White soft paraffin is a pharmaceutical ingredient that is commonly found in many topical skin treatments. It is used as an emollient and a heavy moisturiser. When applied to the skin, it is a very messy, greasy compound. Another term for white soft paraffin is white petroleum jelly, and it is found in such products as vaseline, Aquaphor, Eucerin, as well as a number of topical antibiotic and corticosteroid treatments. Most topical remedies containing whit soft paraffin can be purchased over the counter. However, this same ingredient is also used in a number of prescription skin treatments as well. White soft paraffin should not be confused with the type of paraffin wax that is used in beauty treatments.
Retaining the moisture of the skin is probably one of the most widespread uses of white soft paraffin. Because it is a rich emollient, white soft paraffin has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin than other lotions or compounds. Also, the thickness of the compound forms a barrier on the skin that further prevents additional water from escaping the top layers of the skin. This is especially useful in people with extreme dry skin and related conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. Not only can white soft paraffin aid during a flare-up of these types of conditions, but the protective components of the compound can also help prevent future outbreaks. Petroleum jelly is also found in a number of lip glosses and is used as a treatment for chapped lips. A small number of people have reported an allergic reaction when using products that contain white soft paraffin, but it is unclear whether these reactions were due to the soft white paraffin itself or other ingredients in some products. Products containing white soft paraffin are for external use only, and should never be used inside of the body.
White soft paraffin has also been shown to be beneficial as a skin protectant. White soft paraffin is a hydrophobic compound that repels water. Some car owners use white soft paraffin to coat their wheels to prevent rust. People who work in industrial settings or who are frequently exposed to skin irritants can use white soft paraffin to protect their hands and arms. White petroleum jelly has even been used on leather items such as furniture, shoes, and baseball gloves to prevent moisture and help soften the leather. In football and some other types of athletics, white soft paraffin can also help keep debris out of the eyes.
White soft paraffin and petroleum jelly were once promoted as a personal lubricant, but pharmaceutical and cosmetics manufacturers backed away from this after it was discovered that this compound can actually deteriorate the latex used in condoms. Still, white soft paraffin continues to be used as a lubricant for a number of medical procedures, and is also recommended for use in patients with haemorrhoids or severe constipation. Outside of the health industry, petroleum jelly is also used by mechanics for lubricating small parts used in engines or transmissions.