Mineral Oil Definition: Noun: a distillation product of petroleum, especially one used as a lubricant, moisturizer, or laxative.
The Debate: Is mineral oil safe for the skin?
Finding the answer can be confusing. Some say yes. Some say no. We do our research and...
We say NO.
Mineral oil is petroleum based and offers no nutritious benefits to the skin. It might be ‘considered’ safe but that is not a solid reason to use it. What does ‘safe' truly mean and who decides? If the skin is a living organ it should be well fed... Petroleum is not a good food for the skin.
Back in 2003, Paula Begoun wrote a mammoth 1300 page book ‘Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me’. The book is a reference for companies and their product lines. Kudos for being well researched, extensive, informative. Yet, there are many things with which I disagree. For example, chemical sunscreen for babies and the use of mineral oil. I will concentrate on the later. Begoun is in favour of mineral oil. In her review she writes “Mineral oil is an exceptional ingredient for dry skin and its demise in skin care products would be sad to see.” Begoun is referring to the fact that companies were starting to sell skin care as ‘mineral free’. People had begun questioning the use of petroleum on the skin. Others argued that many grandmothers swore by Vaseline and had no wrinkles. In her book, Begoun totes the positive properties of mineral oil and felt it a shame we might be swayed from using products with mineral oil.
I wonder if Begoun would still agree now, 15 years later, with updated information on mineral oil.
Mineral oils, like Vaseline pretty much sit on the skin, preventing moisture loss. Proponents of Vaseline interpret this as ‘Vaseline does not dry out the skin.” Seriously?
Since Begoun’s research, new studies have indicated that some mineral oils may actually contain toxins. The oil itself is not metabolized so the toxins remain. This oil has also been shown to clog the pores (earlier beliefs said it did not). In blocking the pores the skin’s natural respiration is affected. This can aggravate acne, pimples, blackheads. It is a known fact that there is nothing beneficial nutritionally in mineral oil on the skin.
Whether or not it is a carcinogen is still under study. Why take the risk? We have so many better choices today. Good heathy oils, from plant leaves, barks, nuts, flowers. When people ask us, “Has this product been dermatologically approved?” My response,“Not dermatolocially tested, but tested yes. And extensively, over centuries.” I explain that it is not always in certain profession's best interest to study natural products. Too costly. Mineral oil, for example, is cheap to produce, so why not market a product where the profit is good. It was our ancestors who weeded out any potentially poisonous ones for us, discouvered and devised the perfect solutions to cleanse, moisturize, protect and heal the skin. Yes, they have been tested over centuries. Not in a lab. But in and from nature itself. On us, successfully.