So your mom has just handed you an old bottle of baby oil she found lurking deep in the bag of the cupboards. Can you use it? Is it safe?
It’s not always easy to tell whether baby oil has gone bad, but there are some signs you can look out for that might indicate if your bottle of oil has expired. But first, it’s important to know what ingredients make up this type of product so you understand how it works and why one may go bad after time.
So, Does Baby Oil Expire?
When manufactured correctly, baby oil will stay good for up to three years. However, every brand will have its own expiration date printed on the bottle so it’s important to know what that date is and also to observe how the oil has been performing before you purchase a new bottle
Here are some signs that may indicate your baby oil has gone bad:
- Change in smell or appearance – If your baby oil suddenly smells different from normal, if its consistency changed, or if it has an off color, then it’s time to throw it away
- Smell or taste – If you notice that the oil smells and tastes like metal, chemicals, or anything unnatural (including if it tastes like dirt), then your baby oil is contaminated and should not be used
- Freezing – Although most mineral oils do not freeze, if your product has been frozen it can break the bottle and should not be used.
Exposure to the environment might also cause the expiration of baby oil. Storing your baby oil in direct sunlight can cause the baby oil’s quality to deteriorate fast since the heat and UV rays break down the stabilizers in the baby oil.
Buying baby oil from reputable sources, checking its expiration date regularly, and observing how it’s performed before making a purchase are all good ways to ensure you have a great product on hand whenever you need to moisturize or clean
What is Baby Oil?
Baby oil is a cosmetic product that can be applied to the skin as a moisturizer or rubbed into the hair as a conditioner. It is also used for removing makeup and cleaning surfaces
Baby oil products are a moisturizer and massage oil made of mineral oil and one or more fragrances. The oil is most commonly scented with fragrances like lavender and rose but can be found with any fragrance a company decides to put in there.
Baby Oil is Made with Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is a colorless, odorless, light combination of higher alkanes derived from a mineral source, such as petroleum. As a result, mineral oil is sometimes known as liquid paraffin, paraffin oil, or liquid petroleum.
It coats the skin to form a moisture barrier. Baby Oil is typically scented with fragrance, in most cases it’s an artificially manufactured scent and its these substances which turn bad.
Baby Oil May Contain Many Chemicals
A few of the chemicals used in fragrance are Benzyl Benzoate, Cinnamal, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Formaldehyde.
Baby Oil Ingredients
In general, most brands of baby oil will contain three basic ingredients: mineral oils (from petroleum), fragrances, and preservatives like parabens or formaldehyde-releasing agents like DMDMhydantoin.
Baby oil is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons and has a waxy feel. It’s typically created by mixing petroleum jelly with fragrances, colors, and preservatives
How to Make Baby Oil Last Longer?
If you are looking to extend the life of your oil here are a few tips.
- Make sure it is in an airtight container when not in use or if your baby oil bottles do not have a seal avoid opening it until you need it.
- Store baby oil in a cool, dark place like the bathroom because heat and moisture can also cause oil to go rancid.
- If you are not going to use it for an extended period of time, simply freeze it so you can bring it out any time without worrying about spoilage.
- However, we recommend you replace baby oil yearly and use older oils for alternative uses (see list below).
How to Check If Baby Oil Has Expired?
Ingredients like mineral oil or petroleum can go bad if not stored properly. So to make sure your baby oil is still good, check the ingredients list first. If there are no ingredients listed, it has probably gone bad and you should discard it.
Next, check the expiration date of the product. There should always be one written on products like baby oil. Your baby oil should have a shelf life of at least two years before going bad, so if the expiration date is up, you should also get rid of it.
Finally, check to see if your baby oil has separated into layers or has gone cloudy in color. If that’s the case, then it’s time to toss your baby oil out.
Our checklist of items to look for to see if baby oil has expired:
- Expiration Date – johnson’s baby oil and all oils should have an expiry date on label.
- Color and Appearance
- Consistency and Texture
- Your baby oil is thin and runny (baby oil break down when stabilizers expire)
- Your baby oil has gelled over
- The color changes in expired baby oil
- Your baby oil is cloudy
What Happens If Your Baby Oil Expires?
If your baby oil has gone bad, you’ll notice that it will smell different. It’ll also be slimy and/or cloudy in color. You might even see some white or black particles floating around inside of the bottle. If so, don’t use it on your skin because it can cause irritation. I
t’s not good for your skin, so rather than try to save it, just toss it out. Alternatively use it for one of our suggestions below.
