Can You Use Baby Oil As Lube For Anal Or Vaginal Sex? Is It Safe?

With the risk of damaged condoms and vaginal and rectal infection, baby oil is not the safest lube alternative for many reasons.
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Updated:July 2023

With the risk of damaged condoms and vaginal and rectal infection, baby oil is not the safest lube alternative.

While you might come across a bottle of baby oil as you’re tearing your bathroom cabinets apart during a quest to find something slippery, it’s best to leave it be, for many reasons — not the least of which is because there are much better options.

In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about using baby oil as a personal lubricant, including:

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Lube Alternatives and Everything Lube hubs, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.

Is It Safe To Use Baby Oil As Lube For Vaginal Or Anal Sex?

The biggest issue with using baby oil as a personal lubricant is that it breaks down the latex in condoms and dental dams, causing them to break while putting you at risk of an unwanted pregnancy or STI/STD.

A Warning About Baby Oil And Condoms

Mineral oil, a common baby oil ingredient that we’ll talk about later, will cause a latex condom’s material to lose about 90% of its strength in under a minute.

It should never be used as a personal lubricant with latex or polyisoprene condoms.

Even using baby oil for lube during oral sex can be dangerous to you and your partner since baby oil is a hydrocarbon.

This means that if inhaled, the substance can stay in your lungs, potentially causing pneumonia and possibly even leading to death.

If these risks to your health aren’t enough to persuade you against using baby oil as lube, it also can potentially make a big mess. Being oil-based, baby oil stains your clothes and bedding and is difficult to wash off of your skin.

Susan Milstein, who has a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and sits on our medical review board, summed it up like this:

“Baby oil is good for a lot of things — but not as lube! If you’re using an external latex condom (commonly referred to as a male condom) it can cause the latex to break down — which kind of defeats the whole purpose of using one!”

She added that if you want or need to use a personal lubricant, it’s important to make sure that it’s body-safe.

Can You Use Baby Oil As A Vaginal Lube?

Dr. Milstein told us that baby oil “can lead to irritation of sensitive skin, including in and around the genitals.”

Although baby oil is often used as a moisturizer, similar to lotion, it can be irritating to the delicate skin of your vulva or vagina so it really shouldn’t be used as a personal lubricant during vaginal sex.

Irritation from baby oil might sound like nothing more than a minor inconvenience, but you might not feel the same way when you’re dealing with burning, itching, tenderness, rash, or discharge

“There’s also some research that shows that using oil products, like baby oil, on the genitals can lead to a higher rate of vaginal infections,” Milstein said.

Such infections may include yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.

Baby oil will also break down female latex or polyisoprene condoms just as easily as their male-worn counterparts — yet another reason to choose a safer lube option.

Although it’s pretty clear that baby oil can’t be used with latex products, you might assume that it’s safe to use with non-latex diaphragms.

It is not.

Some diaphragms are made from silicone, but oils will break down their material, too — even if you’re using a safe, oil-based lube.

One important factor to consider is the longevity of baby oil and how difficult it is to remove.

If you use baby oil while masturbating vaginally with a sex toy earlier in the day, for instance, and have sex using a condom later that same day, the remaining oil inside the vagina would degrade the condom, Milstein advised.

When it comes to vaginal sex, there are plenty of better personal lubricant options to choose from.

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Can You Use Baby Oil As Anal Lube?

Whether you’re going in the front or back door, baby oil is not a guest you want to invite in!

Using baby oil as an alternative to lube is unsafe because it’s been linked to higher risk of anal infection.

As we mentioned earlier, baby oil breaks down condoms in record time so if you’re using one during anal sex to prevent STIs and STDs, you’re putting yourself at risk for contracting an unwanted infection.

If you’re looking for a lube to use during anal sex or pegging, your best bet is to seek a quality personal lube that’s designed for it.

Silicone lubes are highly recommended for anal sex, thanks to their thicker consistency, but some water-based lubes with a heavier texture can work equally well.

We did the research and found the best and safest anal lubes available right now.

Whichever type of personal lubricant you choose, make sure that it’s compatible with the type of condoms you intend to use and that it’s body-safe.

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What Is Baby Oil Made Of?

Baby oil can be made from mineral oils or vegetable oils.

Mineral oil is made from purified and refined petroleum, which is essentially crude oil.

Although it’s used in many products that come in contact with skin, mineral oil is not a suitable ingredient for anything being used as a personal lube.

As we mentioned earlier, mineral oil will cause a latex condom’s material to lose about 90% of its strength in under a minute’s time.

In fact, that’s also one of the main reasons why we don’t recommend using Vaseline as lube — another mineral oil-based product that many people might consider as a viable lube alternative in a pinch.

Vegetable oil-based baby oil, on the other hand, is made from naturally-grown oils like coconut, palm, soy, olive, or almond.

