Petroleum, also known as “petroleum jelly”, which is the only ingredient in the popular brand Vaseline, and mineral oil also commonly known as “baby oil”, are common ingredients in lotions, skin creams, cosmetics and hair care products. Its used in skin care products because its a inexpensive oil that lubricates the skin; supposedly to moisturize, soften and protect the skin from the elements. In hair care products, the oil is used as a moisturizer and barrier that repels water and humidity to prevent frizz and dryness. Its also used with pressing combs, flat and curling irons to protect from heat damage caused by these tools. Its inexpensive with an unlimited shelf life so its appealing for cosmetic, hair and skin care manufacturers. Even some high-end lines use petroleum and/or mineral oil in their products. In a few luxury department stores I have shopped at, I’ve found that a lot of the lines they carry use petroleum in their products – despite the tipple digit prices for a lot of their items.
Mineral oil is liquid petroleum which is a by-product in the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. Propylene glycol is often a derivative of petroleum (though it can come from a vegetable source as well).
The problem with petroleum products, instead of moisturizing, it coats the skin and clog the pores not letting in actual moisture and toxins out through the skin. The skin may feel smooth to the touch, but its actually coated with the oil. As a result, it can cause acne, dryness, dandruff and other skin irritations.
Petroleum and Cancer
“Petrolatum – Impurities in Petroleum Jelly or commonly known as Vaseline, under suspicion as a carcinogen in Breast Cancer – Petrolatum Banned in products in the EU – Long term damage to health becoming evident – side effects from impurities in the manufacturing process implicated in causing cancer”
Remember, the skin absorbs 60% of all chemicals we use on our skin and hair.” – Health Report UK
Other names for mineral oil and petroleum:
- Baby Oil
- Vaseline (brand name)
- Liquid paraffin
- Mineral Seal Oil
What should you use?
Always read labels when you’re shopping for bath, body, baby and hair products. Look for products that contains natural vegetable, plant, seed and nut oils such as shea butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil.
Any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you!