Petroleum jelly, also known as petrolatum, is an odorless, tasteless semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons recognized by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as an approved over-the-counter skin protectant. It is widely used in the cosmetic skincare industry found in more that half of all skincare products sold today. Not to be confused with industrial grade petrolatum, which may contain pore-clogging impurities, well-manufactured cosmetic grade petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic (does not block pores) and is not a skin irritant.
Petroleum jelly is the gold standard moisturizer as it reduces water loss through the skin by 98% creating an environment conducive for skin healing. In skincare formulations, it serves as an occlusive ingredient, one that physically prevents water loss from the skin surface.
Due to its lubricating and coating properties, petroleum jelly can be used to:
- Soothe dry cracked skin on problematic areas like elbows and knees
- Soften dry cracked heels
- Heal chapped lips
- Calm inflamed eyelids
- Protect skin around the nose when chaffed from wind or from over blowing the nose due to a cold
- Help earring insertion by applying to earring posts
- Prevent windburn on cheeks
- Improve nail health by rubbing onto nails and around nail cuticles
- Tame runaway eyebrows
- Assist in hair grooming
- Prevent inflammation in areas that may chafe by reducing friction between skin and clothing during exercise for cyclists, wrestlers, runners and other athletes
- Enhance wound repair when applied to superficial cuts and lacerations
- Treat diaper rash
- And, used as a negative control by allergists and dermatologists for allergy testing as the allergic reaction rate of petroleum jelly is practically zero
Cometic grade petroleum jelly is available in local drugstores and pharmacies and is extremely affordable. A jar of petroleum jelly should be in everyone's bathroom vanity.