Is petroleum jelly a natural healthy skin remedy? If you believe the advertising and marketing claims, you might think so. Here are the facts.
Petroleum jelly is derived from a byproduct of the processes used to convert crude oil into gasoline. Petrolatum is white petroleum jelly. Mineral oil is the liquefied form. Paraffin is the waxy state of the compound.
All of the ingredients are supposed to be purified. Some manufacturers say that their petroleum jelly is “triple-purified”. There is no longer a patent on the compounds. Those expired long ago. So, there are many store brands and generics available. Whether or not the store brands are purified is anyone’s guess.
Technically, crude oil is a naturally occurring substance. Petroleum jelly or petrolatum occurs naturally as a byproduct of a process developed by man. So, it is something of a gray area. There is no law against marketing petroleum jelly as a natural healthy skin remedy. The terms have no legal definitions.
When it comes to safety, as long as the compounds are carefully purified, there should be no remnants of the toxins present in crude oil. On the other hand, some dermatologists have warned against the use of the compounds for several reasons.
First, mineral oil derivatives can clog the pores and worsen acne. Second, the compounds remain flammable, which is a definite safety risk for children, infants and some professionals.
Third, in excessive amounts petrolatum is known to cause premature aging of the skin. Fourth, there are no proven benefits. So, there is really no reason to use it.
There are many naturally occurring compounds that have proven benefits for moisturizing, firming and healing. They can be used to reduce wrinkles, stretch marks, age spots and blemishes.
Shea butter is one example of a natural healthy skin remedy. Years ago, it was not an ingredient normally used by cosmetic companies in the US, although it was very popular in Europe and Africa.
We are starting to see more companies include at least a small amount of Shea butter in their lotions and moisturizing cleansers. But, the amount included might be too small to make much of a difference.
Jojoba oil is another compound that has proven to be beneficial for reducing stretch marks and wrinkles. It is a natural healthy skin remedy, being derived from the seeds of the jojoba plant, native to the Southwestern US and parts of Central America.
Olive oil, Grape seed oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil and even plain old vegetable oil are useful for improving the skin’s moisture content and providing protection against the elements. Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and wakame kelp extracts have proven benefits for reducing wrinkles, preventing age spots and improving the skin’s firmness.
As you can see, the best solutions are nutrients or plant extracts. Some companies recognize the importance of including only the safest ingredients in their cosmetics. Others stick with petroleum jelly.
A good natural healthy skin remedy can delay and reverse the visible signs of aging. Why choose something that can age you prematurely, when better solutions are available?