What Other Ways Can I Use Expired Baby Oil?
Here are some other ideas for you to use up your baby oil after it has expired or when you have too much on hand.
- As a carrier oil with essential oils in DIY beauty products. Just add oneor more drops of essential oils to your bottle of baby oil.
- As a fire starting fluid in camping or emergency situations. Just add either some lint or cotton balls to an empty baby oil bottle and top off with some baby oil. To use, just light the wick.
- As an insect repellent by adding 2 ounces of baby oil and 10 drops of an essential oil like citronella, lemongrass, or eucalyptus to a spray bottle filled with water and shake well.
- For cleaning tools and utensils in the garage – just add some baby oil and use a soft cloth to wipe your equipment down. This is also great for getting rid of pesky sticker residue or gunk that gets stuck on your shovels, rakes and axes.
- In the garden by adding a few drops to your plants – baby oil can help get rid of aphids. Just add 1 tsp of baby oil mixed with 1 gallon of water to a spray bottle and shake well before use. Spray this directly on the leaves of your plants. Be careful to avoid the plant’s stem and flowers because they can be damaged.
- By adding some baby oil to a cotton ball, you might be able to save your car from an unwanted paint job by removing those pesky bumper stickers without leaving a sticky residue behind. Just rub it over the sticker and peel away.
- By adding a few drops to the water in your humidifier, you’ll prevent mold build-up and it can help to keep skin moist during the dry winter months.
- As a wood polisher by apply baby oil and then wipe down with a clean cloth which will give you that shiny finish we all want. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first.
- Remove road tar and bugs by adding some baby oil to a clean cloth and wiping it down. The bugs will slide right off with no damage done.
- You can also dissolve chewing gum by applying baby oil directly on the area where it’s stuck, allowing it to sit for 10-15 minutes and then peeling it off.
- As a car wax by applying baby oil to a clean cloth and wipe down your car. Doing this will get rid of any light scratches on the paint job or swirls in your finish. You can even use this for chrome, fiberglass and plexiglass windows.
- Use on dry and cracked heels.
- Baby oil past its expiry date can be used as hair oil
- For removing ear wax.
Sensitive Skin and Baby Oil
If your baby’s skin is sensitive, consider diluting the oil with an equal amount of water before using it on their skin. This will make it less likely to cause irritation or rashes. The perfume and scents added can be skin irritation. It’s well worth looking at the baby oil list of ingredients to see what is included that could irritate them.
Alternatively use a natural alternative like olive oil, coconut oil or shea butter. Natural or organic products combined with natural oils will keep dry skin moisture and give you smooth skin. You can also use all of these on diaper rash, read our guide to the best natural remedies for diaper rash.
What Type of Oil is Baby Oil?
It’s important to realize that baby oil DOES NOT contain actual baby oil, no matter what it says on the bottle and/or the website where you’re reading this article from (yes I mean you, mom!).
Most baby oil is actually made from mineral oil which is a byproduct of petroleum. Real baby oil doesn’t have any benefit for your skin since it’s not absorbed and clogs up your pores, leading to the formation of acne and blackheads as well as premature aging. It leaves a coat that makes it feel like it has soften skin but in reality, it’s just a coating.
Can you use expired baby oil?
Probably, it is it still stable (see our list of signs it has gone out). However, if you or your baby have sensitive skin, then you may want to avoid it. However, always test expired baby products on your skin before using them.
In general, it is safe to use expired baby oil if the product looks and feels normal. Do not use the expired oil if it appears discolored, has uneven texture, smells sour or rancid, or has a bulging container. Don’t worry too much if the baby oil no longer smells good – while old baby oil may lose its fragrance, this will not negatively impact its performance.
Is Organic Baby Oil Better Than Non-organic?
Well, organic baby oil is not a by-product of petroleum and does not include ingredients like formaldehyde. So I think you know where I am going with this. Baby oil can also contain:
- Benxyl alcohol
- Dehydroacetic acid
- Glyceryl Caprilate
- Potassium sorbate
Go google any of them if you are not sure. Then decide if you want to put them on your babies wet skin.
Now, look at organic oils like coconut, calendula oil, olive oil, avocado oil or any vegetable oils. These will keep the baby’s skin soft and can all be used as a natural bath oil.
Unlike most baby oils, very little is added to them. Add in some grape seed oil or lavender essential oil for scent, and I know what I would prefer to use on my baby’s delicate skin. Standard baby oil does not offer the same nutrients and benefits as these natural oils.
