Extracted from seeds, camelina oil is known for its soothing and regenerative properties, among others. It does not carry major risks associated with its use, and is suitable for the whole family. Read on to learn how camelina oil can be applied in babies.
How can camelina oil be used on babies?
Why use camelina oil on baby's skin?
No study has been conducted on the effects of applyingcamelina oil to a baby's skin. However, in 2002, a study led by Gary L. DARMSTADT showed that the topical application of certain vegetable oils rich in omega-3, such as grape seed oil or sweet almond oil, could improve the function of the skin barrier in babies. Indeed, it improves the condition of the skin and the skin's lipid content, reduces the skin's insensible water loss, and provides protection against infections. Another study found that the use of emollients like oils reduced the frequency of dermatitis occurrences in babies.
On the surface of the skin, oils leave a lipid film that fills the spaces between the corneocytes, facilitating their adhesion to the horny layer, moisturizing and preventing water loss. Moreover, these benefits are undoubtedly linked to the effects of fatty acids on the lipid structure of the skin barrier, particularly omega-3s like the acid α-linolenic, which is present in large quantities in camelina oil (38.1% of total fatty acids). This fatty acid influences the production of skin lipids such as ceramides. These lipids are "offered" to keratinocytes and transported by the cell membrane, then metabolized within the cells and used to build a functional epidermal barrier.
Furthermore, several oils exhibit anti-inflammatory properties, such as camelina oil, which is attributed to their omega-3 content. These compounds increase the synthesis of anti-inflammatory lipid mediators (resolvins and protectins), which could potentially alleviate inflammation and itching associated with eczema and other skin conditions that occur in babies. However, these are assumptions due to the lack of scientific evidence on the impact of camelina oil on baby skin.
The various uses of camelina oil for babies.
It is possible to use camelina oil in various ways on baby's skin.
Pure: It is possible to apply it pure to the skin, for example in a massage. It is a pleasant oil to use, fluid and light. Warm a few drops between your hands and carefully apply the oil to your baby's skin, making circular movements, while avoiding the eye contour and genital areas. Massaging the infant with oil has multiple benefits, both in terms of skin hydration and in improving blood circulation.
Diluted in the bath: Add a few drops of camelina oil into the baby's bath water. This method allows the oil to penetrate the skin more easily and work deeply.
In creams or balms: It is possible to find camelina oil in creams or balms for babies to combat skin dryness and protect the skin from external aggressions.
Precautions for using camelina oil in babies?
The skin barrier typically forms in utero during the third trimester. Therefore, the skin of a newborn is structurally and functionally immature. It is sensitive, thin, and fragile, prone to increased water loss, highly vulnerable to trauma and bacteria, due to a epidermal permeability that facilitates the penetration of foreign substances and the immaturity of drug metabolizing systems. This passage is even easier in preterm infants due to their thinner horny layer. Applying oil to a newborn could therefore expose them to a risk of toxicity.
An important consideration is the choice of vegetable oil used. Indeed, studies have shown that certain unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid can increase, when present in large quantities, the already significant skin permeability in babies by forming a lipid domain with the lipids of the stratum corneum, and thus lead to contact dermatitis, because it facilitates the entry of potential allergens.
Camelina oil contains very little oleic acid (16% of total fatty acids) compared to other oils (77% in hazelnut oil). It is non-comedogenic and can generally be used safely according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) report on camelina oil.
Furthermore, it does not present any specific contraindications for its topical use. Although no studies have been conducted in the context of topical application on babies, and there are no clear recommendations, it can be assumed that it does not pose a risk when used on infants. However, it is still necessary to adhere to safety precautions.
Camelina oil is susceptible to oxidative degradation, due to its chemical structure rich in omega-3 double bonds. To maintain its quality, remember to tightly seal the bottle to prevent the presence of oxygen. Store it in a cool place, away from direct sunlight for proper and risk-free preservation against oxidation.
It is advisable to perform a skin test on a small area in the crook of the elbow, on the inner side of the wrist, or behind the ear before definitive use to check for potential allergic reactions.
If your baby has specific medical conditions or if there is any doubt, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before use.
BOODÉ H.E. & al. In vitro human skin barrier perturbation by oleic acid: Thermal analysis and freeze fracture electron microscopy studies. Thermochimica Acta (1997).
DARMSTADT G. L. & al. Neonatal skin care. Pediatric Clinics of North America (2000).
DARMSTADT G. L. & al. Traditional practice of oil massage of neonates in Bangladesh. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition (2002).
KANG J. X. & al. Modulation of inflammatory cytokines by omega-3 fatty acids. Lipids in Health and Disease (2008).
OGNEAN M. L. & al. The best vegetable oil for preterm and term infant massage. Jurnalul Pediatrului (2017).
Thèse de Sonia LEPELTIER. Étude ethnobotanique de Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz (2021).