Sign up to newsletter


What to avoid in cosmetics? Petrolatum is among our concern

Petrolatum, or petroleum jelly, derived from petroleum, is often used in personal care products as a moisturizing agent. When properly refined, petrolatum has no known health concerns. However, petrolatum is often not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

FOUND IN: Lotions, Cosmetics

WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON THE LABEL: Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil and White Petrolatum (refined and safe for use).

WHAT IS PETROLATUM: Petrolatum is a byproduct of petroleum refining. With a melting point close to body temperature, petrolatum softens upon application and forms a water-repellant film around the applied area, creating an effective barrier against the evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and foreign particles or microorganisms that may cause infection. Petrolatum is odorless and colorless, and it has an inherently long shelf life. These qualities make petrolatum a popular ingredient in skincare products and cosmetics.

When properly refined, petrolatum has no known health concerns. However, with an incomplete refining history, petrolatum could potentially be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. PAHs are byproducts of organic material combustion, commonly stored in fats upon exposure due to its lipophilic properties. There is no way to confirm proper refinement unless a complete refining history is provided.

HEALTH CONCERN: Cancer. The primary concern with petrolatum is the potential contamination with PAHs. The National Toxicology Program (NTP) considers PAHs as a class to contain reasonably anticipated carcinogens; the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists 14 PAHs as probable or possible carcinogens and one PAH as a known carcinogen. A study on Long Island, NY, found that those women with high levels of PAH-DNA adducts had a 50 percent greater risk of breast cancer.The formation of PAH-DNA adducts, an indicator of PAH exposure, is linked to cancer development.

OTHER SKIN CONCERNS: Petrolatum creates a barrier over the skin, which inhibits the penetration of active ingredients in serums and anti-ageing products. It also blocks pores and leads to clogged dull skin and breakouts. Finally, it’s barrier effect can prevent some types of makeup from staying on the skin.Mineral-Oil-Petrolatum-Products1

– See more at:

Aways check the ingredients list when you buy your cosmetics – even when the package includes words such as “bio”, “eco”, “organic” these might be just marketing. Be conscious customer!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *