What you need to know about Petroleum Jelly


Vaseline. It's one of those brand names that has been a household staple for generations, kind of like Kleenex is to tissues. Your mom used it. Your grandmother used it. Maybe even your great-grandmother used it. Vaseline was just part of their evening beauty ritual. My mother used to put it on her lips to keep them hydrated and soft, but does it really hydrate?

What do we know about petroleum jelly? Well first off, and what you may have already gathered from its name, its a byproduct of the oil industry, coming from the same place as gasoline. However, the FDA says this "residue built up from leftover crude oil" is perfectly safe to smother all over our bodies. 

Why is petroleum jelly bad for you?

There isn't anything necessary wrong about this ingredient absorbing into your skin really. Thing is, petroleum doesn't absorb. It sits on top of your skin, sealing off every pore and therefor disrupting your ability to eliminate toxins through your skin, which, in return can cause dirt and acne causing bacteria to clog pores, as well as preventing the all important cell turnover rate to go its natural course. What does this mean for you? Breakouts, irritation, and a rapid increase in the aging process.

I don't use Vaseline!

That's great, but it's probably in a number of products you do use. Petroleum jelly is an oil based emollient, used everywhere from your cheapest drug store brands (Cetaphil) to your most high end luxury lines (La Mer). In short, always check the labels before buying anything you use. Look for ingredients such as beeswax (or synthetic wax alternatives if you're vegan), coconut oil, almond oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, or other natural alternatives. Lastly, don't forget to pass the knowledge on giving the matriarchs of your family a new beauty ritual.