What is petroleum jelly? You can find it in every drug store, gas station, hospital, and at one time, almost every house in the United States. Usually gooped from a tub and onto one’s skin, petroleum jelly is used for a wide variety of skin and body ailments ranging from eczema, calluses, sores, and overall dry skin. The thick, slick coating petroleum provides your skin may give the illusion of protection, but this product is actually extremely unregulated (in the US) and historically comes from one of the most environmentally harmful industries on the planet. Below are some facts you should consider before using another goop on your skin:
Petroleum jelly is a by-product of the oil industry.
Petroleum jelly was discovered in the 1800’s on an oil rig, when the substance would collect on the equipment extracting the oil from the ground. Someone noticed the substance provided a waxy barrier on equipment (and later skin!), and began to use it to treat scrapes and burns. However, the oil and fossil fuel industries are some of the most environmentally dangerous industries in the world, and you are essentially aiding in that industry with you lather on petroleum by-product.
Petroleum jelly is water-resistant; thus not allowing for any true skin moisturizing.
Petroleum jelly is widely used as a moisturizing agent, and provides as much because it traps moisture under it’s thick layer. However, petroleum is hydrophobic, and fresh exposure to air or clean water is virtually impossible. This often leads to yeast and fungal infections when used on babies and women.
There may be carcinogens present in your petroleum jelly.
The Environmental Working Group ranked petroleum jelly as having a very high risk of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) contamination. These are organic compounds derived from the burning of coal and fossil fuels that have been shown to be carcinogenic and cancer-causing. While petroleum jelly is often a highly refined final product in the European Union, the United States does not currently have any regulation requiring companies to disclose the refining history and carcinogenic compound of this product.
Petroleum jelly does not provide any natural health benefits.
If you are using petroleum jelly to heal wounds, scrapes, or burns, you’re better off throwing it in the trash. Petroleum only adds a barrier to the skin from air and water, and does not contain any naturally healing properties. In fact, if the skin is not properly cleaned prior to application, then infections often occur.
5 Products Made with Petroleum or Petroleum Derivatives:
Simple Swap Suggestion?
Clary All Purpose Balm is packed with an abundance of healing properties attributed from the slow herbal infusions in olive oil. Both the oil and herbs are certified USDA Organic, and afford a mix of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds, and essential fatty acids.
The waxy substance is derived from Certified USDA Organic un-bleached beeswax, that affords a safer protective barrier than petroleum.
What better way to treat dry skin, scrapes, bug bites, or burns than with a safe, natural solution to an unregulated, harmful, fossil fuel by-product?