jan B.

Verified Buyer

"Have fallen in love with this product range. They are lovely to use and they work!"

Carole G.

Verified Buyer

"You guys are amazing, continue to love the brand, excited to order from you again!"

Maitreya L.

Verified Buyer

"Super quick delivery, ethical packaging and beautiful products."

Nat J.

Verified Buyer

"I love every product I have tried from Green People, and the customer service has always been excellent."

Maria H.

Verified Buyer

"So glad I have found an ethical supplier with great products!"

Susan B.

Verified Buyer