Natural Baby Oil Alternatives
You don’t need expensive massage oils to replace the cheap bottle of baby oil, instead just make your own with natural oil and some gorgeous essential oils that will moisturize skin and nourish. All of these can be used on normal skin for treatments for cradle cap, itchy scalp, diaper rash or to make baby wipes or any general skin irritations. None of these is usually a skin irritant but they will all have a limited shelf life.
Whilst organic brands might be better, any natural brands oil can be used as an excellent replacement or petroleum-based baby oil. Like everything, always do a skin patch test first and lookout for signs of allergic reactions.
Our list of replacement oils include:
Coconut oil is one of the most popular oils for massages. It can be used to treat acne, dermatitis and other skin disorders because it has anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce swelling and redness.
It also provides relief from eczema, dryness or irritation due to its absorption, hydrating capability and antibacterial components.
This is the oil for dry, irritated or allergic skin including dermatitis, eczema and other types of dermatitis because it provides an excellent moisturizing effect to the skin without clogging pores. It delivers essential fatty acids that are not produced naturally by your body so they will keep your face looking radiant all day.
Olive oil is one of the oldest oils for skincare which provides an excellent moisturizing effect on the skin so you will never have to worry about dry or dehydrated skin again. It also softens and smoothes rough elbows, feet and other areas that need intense moisturization. It’s high in antioxidants that fight free radicals that are responsible for skin aging. Extra virgin olive oil is better but any olive oil will work.
Sesame Seed Oil
This oil is an excellent moisturizer, providing benefits to the skin with natural antibacterial properties so it will fight acne and other blemishes on your skin. It contains essential fatty acids, nutrients and vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E so it will keep your skin looking radiant, soft and hydrated while reducing the risk of skin diseases.
Beeswax is a natural moisturizer that contains high amounts of vitamin A and essential fatty acids so it will hydrate dry, damaged skin. It’s also great for treating acne because it has antibacterial properties to prevent breakouts and blemishes from occurring.
This is an excellent massage oil used for dry, dehydrated or devitalized skin that needs moisturizing without clogging pores. It contains vitamin A and essential fatty acids that will help to soften the skin while fighting off free radical damage.
One of our favourite oils because it repairs sun damage and removes toxins thanks to its antibacterial properties to prevent breakouts, acne and blemishes. It’s perfect for oily skin because it won’t clog pores while preventing dryness with its natural moisturizing abilities.
This oil is great for treating allergies to poison ivy or oak because it contains high amounts of vitamin A which helps to fight the itchiness and swelling caused by the allergen. It has a great moisturizing effect so it can be used for skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
This is a popular alternative to petroleum jelly or baby oil in many countries because it’s excellent for treating the dry skin that needs intense hydration. It aids in the healing process of damaged skin and it’s loaded with antioxidants to fight free radical damage. Great to use as a barrier for baby against wet diapers.
Wheat Germ Oil
This is a great alternative for treating dry skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis because it contains vitamin E which will help reduce the symptoms of these conditions. The antioxidant properties in wheat germ oil will help treat acne and other blemishes that can be caused by sun damage.
Shea butter is excellent for treating damaged skin that has been exposed to the sun or dry climates because it’s rich in fatty acids and vitamin E which will help to repair and hydrate the skin.
Rosehip Seed Oil
This oil is great for treating acne, scars and pigmentation because of its high levels of vitamin A. Rosehip seed oil is also great for treating aging skin because of its ability to reduce wrinkles, fine lines and signs of aging with its high levels of vitamin C.
We’re not talking about guacamole here but avocado oil is loaded with vitamins A, D E and K which will help hydrate dry lycopene which helps prevent skin cancer. It’s also loaded with essential fatty acids so it will prevent the signs of aging while fighting acne and other blemishes on your skin.
There are so many benefits to using carrier oils for your skin depending on your skin type because they’re packed with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that can help treat various skin conditions. Using these carrier oils instead of chemical-filled moisturizers from the store will ensure that your skin is being treated with natural, organic products.
Take Away on Does Baby Oil Expire
Yes, baby oil does expire, normally after three years. Always check the expiration date on the baby oil bottles or look for other signs the oil has begun to destabilise including bad scent, discolouration and texture.
If your baby oil has expired, don’t throw it away, use it for any of the multitudes of other uses listed above.
If you want to go more natural, check out our detailed list of natural alternatives to baby oil or read our guide to natural remedies for diaper rash.