If you’re concerned about the long list of chemical ingredients you see on your baby’s bum cream or body oil, you’re not alone. Many parents are choosing to go the natural route when it comes to their children’s skincare, because the skin is porous and absorbs 70 to 80% of what you put on it. The good news is, Mother Nature has come to the rescue with coconut oil. This oil, derived from the fleshy meat of coconuts, is one of the healthiest oils you can choose for your child, and it’s not just ideal for cooking, says clinical nutritionist and wellness expert, Desi Horsman.
Choose the right coconut oil
Before you reach for any old coconut oil on the shelf, remember that not all coconut oils are the same, says Desi. Be sure to buy unrefined virgin, cold-extracted coconut oil. When it’s created with cold processing, the oil is kept intact without breaking down or removing naturally occurring phytonutrients and the oil’s natural health-promoting antioxidants are preserved.
Heat and toxic chemicals are used in some forms of processing, which break the oil down and remove its beneficial elements. Additionally, some refined oils are bleached and deodorised. This can alter the quality of coconut oil and it may even end up having a completely different impact on the body.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of coconut oil for kids:
It’s great for skin conditions
Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties make coconut oil valuable in treating eczema, acne, nappy rash (it creates a skin barrier to allow healing) as well as nipple thrush for nursing moms, says Desi.
Many of the baby toiletries you see on the shelf are deodorised and full of chemicals which add to the toxic load in a little body. They block the pores of a baby’s skin and can irritate the skin. Coconut oil is the perfect natural non-toxic moisturiser.
It’s a natural remedy for cradle cap
Cradle cap is a fungal condition that most infants get on their scalps. It can be easily treated at home by using a tiny bit of coconut oil, which is high in lauric acid and has anti-microbial properties. Coconut oil soothes the inflamed area and provides moisture, which helps the flakes to loosen so they can be brushed off after a few days.
It’s beneficial for baby massage
Coconut oil, with its nourishing healthy fats (and solid consistency at room temperature) is ideal for baby massage, says Desi. Little one’s love being massaged as it’s very calming and aids sleep, helps to boost the immune system and assists with the development of the digestive system.
It’s a fabulous frizz tamer
Rather than buying an expensive de-tangling spray, just a small amount of coconut oil will do wonders to detangle your little one’s curly hair. It’ll also make brushing quicker and easier, because let’s face it, no toddler likes to sit still and have their hair brushed and pulled! Some studies have also shown that coconut oil kills lice. This will come in handy when your child starts school.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .