• Petrolatum (petroleum jelly)

    petroleum jelly & skincareWhat is petrolatum? Commonly known as Vaseline, it is used as a hydrating ingredient in skin lotions and cosmetics: lip balms and lipstick, body wash, moisturizers, hair conditioners and styling gels, cuticle balms, anti-itch creams, sunscreen, tanning oil and many more. Although generally it is well tolerated by skin and improves skin appearance, it can be comedogenic on oily, acne prone complexions; test a product with petrolatum on a small area of your skin before applying it all over. 

    Also called soft paraffin, it was originally known as an ointment with healing properties, used on skin wounds. In its pure form, petrolatum is colorless, translucent with no smell. It softens skin (especially those rough areas and cuticles) and it makes a great emollient and lubricant. It prevents moisture loss and helps protect wounds and cuts by forming an invisible barrier against humidity and bacteria.
    There is a misconception that petrolatum and glycerine are similar. The two are different ingredients with different properties: petrolatum is water-repellant while glycerine is water-attracting. Petrolatum lotions usually make good waterproof moisturizers.

    Recently, there have been inconclusive affirmations that impurities in petrolatum or even petrolatum itself may cause long term damage to health. Many argue it is a natural beneficial element and not exactly the crude oil extracted from the rock that many associate it with because of its origin. This ingredient is FDA approved for use as an additive in food and as an active ingredient in over-the-counter skin care products.


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