I’ve been using Vaseline since I was a little girl with severely chapped hands and lips. It worked miracles on my hands and was the only thing that wouldn’t make them sting. Vaseline certainly has its place in the world, but recently I’ve been hearing a lot about “petrochemical-free” products, and I wanted to learn more about them.
Products such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil are byproducts of petroleum (gasoline) refinement. It’s true they come from petroleum, but they are highly refined and are considered “safe” for use on our skin and even in our food products. While I like that they come from the earth, I definitely wanted to learn more about the refinement process and what exactly that means. On the upside, they don’t cause irritation to the vast majority of the population, don’t spoil, and are used by surgeons after closing up stitches. They provide a waterproof barrier to chapped or chafed skin to allow skin to heal beneath the barrier. As I said, they definitely have their place in the world.
My issue with petrochemical products is that they are used far too frequently as a base or additive for cosmetic moisturizers. They are abundant and cheap, can easily add substance to a moisturizer. Basically they are added to your skincare to make you think you are buying more than you are. As good as they are at protecting irritated skin, these products should never be used on fragile facial skin which has acne, rosacea, or other sensitivities. They will only aggravate your skin further and prevent it from breathing- basically they would trap any bacteria or irritants into your skin. Even though your skin might initially feel soft, the product won’t be absorbed into your skin, and the mineral oil can actually draw moisture out of your skin. With so many fantastic, plant based moisturizers out there full of antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories, is it surprising that major brands like CereVe continue to use petrochemicals? No. Petrochemicals are very inexpensive and as long as dermatologists continue to promote these brands, rosacea and acne sufferers will continue to use them, not knowing that there are so many other beneficial options out there.
Since learning about petrochemicals and toxins in general, I have switched all my skincare products to Arbonne, which is free of petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, colors, fragrance, or dyes. They are hypoallergenic, plant based, nonGMO, vegan, kosher, and cruelty free. I have never reacted to any of their products, and I don’t have to read labels when buying skincare, makeup or haircare because I know they already did the work for me.
For rosacea skin, I would suggest a high quality probiotic moisturizer which does not have petrochemicals. This does not mean buying a store-bought moisturizer with “Now with Probiotics!” listed on the label! These “beauty” companies spend more money on their advertising campaigns than on the actual product. It means spending a little more money upfront on a quality moisturizer that is not full of chemicals and will actually heal your skin because of all the natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. For my top choices for rosacea safe skincare, see Resources.
Nature itself is the best physician.