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Also-called-like-this: Petroleum jelly, Vaseline
What-it-does: emollient


The famous Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly. Just like mineral oil, it is also a by-product of refining crude oil, aka petroleum, and it is also a mixture of hydrocarbons but with bigger (C18-90+) carbon chain length.

The unique thing about petrolatum is that it is the most effective occlusive agent known today. While the occlusivity of mineral oil is in the same league as the occlusivity of plant oils, petrolatum is in a league of its own. It sits on top of the skin and hinders so-called transepidermal water loss (TEWL) like nothing else.

This comes in handy healing cracked lips or severely dry skin patches, though overdoing it (i.e. reducing TEWL by more than 40%) is not good as it can create a nice moist place for fungi and bacteria to grow.  

As for petrolatum and safety, we can write here pretty much the exact same thing as we have written at mineral oil. There is no evidence whatsoever that cosmetic, USP grade petrolatum is carcinogenic. It also does not absorb into the skin but sits on top of it and that in itself greatly minimises health risks. It also has a long history of safe use, as it was first used as a skincare product more than 100 years ago, in 1872 to be precise. 

It is also non-comedogenic, though its pure form is very heavy and greasy so combination and oily skin types might want to avoid it anyway. 

Overall, it is the gold-standard occlusive agent known today and a tub of Vaseline comes in handy in any household to heal cracked lips or other severely dry skin patches.

Show me some proof

  • Petry, T., et al. "Review of data on the dermal penetration of mineral oils and waxes used in cosmetic applications." Toxicology Letters 280 (2017): 70-78.
  • Leslie Baumann, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology, 2nd edition, Occlusives - pages 273-274
  • Rawlings, A. V., and K. J. Lombard. "A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil." International journal of cosmetic science 34.6 (2012): 511-518.

Products with Petrolatum

2NDESIGN First Lip Balm Restore & Soothing A'pieu Honey & Milk Lip Balm A+D Original Ointment ACO Lip Cerat ACO Sun Lips Moisturising Balm SPF 30 ALIA Colour Lip Balm - Peach Abtei Wundheil Zinksalbe Abtei Wundheil Zinksalbe Adcock Ingram Sbr Repair Aesthetics Rx H2O Bio Lipid Balm Afrodita Sun Care Marmelada Express Tanning Jam Alastin Soothe + Protect Recovery Balm Alcina Facial Cream Fennel Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment- Aquaphor Baby Healing Balm Stick Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment Aquaphor Healing Balm Stick Aquaphor Lip Protectant + Sunscreen Aroma Mediko Ideal Atrimed Sorion Herbal Cream Australian Gold Lip Balm SPF 30 Australian Gold Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30 Aveeno Baby Soothing Multi-purpose Ointment Avon Care Nourishing Lip Butter With Cocoa Butter Avon Naturals Green Olive Essential Balm Avon Naturals Honey Essential Balm With Beeswax BHI Beauty Sunscreen Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 70 Pa++++ Babaria Protector Labial Aloe Vera Spf 30 Bag Balm Original Skin Moisturiser Bag Balm Skin Moisturizer With Aloe Vera Bakson's Sunny Herbals Lip Balm Balea Melkfett Marigold Cream Balea Vaseline Balmex Healing Ointment Baxter of California Clay Pomade Be Minimalist Lip Balm SPF 30 Beausta Cicarecipe Multi Balm Beauty Bay Sheer Tinted Lip Balm Cherry Beauty Bay Sheer Tinted Lip Balm Coconut & Vanilla Beauty Bay Sheer Tinted Lip Balm Strawberry Bebak Ac─▒ Badem Kremi Benefit Boi-ing Brightening Concealer Bielenda Lip Balm Bubble Gum Biobaza Protective Baby Cream For Nappy Change Biome Renew Postbiotic Enriched Cream Biome Renew Postbiotic Ointment Biome Renew Postbiotic Scar Treatment Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner SPF 15 Blistex Dct Lip Moisturizer Blistex Simple And Sensitive