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Baby oil makes your skin soft, smells amazing, and is fairly inexpensive. While it may seem like the perfect choice of a personal lubricant for your next intimate encounter, baby oil doesn’t actually work well as a personal lube. Read on to find out why.

Baby oil is a petroleum-based mineral oil. It’s considered a byproduct of the process to refine crude oil. Baby oil is refined further for use in skin care products and is safe when used externally on the skin. It has been shown to effectively protect babies from diaper rash.

When it comes to sex, however, baby oil doesn’t appear to be the best choice, especially during vaginal or anal sex.

Baby oil is difficult to wash out

Baby oil can’t be dissolved in water, so it creates a barrier effect on the skin. It will remain on the skin until it is physically removed by cleansing. After sex, baby oil will prove difficult to wash off with just soap and water. It may take some scrubbing, which can irritate your skin.

Baby oil may increase the risk of vaginal infection

Petroleum-based lubricants may increase a woman’s risk of vaginal infection. A recent study discovered that women who had used petroleum jelly as lube were more than twice as likely to have bacterial vaginosis compared to women who did not use petroleum jelly as lube during the same month.

This study also found that using oil in the vagina could increase a woman’s risk of getting a yeast infection. If you’re prone to yeast infections, you should avoid using baby oil or other types of oil during sex.

Baby oil will break down a latex condom

Any oil-based lubricant can destroy latex condoms very quickly. Baby oil (and all other oils) should never be used with condoms, diaphragms, or cervical caps made out of latex. Research has shown that condom breakage can occur in as little as a minute when using mineral oils. A broken condom puts you at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or becoming pregnant.

Baby oil is water-insoluble and remains on the skin until it’s washed off with soap and water. If you use it for masturbation and then use it for sex with a condom afterward without showering, it will still cause the latex to degrade.

Oil-based lubes can stain bed linens and clothing

Like any other type of oil-based lubricant, baby oil can cause stains on your linens and clothing. The stains will be difficult or impossible to remove.

Baby oil can degrade materials used in sex toys

Baby oil shouldn’t be used with sex toys made from latex, silicone, rubber, or plastic. Petroleum can degrade these materials and turn your sex toys into a horrible mess.

A better option than baby oil would be to head to the store to purchase an inexpensive lube designed with your safety and pleasure in mind.

There are three kinds of lube: water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based.

  • Water-based. Water-based lubricants are safe to use with condoms and sex toys; they have a tendency to dry out, but you can always reapply as needed.
  • Oil-based. Oil-based lubricants are nice and thick, but they can’t be used with latex. They can also stain your linens and increase the risk of yeast infections or STIs.
  • Silicone-based. Silicone-lubricants are silky and usually last longer than water-based lubes. They don’t destroy latex, but they can definitely do some damage to silicone-based sex toys.

If you’re looking for the safest type of lubricant, your best option is likely a water-based lubricant, like KY Jelly or Astroglide. Water-based lubes are a good choice for both masturbation and intercourse.

With a water-based option, you can ensure that a latex condom won’t break down. You’ll also have a much easier time cleaning it up. Water-based products are water soluble, so they won’t stain your clothes and sheets. There are many water-based options available for under $10, either in stores or online.

If you’re looking for a lube, you should avoid anything based on petroleum jelly or mineral oil, including baby oil. Stay away from oil-based lubricants if you’re using latex condoms. Make sure to read the label. If you see anything that says “oil” or “petroleum,” the lube won’t be safe to use with a condom.

Most over-the-counter personal lubricants are safe for most people if used as directed. If you have particularly sensitive skin or often have allergic reactions to skin products, spot test the lube on your arm to make sure your skin doesn’t have a reaction to it.

Lubes can make sex so much better, but choosing the right product can make or break the experience. If you have any concerns about your sexual health, talk to a doctor.