Petroleum Jelly, the primary component in Vaseline®, is often found in cosmetics and even alone to moisturize pores and skin. It’s cheap. It’s unscented. It appears to work effectively for softening pores and skin, so what may be the problem?
What is Petroleum Jelly?
Vaseline is a byproduct of the oil refining process. This means it is not sustainable or eco-friendly, and it also explains some of the potential problems with using it.
Vaseline was formerly within underneath of essential oil rigs and it is further refined for use in the wonder industry. Relating to product packaging and protection info, all the dangerous components are removed before use in beauty or personal maintenance systems, but some resources claim that it still contains some harmful components (like hydrocarbons).
How Does Petroleum Jelly Work on Skin?
Petroleum jelly is used in everything from lotions to baby products for its ability to create a protective barrier on the skin and hold in moisture. On labels, it may also appear as Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Water Paraffin, or Paraffin Essential oil.
As the ability to carry in dampness may seem to be just like a good thing, it can have its downsides as well. Since vaseline is both waterproof rather than water soluble, it generates a waterproof hurdle on your skin.
Initially, this may sound good, but it also means that it blocks pores and can lock in residue and bacteria. This is also the reason petroleum jelly should not be used on a burn or sunburn, as it locks in heat and can stop the body’s capability to heal.
Also, although it certainly provides appearance of hydrated and moisturized skin, this may be an illusion as there is nothing in petroleum jelly that is actually nourishing the skin. If you are looking for something to help hold in moisture and nourish the skin, some natural products accomplish both (see the end of this post for a list).
Problems with Petroleum Jelly
Besides its pore-blocking potential, petroleum jelly carries some potentially bigger problems as well.
Vaseline can’t be metabolized by your skin and sits as a hurdle until it wears off. Which means that your body isn’t in a position to gain any reap the benefits of vaseline (enjoy it can from nutritional rich chemicals like shea butter or cocoa butter), and there is certainly concern that some of the components (like hydrocarbons) may be stored in excess fat tissue within the body.
In fact, a 2011 study found that:
“There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 g per person. Possible routes of contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal absorption.”
This study was interesting because it evaluated both the long-term storage potential of these hydrocarbons in the torso in addition to a woman’s ability to pass them to her child through breastfeeding. It viewed fats tissue samples extracted from women throughout a c-section and a follow-up of breasts milk examples and found a solid correlation between your amounts of fats tissue and the amounts passed on in breastmilk.
This suggests the potential for long-term accumulation of these hydrocarbons in the body. The study found no link between nutritional habits and hydrocarbon levels in the body but do find a solid potential hyperlink between aesthetic and beauty product use and contaminants, suggesting that cosmetics may be considered a major way to obtain hydrocarbon exposure.
As moms, this study is especially interesting, since it shows the potential for passing on these contaminants to our children during breastfeeding. We also know that we can’t metabolize these substances, so they can build up in the body and are difficult to remove.
Due to the hurdle that mineral essential oil/petroleum jelly creates on your skin, addititionally there is some concern about its potential to cause collagen break down (the contrary of what majority of the women want).
Essentially, the concern is that when petroleum jelly coats the skin, it blocks the skin’s natural ability to breathe and absorb nutrients. This can sluggish the cell renewal process and cause the skin to pull the necessary dampness and nutrients from within, resulting in collagen breakdown as time passes (aka lines and wrinkles!).
An evergrowing problem in today’s world, estrogen dominance is when your body has high degrees of estrogen and proportionately low degrees of progesterone to balance it. It really is associated with infertility, menstrual problems, accelerated maturing, allergies, and autoimmune problems as well as nutrient deficiencies, sleep problems and even some types of cancers.
Many products (including petroleum jelly) contain chemicals called xenoestrogens, which may increase estrogen problems in the body. Studies have shown that these chemicals may take action on hormone receptors in the torso and business lead to estrogen dominance.
More Serious Problems
You have the potential that petroleum based products contain other harmful chemical compounds like 1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen found in almost a quarter of all beauty products tested.
Additionally, as drug commercials like to warn us, “other more serious problems may occur.” While more severe problems are rare, they can occur, and the figures don’t matter if you will be the 1% that eventually ends up with the challenge (though to place it in perspective, it is most likely about the opportunity that you truly have liver cancers due to the skin rash you searched for on WebMD).
One of these serious problems is called lipid pneumonia. Though rare, this occurs when small amounts of the petroleum jelly are inhaled and build up in the lungs (as mentioned earlier, the body can’t metabolize or break down petroleum jelly). This creates a possibly severe irritation of the lungs.
Alternatives To Petroleum Products for the Skin
Thankfully, there are extensive great alternatives to vaseline and mineral oil that assist in moisture on your skin and offer nourishment as well. The very best part? Many of them can be utilized alone, so you don’t have even to make anything!
If you are looking for a simple alternative to petroleum jelly or Vaseline®, try:
- Shea Butter – A natural skin superfood that is high in Vitamins A, E, and F. It also contains beneficial fatty acids that nourish skin and it may reduce skin inflammation and increase collagen creation. It really is excellent alone or in homemade cosmetics. (This is actually the one I love).
- Cocoa Butter – An excellent way to obtain antioxidants and beneficial essential fatty acids, cocoa butter is another great product for epidermis. There is even some evidence that it may reduce the indicators of aging. (This is the brand I’ve used)
- Beeswax – A great substitute for the waterproof and protective properties of petroleum jelly without the hydrocarbons. Though not usually used alone, beeswax can be blended into homemade beauty products because of its skin-protective capability and is particularly useful in lip balms and body lotions.
- Coconut Oil – Coconut oil has so benefits, internal and external, and it could be great for your skin. It can cause breakouts in a few people, therefore i always suggest screening on a small area of pores and skin first, but it is a source of skin-nourishing fatty acids, lauric acid, and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Almond Oil – A liquid oil that is fragrance-free and nourishing to the skin.
- Jojoba Oil – An ideal choice for skincare since it naturally resembles sebum, the oily product naturally made by your body to nourish and protect epidermis. I love to combine Jojoba Essential oil with Shea butter for a straightforward natural lotion.