Petrochemicals

I admit it. I’m a Vaseline Junkie. It sits on my night stand as a permanent fixture; I don’t even bother putting it in my drawer anymore. 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 woundn’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 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 want 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. 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 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.

The jar of Vaseline still sits on my night stand as I write this, but I am determined to someday find an alternative for my chapped lips. As for my skin, it gets softer by the day thanks to Arbonne 🙂

Nature itself is the best physician.

-Hippocrates

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