Harmful Effects of Mineral Oil & Petroleum Jelly

Written by amy jensen
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Harmful Effects of Mineral Oil & Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum-based products are widely used in a variety of cosmetics. (natural skin care elements image by rgbspace from Fotolia.com)

Petroleum jelly and mineral oil are petroleum-based products, the same substance gasoline is made from. Such products can be harmful to your body, because it cannot eliminate the substance quickly. Petroleum products are constantly being scrutinised and studied.

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What Is It?

Mineral oil and petroleum jelly, which are widely used in cosmetics, are made from petroleum, a crude oil substance that comes from the ground yet can be very toxic. Different refining processes transform petroleum into paraffin wax, greases, and plastics. The vaseline company describes its petroleum jelly product as "a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that ... literally melts into skin, flowing into the spaces between cells and the gaps in our lipid barrier. Once there, it resolidifies, locking itself in place."


Since petroleum jelly and mineral oil (its liquid equivalent) attach to your cells and are not water soluble, they can be difficult for your body to eliminate, sometimes causing build-up in various organs of the body. The oxygen and nutrients skin needs in order to release toxins and repair itself can be blocked by the "barrier" created by petroleum cosmetics. Petroleum substances can also be listed as "petrolatum" on ingredient labels. Petroleum is not considered safe for ingestion or internal use in large amounts, yet is the base of many lip balms.


If you would like to try an alternative to petroleum jelly, Alba manufactures "un-petroleum jelly," made from natural plant extracts and oils.

Look for natural alternatives with plant-based ingredients.
Look for natural alternatives with plant-based ingredients. (Plant image by Platinum Pictures from Fotolia.com)

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