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Petrolatum

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

Details

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 Adcock Ingram Sbr Repair Alastin Soothe + Protect Recovery Balm Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment- Aquaphor Lip Protectant + Sunscreen Atrimed Sorion Herbal Cream 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 Babaria Protector Labial Aloe Vera Spf 30 Bag Balm Original Skin Moisturiser Bakson's Sunny Herbals Lip Balm Balea Melkfett Marigold Cream Balea Vaseline Bebak Acı Badem Kremi Benefit Boi-ing Brightening Concealer Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner SPF 15 Blistex Simple And Sensitive Blue Magic Originals Hair & Scalp Conditioner Castor Oil Bobbi Brown Corrector Bobbi Brown Lip Balm Spf15 ByRokko Shine Brown Byly farma Eficacia Desodorante Larga Duración C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve COSRX Lip Plump Refresh AHA BHA Vitamin C Lip Plumper COSRX Lip Sleep Propolis Lip Sleeping Mask CVS Petroleum Jelly Calduch Laboratorios Suavina Dermo Original Cantu Shea Butter Cantu Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil Caresse Summer Love Spf15 Argan & Olive Oil Carmex Cherry Moisturising Lip Balm Spf15 Carmex Original Tube Lipbalm Carmex Strawberry Moisturising Lip Balm CeraVe Baby Healing Ointment (Canada) CeraVe Healing Ointment CeraVe Healing Ointment Cetraben Cream Cetraben Ointment Chapstick Classic Skin Protectant | Original Chapstick Pink Lemonade (I Love Summer Collection) Chapstick Total Hydration Vitamin Enriched Lip Night Serum Chemist Confessions Balm Voyage Clarity Rx Healing Fine Post Procedure Ointment ClearChoice Laser Guard Clinique Moisture Surge Lip Clinique Moisture Surge™ Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment [CAN] Clinique Pep-Start Pout Restoring Night Mask