The notion that mineral oil and petrolatum (Vaseline) are bad for skin has been around for some time, with Aveda being the most visible company to mount a crusade deriding these ingredients. According to many companies that produce "natural" cosmetics, mineral oil and petrolatum are terrible ingredients because they come from crude oil (petroleum) and are used in industry as metal-cutting fluid (among other uses) and, therefore, can harm the skin by forming an oil film and suffocating it.
This foolish, recurring misinformation about mineral oil and petrolatum is maddening. After all, crude oil is as natural as any other earth-derived substance. Moreover, lots of ingredients are derived from awful-sounding sources but are nevertheless benign and totally safe. Salt is a perfect example. Common table salt is sodium chloride, composed of sodium and chloride, but salt doesn't have the caustic properties of chloride (a form of chlorine) or the unstable explosiveness of sodium. In fact, it is a completely different compound with the harmful properties of neither of its components. Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found
(Sources: Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46). Yes, they can keep air off the skin to some extent, but that's what a good antioxidant is supposed to do; they don't suffocate skin! Moreover, petrolatum and mineral oil are known for being efficacious in wound healing, and are also considered to be among the most effective moisturizing ingredients available (Source: Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33–40).
Mineral oil will not cause skin outbreaks, report claims
Related topics: Formulation & Science, Skin Care
A recent study shows that mineral oil, commonly used as a key ingredient in a variety of skin care and colored cosmetic products, does not cause facial breakouts, as previous studies had indicated, reports Simon Pitman.
The notion that mineral oils and petrolatum can be bad for the skin has been around for some time now. However, many leading skin care specialists, including Aveda, have campaigned hard to get the message over that such ingredients are not harmful to the skin.
The latest study, carried out by Pharma Cosmetix Research of Virginia and published in Blackwell's Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, points out that while industrial grade mineral oil may be comedogenic - a term used to describe cosmetics that cause blackheads and whiteheads - cosmetic grade mineral oil is not.
Such proponents have pointed out that mineral oil is considered one of safest and most natural skin moisturizers known to man, and is also one of the oldest basic cosmetic ingredients - having been used since early Roman times.
Based on this information, the researchers are claiming that mineral oil should rightfully be taken off the list of comedogenic substances. The list was developed many years ago, yet remains frequently quoted in dermatologic literature, the study findings emphasise.
Authored by Joe DiNirido, the report highlights the industry aims to develop skin care products using ingredients that cause such breakouts. However, with mineral oil currently on the list of comodgenic ingredients, it is often needlessly left out of cosmetic formulations.
In the article DiNirido demonstrates how mineral oil can be safely used in cosmetics products, demonstrated by testing final formulations that contain mineral oil in standard human comedogenic assays.
Volunteers tested a formulation containing cosmetic grade mineral oil tested on their upper back over a period of several weeks. A microscope slide containing cyanoacylate glue was then applied to the test area and viewed under a microscope.
DiNirido says that the results of the test proved, categorically, that the cosmetic grade mineral oil was not comedogenic. The article then goes on to explain that more accurate testing has helped to produce these results, proving that cosmetic grade mineral oil should become a noncomedogenic ingredient.
Previous studies have claimed that mineral oils, derived from crude oil and often used for in industry for jobs such as metal-cutting and to keep machinery lubricated, can be harmful to the skin because it forms a thin film that suffocates the skin, leading to blocked pores and unsightly rashes or pimples.
However, for years, proponents of mineral oil for cosmetic purposes have been defending it by saying it is a naturally derived substance that only helps to protect and moisturize the skin. The results of this study might suggest they were right.