Petroleum Jelly - Our Verdict
Posted on October 18 2015
There is probably not one person reading this that has not at least one time in their life used Vaseline or Papaw Cream - main ingredient being Petroleum Jelly.
What is Petroleum Jelly(PJ)?
Petroleum jelly is a derivative/by-product of oil refining. Originally found coating the bottom of oil rigs in the mid-1800s, it's a byproduct of the oil industry. We have been using it forever to cure dehydration, nappy rash, eczema, flakey skin etc.
So, whats the problem?
I suppose the problem is ignorance and the lack of self-education. Have we really studied what we are putting on our skin, on our lips, near our eyes, on our babies? The answer - probably not as much as we had hoped so.
The real problem however, is the "Feel Good" effect of petroleum jelly on our skins. Thats right - it feels freaking great!!! Try putting some vaseline on those dry lips and tell me it doesn't instantly feel amazing. It instantly relieves us of our dryness and we somehow feel like super-heros. Ok, now have a think of how reliant (perhaps addicted is more apt here) you have become to that little tub or little red tube. Do you carry it everywhere? You never leave the house without it? You will turn your car around if you do not have it? Now if you have answered "YES" to any one of those questions you are officially and a PJ Addict aka PJA (yes I made that up). Oh and by the ways, I am an Ex PJA :(
Now that I have established that you are a PJA, have a think of how often you apply your PJ? Every 15 minutes, 30 minutes? Have people now associated you with being that person you always has super glossy lips? There is a reason you are always applying your PJ - its because you NEED to. PJ does not repair your lips, it is just a barrier and thats why you need to keep applying because you have not repaired anything, you have simply and temporarily relieved the problem.
Now here comes the bad news:
- It does nothing to relief the dryness or repair the skin. It only acts as an artificial barrier.
- It forms a seal over the pores of the skin that disrupts the body’s ability to eliminate toxins, dirt and contaminants, which would otherwise pass through those pores and exit the skin.
- Accelerates aging - slows cellular regeneration and can damage collagen
- Can cause acne since it blocks pores
The really really bad news:
- PJ is its pure form is fine but making sure it is completely pure is very difficult. Found in unsure PJ is Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and this has been linked to cancer.
- There are no refinement regulations for PJ in most parts of the world
- Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what we put on our skins and that goes into our bloodstreams including PAH.
- A study done by Columbia University indicates that breast tissue of women with breast cancer were 2.6 times more likely to have increased amounts of PAHs attached to their DNA than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer. Thats a pretty clear link if you ask me.
There is some good news, in fact great news at the back of all of this but it only begins once you throw, yes literally throw, all that PJ stuff in your house out. By PJ I mean, all those lipsticks, body balms, baby buttom creams etc... OUT OUT OUT. Alternatively, you may choose to grease your door hinges with your PJ - it stops the creaking... I promise :)
The GREAT news is that there are many alternatives and direct substitutes to PJ. Think olive oil, almond oil, beeswax, avocado oil and shea butter. None of these have been linked to cancer or anything bad for you. Also, having olive oil absorbed into your skin and into your bloodstream is not a bad thing at all since it is so high in vitamin E, antioxidants, does not clog your skin and promotes collagen generation (complete opposite of PJ). Make the switch to natural and safe skincare.