Vaseline – why petroleum-based products should be avoided

Do you use Vaseline? Actually, more specifically, do you use petroleum jelly? A lot of people, including myself, use it because in fact it is highly effective. Some people use it as a moisturizer, on scrapes and bruises, for lips or for cuticles, to soften feet… I used it on my babies’ bottoms to prevent diaper rash, and while I probably didn’t cause them too much harm, I certainly wasn’t helping them. Lucky me, and lucky you, I’ve since found much better alternatives.

The problem with petroleum jelly is actually its selling point: it is cheap and effective.

Cheap: Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the petroleum manufacturing process. Yes, petroleum as in petrol. The raw materials in petroleum jelly (what you smear on your skin) were actually discovered on an oil rig in 1859 – it was found building up in the machinery. Nice.

Because petrolatum is derived from crude oil, it needs to be refined. Now, if refinement is done at a low-grade level, you risk having a product still containing the toxic chemicals found in oil – some which have been linked to cancer. As a customer, there is no way for you to know if your product contains a low-grade oil – and for many manufacturers of beauty products it is tempting to use the less expensive, lower grade oils. This is why brand trust is so important – get to know the company you buy your products from. And understand why the better option sometimes cost a little more – they have better ingredients! But, let me stop before I go off on a tangent.

Right, Effective: Vaseline is a highly effective barrier. It retains moisture and protects the skin by sitting right on top of your pores and stopping anything from getting in or out. It’s like wrapping your body in cling film – suffocating it. Your skin can’t breathe!

And the thing is, petroleum jelly has no nutritional value for your skin. Yes, it’s effective at at what it does, but that’s like being really hungry and eating junk food. Sure, the food has done its job of filling your belly, but it’s not going to nourish you.

If you want something that will protect the skin and retain its moisture, but also nourish it and let it breathe, make sure it’s made of plant-derived oils – which are rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins.

Here’s a yummy option available in Singapore:

Badger Baby Balm
(Bud Cosmetics $11.90)

Why it’s good: Made of extra virgin olive oil, natural beeswax and organic calendula oil – it’s infused with organic chamomile to to soothe sensitive skin. Good for adults too! Use it on any area that needs a little extra love.

even if you don’t use Vaseline, petroleum jelly can be found in a lot of products:

Watch out for: petroleum-based ingredients – petroleum jelly, petrolatum, mineral oil & paraffin

Substitute them with: bees wax, cocoa butter and vegetable oils

photo credit: 1

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