An infant’s skin is light and sensitive. So, baby oil helps moisturize such skin types. Some mothers also use the oil during a massage, and to prevent diaper rash.
Any caring parent wouldn’t wish to apply a harmful product on the extra sensitive skin of an infant. And so the question is, does baby oil expire?
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All About Baby Oils
Most baby oils comprise mineral oils and additives. But mineral oils (otherwise known as liquid petroleum) make up a larger percentage than additives.
The additives include fragrances (sweet soothing scents) and preservatives that inhibit microbial growth.
However, some baby oils use vegetable oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, and palm oil.
And note that mineral oil has a longer lifespan than vegetable oil.
So, Does Baby Oil Expire?
In brief, baby oils expire and that’s why some manufacturers place the expiry date on their baby oil brands.
As mentioned before, most baby oils contain a high percentage of mineral oil and a smaller percentage of additives (artificial fragrances and preservatives).
Often mineral oils do not degrade in quality. But since baby oils aren’t 100 percent liquid petroleum, they expire. The additives such as artificial fragrances and preservatives cause its quality degradation.
Depending on the ingredients, it can expire as early as one or three years. Therefore, it’s wise to store the baby oil correctly to reap a long lifespan.
Proper Use and Storage of Baby Oils
Cool and Dark Place
When not in use, keep your baby oil in a cool place where it doesn’t receive direct sunlight or heat. A cabinet below the sink or in the bathroom thus serves as a viable storage place.
Never Leave the Cap Open
Before storing the baby oil, tighten the cap. Leaving it open for longer hours encourages the oxidation process.
After purchasing the bottle of baby oil, open it only when you are set to use it.
Store it In Smaller Bottles
Keeping a little volume of baby oil in a large container isn’t wise. The volume of the bottle not occupied by the oil traps oxygen. As a result, it predisposes it to the oxidation process.
Some mums have also found it beneficial to freeze baby oils that they don’t plan to use soon.
How Do You Know If Baby Oil Has Expired?
Here are the tips on how you can tell whether your baby oil has expired or not:
Check for the Expiry Date
Most leading baby oil brands indicate the expiry date of their products. You can find the labeling on the top, bottom, or embossed somewhere on the container.
At the same time, most baby oils have a shelf life of about 1 to 3 years once opened. Therefore, check on the manufacture date and shelf life as indicated by the manufacturer.
Change in Scent
It’s only safe to use mineral oil that registers a consistent smell. So, if you notice that it emits a different kind of smell as opposed to what it registered in the beginning, most likely it has expired. A strange smell means that the additives (fragrances or additives) to the mineral oil have gone bad.
Change in Color
Right from the beginning, the baby oil should present a consistent color or appearance. Hence keep track of its color. If it grows hazy or forms two layers, stop using it.
Having used a particular brand of baby oil for some time, you’ll get to know its texture. For example, naturally, baby oils are easy to apply.
For instance, if you find it stickier and demanding to apply to the skin, it’s a cause of worry. In such cases, it might take longer than usual to disappear into the skin or evaporate.
Can You Use Baby Oil that has Expired?
A baby’s skin is sensitive and not fit for the baby oil that has degraded in quality. Depending on the type of skin that the user has, expired baby oil can produce any of the following effects;
- Less moisturizing effect
- Skin irritation
- A strange smell
- A sticky texture on the skin
Once the baby oil has expired, you shouldn’t apply it to anyone’s skin. But, instead of discarding it, here are its alternative uses:
If you have a leather product, for example, a handbag that’s dry and cracked, baby oil helps as a conditioner. Use a cotton swab to apply it to the leather handbag.
The oil penetrates and hence softens the material. Besides making it easy to clean, it also prolongs the lifespan of the leather handbag.
Even after expiry, baby oil functions as a lubricant. You can thus use it on doorknobs, hinges, sliding doors, and locks. Furthermore, it’s also useful in preventing metal surfaces from rusting.
Metal and Wood Polish
Baby oil also doubles as a polish for metal and wooden surfaces. When you apply it over your wooden floor, it gives it an appealing look.
And when you have tiny rust spots on a metal surface, baby oil helps remove the rust. Doing so awards the metal surface a shiny look.
Due to the presence of fragrances and preservatives in it, baby oil expires. Besides the expiry date, it’s vital to stay alert for its change in smell, appearance, and texture.
After its expiry, it can cause skin irritation, produce an awful smell, or register sub-optimum performance. Luckily it still finds other alternative uses as highlighted above.