Baby oil is mineral oil or liquid petroleum, a byproduct in the distillation of petroleum, such as in the production of gasoline, that has had fragrance added to it. This product is available in most drug stores and has a variety of uses in medicine and cosmetics. Baby oil is so named because it is mild and gentle, suitable for use on the delicate skin of babies as well as anyone with sensitive skin.
Perhaps the most common use for baby oil is as a skin moisturizer. It helps protect skin from dryness by forming a barrier that locks in moisture. It can also help soothe dry skin, and is often used to alleviate eczema and diaper rash, though it should never be used on broken skin. Mineral oil can be added to the bath to help moisturize skin or be used as an alternative to shave gel.
Baby oil can be used in massage for infants and adults, as well as to protect and soften the eyelashes. It also helps to remove temporary tattoos, make up, paint, bubble gum, and bandage adhesive from the skin or hair. However, in some people, it can clog the pores and lead to acne. Baby oil can also be used to clean the ears, as it can help soften and break up earwax deposits. However, it can cause ear infection in the case of a perforated eardrum, so it is important to consult a doctor before using it to clean the ears.
Baby oil is also sometimes taken internally as a laxative, as it helps lubricate the bowels. This use should also be cleared by a doctor, however, as it can have potentially harmful complications. For example, if accidentally aspirated, mineral oil can harm the lungs. Baby oil should be stored out of the reach of children, as it can be dangerous in the case of accidental ingestion or aspiration.
Mineral oil has a number of household uses as well. It can be used to polish and protect wood, leather, silver, and chrome. Its lubricating properties also make it good for getting tangles out of jewelry, removing tight rings, and loosening stubborn zippers. Mineral oil can help fix squeaky hinges on a door or window too. Another possible use is to remove price stickers, and the residue they can leave behind.