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Mineral Oil: The Good, The Bad, And The Fact

Updated on June 13, 2011

For many years, baby oil has been a favorite skin care product by women. Baby oil is pure mineral oil with fragrance added. It is an easy and effective makeup remover, and many women use it to remove makeup because it is a much gentler and effective way than using soap and water alone.

However, with the expanding cosmetics industry, advertisements of natural and organic cosmetic products that don’t use it discourage consumers from using mineral oil.

Other Names for Mineral Oil

· Liquid petroleum

· Liquidum paraffinum

· Petrolatum

· Paraffin oil

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The Good…

Mineral oil is a clear and odorless oil-based substance that has been purified and distilled for it to be safe on skin. Mineral oil is widely used by the cosmetics industry as one of its additive in their product. Cosmetic products that use it are usually products that provide hydration to the skin like moisturizers and lotions.

Many cosmetic products use mineral oil because it doesn’t cause allergies and it cannot become a solid even in cold temperatures. It’s supposed to be good if it cannot become a solid because it means that it wouldn’t be trapped in your skin. Aside from that, it has been found that mineral oil can help in wound healing to some extent and is effective in moisturizing and hydrating the skin.


The Bad…

Due to the increasing competition in the cosmetics industry, consumers are led to believe that mineral oil creates skin problems and that they are carcinogens (substances that cause cancer) to discourage consumers to use products with mineral oil in it. And to make things worse, mineral oil is called by other names also and some cosmetics companies list it in its different name. Some consumers suspect that companies call it by other names as an attempt to mask its harmful ingredients. We don’t really know the reason for companies to use other names for it. It could be that there are slight differences in its chemical composition.

One of the downsides of mineral oil is that it can cause acne in acne-prone skin. So if you have an acne-prone skin which means that you have an excessively oily skin, do avoid the use of certain products that have a high percentage of mineral oil in it as it can further aggravate your skin.


… And The Fact

Mineral oil is a product that is derived from petroleum. Petroleum is a crude oil taken from underneath the earth. Its end-products consist of many products like gasoline, LPGs, lubricating oils for engines, raw materials used for plastics, tin cans, some textiles, and many other products.

However, while mineral oil may have come from petroleum, its process of purification and distillation is much more refined than that in the above mentioned raw products. The end-product of cosmetics-grade mineral oil is nothing like the crude oil it came from or the slightly processed fuel oils. And while it is true that mineral oil may be a comedogenic product (capable of blocking pores and causing acne). Many natural substances like coconut oil and cocoa butter are as highly comedogenic, if not more so.


Proper Care and Maintenance of Skin

When looking for products, it is more sensible to choose products that work well on your skin and not based on whether it has mineral oil or not. Most cosmetics products will one way or another contain mineral oil. If you try to stay away from each one of them, you probably will never have to use any cosmetic product again. Even some cosmetic products that put in natural ingredients still use mineral oil as an additive.

People with acne-prone skin should look for products that are labeled as non-comedogenic. Some of them might still contain mineral oil but if they are well formulated by cosmetics companies, it is still more than likely that their claims can be trusted. Besides, if mineral oil is formulated with other non-comedogenic ingredients, the products will still be non-comedogenic because mineral oil on its own does not clog pores. Mineral oil only causes acne when it is formulated with other comedogenic substances. Awareness of your skin condition should be maintained if you are going to properly care for your skin. And again, don’t look for products that claim to be free of mineral oil but look for products that work best on your skin.

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    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 5 years ago

      I have the feeling that this is only for ladies. So I shall leave without making any comments! :)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Uhm... I think you've already made a comment, Quicksand. :)

      Actually, this is not just for ladies, some men products also have mineral oil in them. Men also use moisturizers, lotions and soaps, right? Some of these products have mineral oil in them.

      Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy using your cosmetic products with lots of mineral oil. :D

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 5 years ago

      The only "cosmetics" this man uses is shaving foam, and water!

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Uhm, you don't use soap? :P Anyway, most soaps don't really have 'em, but moisturizing soaps have 'em. :)

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 5 years ago

      I do, I do! ... I do use soap, but soap is not a cosmetic, right?

