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Okay, they kinda rhyme, but that’s not where we’re heading. Have you read the ingredient list on a jar of Vaseline? ‘100% Pure Petroleum Jelly’. Petroleum, like what we also turn into . . . yup, you know where this is going!
Why did we start using petroleum on top of our bodies and how did they ever market it as being good for eczema and tender baby bottoms you might ask? Back in the 1800s workers on oil rigging platforms discovered that if they smeared the residue found in the bottom of the wells onto their skin it helped to lubricate it. A light bulb went on over someone’s head and a new product was born! Vaseline quickly became a household name. But petroleum jelly is far more pervasive than the blue tub. It’s in everything!
Petrolatum is found in lipstick, lotion, soap, body wash, sunscreen, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, concealer, eye shadow, hair gel, shaving cream and countless products marketed for babies. It’s even found in ‘therapeutic’ products to treat rashes, wounds, eczema and acne.
What's Wrong with Petrolatum?
Bad for the planet - It’s derived from a non-renewable resource, crude oil.
Bad for skin - Vaseline and similar products block your pores. It might feel nice and smooth but by blocking your skin’s ability to breathe and draw moisture out of the air, it’s actually drying your pores. This can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema, rosacea and acne. Blocking pores means we’re sealing in the dirt! This is also bad for baby bottoms because we’re sealing in bacteria and yeast that aggravate diaper rashes.
Bad for health? - Wondering how oil rig gunk gets turned into a safe product? In order to ‘purify’ the oil, manufacturers have to refine it using carcinogenic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In order to remove potential contamination, petroleum jelly has to be highly refined and is then graded according to how ‘clean’ the end product is. This is why the Environmental Working Group has given it a ‘moderate hazard’ rating and why the European Union has listed low scoring grades of petrolatum as dangerous substances. In Canada, cosmetics must meet the standards set by the United States Pharmacopeia. While Vaseline asserts it meets the highest purity standards, why use a product or support an ingredient that requires such intensive refining to make it non-toxic?
All-Natural DIY Goodness
There are so many wonderful all-natural alternatives to using petrolatum-containing products. One great place to start is to nourish your skin from the inside so we’re less prone to skin conditions, check out Joy’s post for great tips.
If you’re looking for something to replace Vaseline, here’s an easy DIY salve - Naturaline, hmm, Vaseclean. Maybe you’re better with the rhyming than I am!
*Suggest buying certified organic sunflower oil in a dark glass bottle. Avoid clear plastic bottles of sunflower oil because it's likely already rancid.
What have you found to be most helpful to alleviate dry skin?
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I was so excited to read your post! I took Kathrin's class last October right before having my first child. Her all natural baby recipes are awesome and I still use them today. I would recommend any momma to go check her out. It's a super fun hands on class and you get to make your products (and take tgem home) righ there!Reply
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I was so excited to read your post! I took Kathrin's class last October right before having my first child. Her all natural baby recipes are awesome and I still use them today. I would recommend any momma to go check her out. It's a super fun hands on class and you get to make your products (and take them home) righ there!Reply
I would fact check this article/blog. Vaseline has been proven to NOT block pores. You are correct about it blocking moisture from the air though. Additionally, the carcinogenic you mentioned is only found in some very low grade petrolatums. Name brand Vaseline consistently meets standards on this. Lastly, sunflower/coconut/jojoba/etc oil require farming massive amounts of land, and water. It may be more environmentally friendly to weigh options.Reply
Exactly. Make sure you do your research too as many natural ingredients can cause irritation (I’m allergic to beeswax). Vaseline is highly refined, designed for cosmetic use and has been recommended by dermatologists for years as an occlusive, moisture retaining product.
Hi Joy, I am looking to make a shampoo for my baby that is tear free. Any suggestions? Dr. Bonner’s is not tear free.Reply
Hey DeLinda, We don't have a recipe for a tear-free shampoo but Joy will occasionally use Green Beaver's Junior Shampoo for Vienna which is tear-free: http://boutique.greenbeaver.com/products/hair-care/junior-beaver-gentle-shampoo Rachel - Joyous Health Team
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer, and lanolin is a natural alternative to petroleum. Also Vitamin e oil or lotion is great for dry skin. Rosehip seed oil. Jojoba oil. So many better options.Reply
Coconut oil is very comedogenic for the face, as amazing as it is for the body which means it clogs pores so I would say away from that. I LOOOOVE rosehip oil and we have it in our new skincare -- Hella Hydrating serum: https://shopjoyoushealth.com/skincare/