Petroleum in skincare. It is one of those buzz words in the skincare industry. No one wants to put the same ingredient on their skin as they put in their car. But what is it, really? And is it safe? I sought out to answer these questions as I started researching the ingredients in our own skincare products.
For years, moms have recommended using petroleum-based products on diaper rashes, sores, and chapped skin. In addition, there are many commercials pushing petroleum products with cute little babies that look happy. It is confusing. We know that protecting the skin to keep out the bad is good and necessary. But, are there any side effects? Here are the fast facts on Petroleum in skincare:
Petroleum Fast Facts
- Also known as Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, and Mineral Grease.
- What it is: A Hair and Skin Conditioning Agent, Skin Protectant and Emollient.
- It is an odorless and colorless substance with a long shelf life. This makes it ideal for commercial use.
- Petrolatum scores a 4 on the EWG Skin Deep Database (moderate safety hazard) due to concerns about organ system toxicity. The EWG Skin Deep Database is excellent and a reliable resource to learn about individual ingredients, and whole products and their safety.
- Often not fully refined in the US, Petrolatum can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are the byproduct of organic material combustion, a result of the refining process and a known carcinogen (may cause cancer). The US doesn’t require testing to ensure the refined product is free from PAHs and safe for use.
- Petrolatum and other petroleum products cause skin irritations and allergies. This is even without traces of PAHs in the product.
- In the EU, petrolatum in skincare can only be used if the full refining history is known and testing is done to show no carcinogens are present. The US has no regulations on petrolatum and its requirement to be tested for carcinogens.
Obviously, there are some serious potential health hazards associated with using petroleum products on our skin! While products containing petroleum may work, I am not comfortable with the potential side effects, especially on my babies. For this reason, I started my quest almost a decade ago to find safer alternatives for our skincare.
What You Can Do
I chose to make my own diaper and baby cream, and lip balm for our girls. Here are the other handcrafted skincare products we use. Instead of petroleum we use organic beeswax. This has given me peace of mind. Children are more sensitive than adults to products applied topically. I want to keep my kids safe by limiting their exposure to dangerous ingredients.
So, how can you know if the petroleum ingredient in your skincare is safe?
- First, look for fully refined petroleum. White Petroleum is fully refined. This may be on the ingredient label or the company website.
- Call or email the company. Companies that are proud of their safe products will have nothing to hide.
- Avoid products that do not use fully refined petroleum.
In conclusion, knowledge is power. Learning about the ingredients in your food, skincare, and household products is so important in keeping your family healthy. You have the power to keep your family safe from dangerous products. All you have to do is be willing to do a little research. A great site to check is www.ewg.org. They have guides for skincare products, sunscreens, home cleaning products and more. It takes the guesswork out of label reading. Go to the site, select the database you want, and enter the product you want to look up. You can take small steps to make a big difference for your family!