      Soap, along with that great moisturiser called water washes away my sins too! :lol:

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      I would have to say yes, I would consider soap as cosmetic because it is still a body care product, regardless of what health authorites have to say about 'em. For me, a body care product is cosmetic. Why should we make things complicated when they can be explained simply. :O

      lol. You must be pretty clean right now, without all those sins. :P

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 5 years ago

      Sure BeatsMe! I am free of all sins now! In fact I am collecting stones! Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone! Show me a good target!

      :)

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      The wall! lol.

    • profile image

      Multiman 5 years ago

      Voted up, I also hear Dr Oz says it can be poured into the ears to remove ear wax.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Hi Multiman, I don't know about that and I wouldn't dare do that. But thanks for letting me know.

      Thanks for reading and for the vote up. :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I think that all the cosmetics and skin products one day will prove to be quite dangerous, look back at the 18th century when the ladies used lead on their faces! yuck! lol I had to laugh at quicksands comments, now I know why he's called quicksand, everytime he opens his mouth he sinks even deeper! hee hee

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Hi Nell, I hope not. We are so dependent on skin care products I don't think we'll live nicely without 'em. :) Anyway, almost every skin products I look have some ingredients that are not favorable, at least, from what I've been reading online. And it's impossible to avoid them 'coz they're present in almost every product. I'm beginning to doubt if it's really the products that are dangerous or the bloggers who say they are. :D

      I'll be very afraid of Quicksand 'coz we just might sink deeper and deeper. lol.

    • profile image

      Stace :P 5 years ago

      I do use it on my face is that a bad thing I mean I tend to have dry skin on my face so I use it there.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 5 years ago

      Hi Stace :P, I think you know the answer. If the product you use improves your skin, it should be good. If it hurts your skin, then stop using it.

      Thanks for dropping by and for sharing your regimen. :)

    • profile image

      Mia 4 years ago

      Mineral oil is a dead oil that has no benefit for skin. I actually don't mind if it causes health problems or not, I don't think I would like to slather petroleum on my skin, refined or not. And tell me why should I choose mineral oil instead of a vitamin E-rich sweet almond oil or trans retinoic acid-rich rosehip oil?

      What bothers me most, is that cosmetic companies claim their moisturizers are the best thing on earth when they're just based on a petrochemical that does nothing for the skin but coating it with a film that when disappears, the skin returns to the same dry and undernourished state. Thanks, but I will remain with shea and mango butters and sweet almond and rosehip oils to care of my skin, that they really provide something to my skin, not like mineral oil.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 4 years ago

      Hi Mia, thanks for sharing. Actually, I've noticed that even if you choose lotions with shea butter, etc. They still contain mineral oil because a lotion or a moisturizer cannot be formed without it.

      Thanks for stopping by, for reading and for leaving an insightful comment. Cheers.

    • profile image

      sara 4 years ago

      there are plenty of good products out there with no mineral oil ! try Whole Foods selection is wide and plenty of cheap alternatives 365 Brand

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 4 years ago

      Hi Sara, thanks for the additional info. Thanks also for dropping by and for leaving an informative comment. :)

    • toomuchmint profile image

      toomuchmint 4 years ago

      Thanks for a very informative hub, BeatsMe. Mineral oil is the high fructose corn syrup of cosmetic items - it's cheap to produce and it's in pretty much everything.

      These days, mineral oil has a bad rap, but you hit on one of the main benefits: it's hypo-allergenic. Another benefit? It's completely clear.

      Many cheap food-grade oils oxidize and stain clothing. Products that claim to be based on these oils are really the same old mineral oil lotions supplemented with a small amount of olive or other oils.

      Coconut oil is a great alternative, but it's much more expensive and harder to find.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 4 years ago

      Hi Toomuchmint. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for sharing additional information regarding mineral oil. Cheers.

    • profile image

      joe 4 years ago

      lead is still used in most lipsticks in the U.S. it is very sad

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 4 years ago

      Hi Joe, thanks for leaving additional info. :)

    • cathie bridges profile image

      Hamza Arshad 4 years ago from Pakistan

      great effort and work by you.really informative for mee

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 4 years ago

      Hi Cathie, thanks for dropping by. :)

    • profile image

      Alami Musafir 3 years ago

      This is by far, the most cogent article on the issue of mineral oil on the human skin, that I have found on the Web. Well done BeatsMe ! And thank you.

    • BeatsMe profile image
      Author

      BeatsMe 3 years ago

      Hi Alami, thanks for dropping by and for leaving nice comment. :)

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