Although some of these natural oils may be considered safe to use as lube on their own — like coconut oil, for instance — they won’t make baby oil a safe lube alternative if you see them in the ingredient list.

Additional ingredients in baby oil may include things like moisturizing glycolipids, vitamin-rich carotenoids, and antioxidant polyphenols.

Preservatives are also added to the oil to keep it from going rancid. All of these added ingredients can potentially lead to irritation when used as a personal lubricant.

As its name suggests, baby oil is designed to be safe and gentle on babies’ skin, but as we talked about earlier, it is just not a safe option for genital skin — or for condoms, dental dams, or diaphragms.

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What Are Better Lube Alternatives To Baby Oil?

Instead of baby oil, we highly suggest using a store-bought personal lubricant that is body-safe.

There are many personal lubricant options available, including:

Here’s a cheat sheet for selecting the best lube based on how you intend to use it:

Lube Type:
Oral Sex Yes Yes Not usually
Vaginal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Anal Sex ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable Yes Yes
Condom Types All All Polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin only
Sex Toy Types All All but silicone All but latex
Bath/Shower Use No Yes Yes
Does It Stain? No Yes Yes
Lube Type:
Oral Sex
Vaginal Sex
Anal Sex
Condom Types
Sex Toy Types
Bath/Shower Use
Does It Stain?

There is a personal lubricant designed for every situation, so if you’re not sure which to choose, you can read through our in-depth lube guide or take our lube quiz to find your perfect match.

Our Top Lube Recommendations

After researching hundreds of personal lubricants — and personally testing dozens of them ourselves — we have found the very best lubes of each type, vetted by our team and recommended for their safety and performance.

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We’ll take a quick look at the four main lubricant categories below.

Water-Based Lubricants

Water-based lube is water-soluble — making it easy to clean up — and it tends to have a texture that’s similar to your body’s natural lubrication.

Additionally, water-based lube is safe to use with any type of condom, dental dam, or diaphragm.

Although they may need to be reapplied during long sex sessions, water-based lubricants can be reactivated with a little water as needed, however, they cannot be used in the shower or bathtub.

If you’d like to learn more about water-based lubes, we researched and reviewed the safest and best water-based personal lubricants to help you find the perfect one.

Silicone-Based Lubricants

Silicone-based lubes last much longer than their water-based counterparts and are equally safe for condoms of all types.

When it comes to deciding between water-based and silicone-based lubes, your choice will ultimately depend on how you’re planning to use them.

Silicone personal lubricants tend to have a thicker consistency and silky-smooth texture that is noticeably different from your body’s natural lubrication.

Their heavier, cushiony texture makes them a particularly good choice for anal sex.

Although they won’t wash away in the shower, silicone lubes can’t be used with silicone sex toys because they may damage the material.

Our review of the best silicone-based personal lubes explores all of our hand-picked recommendations of the safest products available right now.

Oil-Based Lubricants

An oil-based lubricant is one that is made from natural (and sometimes organic) oils that are body-safe for vaginal and anal sex.

Some products may include nut-based oil ingredients, which is cause for concern in those who have allergies to them.

Similar to silicone lubes in texture, oil-based personal lubricants are another great choice for anal sex as long as latex or polyisoprene condoms are not being used.

Additionally, they are not compatible with dental dams, although oil-based lubes shouldn’t be ingested or used during oral sex.

If you’re interested in learning more about them, we researched and found the best oil-based personal lubricants.

Natural And Organic Lubricants

Natural and organic personal lubricants may be water-based or oil-based, depending on the product, offering a variety of options to choose from based on your needs.

Like other oil-based lubes, natural and organic products made using nut-based oils should be avoided by those who have allergies to such ingredients.

Through our independent research, we found the best and safest natural and organic lubricants that are available right now..

Are There Any Safe Home Lube Alternatives?

If it’s an emergency and you need a lube alternative that can be found around the house, there are some options available:

Aloe vera is safe to use as lube — as long as you are using 100% pure aloe vera with zero additives.

Aloe vera’s antifungal and antimicrobial properties make it a safe personal lubricant but if you have a latex allergy, you’ll have to look elsewhere since aloe naturally contains latex, which may not have been entirely removed during the manufacturing process.

Extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil is also safe to use as lube — as long as you’re not using it with a latex dental dam or condom.

Vitamin E oil is also a safe option that is often included as an ingredient in store-bought personal lubes.

Bottom Line: 

When you’re in a pinch and looking to reduce friction with something you’ve got laying around the house, it can be really tempting to grab the Johnson’s because it’s close by and slippery.

But with the risk of broken condoms, infection, and ruined sheets, it’s best to leave the baby oil to the babies and seek a more appropriate lube option.

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