The most popular brand name Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is well-known for its many uses. Just as its name suggested, it is derived from petroleum. This product has not changed much since Robert Augustus Chesebrough discovered it in 1859. Vaseline is originally found coating the bottom of oil rigs; it’s a byproduct of the oil industry. Chesebrough noticed that oil workers would use this gooey jelly to heal their wounds and burns, he eventually packaged this jelly as Vaseline.
Before being refined, it contains carcinogens that can be harmful to your health or even cause cancer. However, if the refinement process meets FDA standards, whereby it supposed to remove all the carcinogens thoroughly from the product, it is regarded safe enough to be used in beauty and health products, or on its own.
But is this trusty petroleum jelly a “cure-all”? More importantly, is it as harmless as you think? It is understandable that people might still be nervous about using the product even with FDA standards, refinement, and purification.
Why Is It Potentially Harmful?
As it is an inexpensive product and often give you an immediate feeling of hydrated skin. It is water-repellent, not water-soluble. As a mineral oil, it seals the barrier, preventing moisture from leaving the skin. It does not moisturize but only good at holding in moisture. It is like placing plastic over your skin and prevent moisture from evaporating. This may suffocate your skin and cause your pores to clog. And because of its thick texture, make it difficult to cleanse from your face so avoid using Vaseline on an unwashed face to prevent breakouts.
Vaseline says on its website that its product is non-comedogenic, which means that the product does not itself block pores. Everyone is different, and your skin may react differently to Vaseline or other petroleum jellies. Before you commit to the regimen, it is important to see how your skin reacts to it.
It is good if you clean your face with soap and you remove natural oils, petroleum jelly can repair the barrier if used properly. You don’t have to avoid or stop using such a product, just opt for more natural alternatives and check ingredients. Products containing beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter and cocoa butter seal in moisture and do not come with the risks of petroleum jelly. Good news is, you can also make your own! It is an all-natural version with only two simple ingredients, and you can use the same ways of using a normal Vaseline.
Homemade Vaseline (Petroleum-Free Jelly)
- Combine beeswax and oil in a small glass jar or bowl. Place the container over (or into) a small pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the ingredients have melted and combined.
- Pour the melted oil and beeswax mixture into a small container with a lid. Allow the mixture to cool completely, then use as needed
The finished product has a texture that’s similar to regular petroleum jelly, but has the added benefits of all-natural ingredients. Beeswax has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help treat minor cuts and burns. And olive oil is very moisturizing to skin, and contains plenty of beneficial antioxidants too.
Benefits And Uses of Petroleum Jelly
1. Make your eyelashes grow by putting a coat on your lashes before bed. It can also use as mascara, apply it with your fingers on your eyelashes. It goes on clear and still gives your lashes volume.
2. Preserve perfume scents by applying some jelly to the points where you spray your perfume, then spray your perfume on top of it.
3. Heal minor skin scrapes and burns but make sure that the surface you apply petroleum jelly on is properly cleaned and disinfected. Otherwise, bacteria and other pathogens can get trapped inside and delay the healing process.
4. Soften dry, chapped feet and hands by soaking your feet in warm water with some salt added to it. Towel-dry thoroughly and apply petroleum jelly and wear a pair of clean cotton socks after that.
5. It can be used to make a custom lipstick color of your choice by making a pasty substance and apply it to your lips. It can make your matte lipstick shiny. Mix some of your lipstick with a dab of jelly on and apply it with a lip brush.
6. It can be used to heal wind-burned skin by applying a thin layer to wherever you have been chapped.
7. It can be used as an exfoliator. Just mix jelly with a bit of sugar or sea salt and scrub away! You can do also exfoliate your lip by leaving the jelly for a few minutes and scrub the lips with a toothbrush and wipe off.
8. Soothing shoe blisters, just smear a little bit of the jelly on the part of the shoes that rub against your foot.
9. It reduces the look of split ends and adds shine to your hair. Rub a small amount of jelly between your palms and apply to hair ends.
10. Petroleum jelly has been shown to reduce the incidence of diaper rash in babies. Clean and towel-dry your little one’s skin properly before applying. It will form a protective barrier that will help protect the skin from constant exposure to moisture.
Some people develop allergies when they use petroleum-derived products. Always keep an eye on irritations or any adverse reaction when using the jelly. Remember to keep the area dry and clean before application of the jelly, as not to take the risk of any fungal or bacterial infection. It is not recommended to use petroleum jelly near the nose, especially children. Inhaling mineral oils may cause aspiration pneumonia. Some people may break out when using petroleum jelly. Make sure you clean the skin properly before you apply the jelly to reduce the risk of breakouts else never use as a form of face moisturizer.
Whether you make your own, buy an alternative, or still prefer to have a big tub of Vaseline, it should be for external use only. If you are not making your own, there may be small variations in consistency, smoothness, or even fragrance with Vaseline or other brands. It is good to read the ingredient label to make sure it is 100% petroleum jelly.
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