Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly

“The raw material for petroleum jelly was discovered in 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, United States, on some of the country's first oil rigs. Workers disliked the paraffin-like material forming on rigs because it caused them to malfunction, but they used it on cuts and burns because it hastened healing.” Wikipedia

As you can see from the above snippet of information petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) is made from crude oil.  It is a refined version of crude oil made by distilling the lighter, thinner oil from crude oil.

Mineral oil is liquid petroleum.  Paraffin oil is refined mineral oil.  Mineral oil is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum.

Both mineral oil and petroleum jelly have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in cosmetics and also for consumption.  You will find best before dates on bottles of Vaseline, Petroleum Jelly, Baby and Mineral Oils as well as Vix.  Use by dates on these products are more about sales rather than expiration.
For all intents and purposes crude oil would seem like a natural, thus biodegradable substance, however it essentially take years and years to break down and degrade, lasting for a very, very long time.  Notice how your Vix, Petroleum Jelly or Baby Oil hasn’t gone off even after years past its use by date.

We’ve all seen those disturbing pictures of poor animals being drenched in crude oil that is slowly suffocating and often killing them.  Mineral oil and petroleum oil (being made of the same substance as crude oil) is essentially doing the same thing to our skin upon application.  It coats our skin in a layer of non-biodegradable non-breathable oil.  In many cases products containing mineral oil cause acne by clogging pores and not allowing skin to breathe.

The point I’m getting at is when it comes to choosing mineral based oil products over natural vegetable oil based product it makes sense to choose the vegetable based product.  Especially when you consider your baby’s and children’s skin.  Even though a vegetable based product may not last you a life time the ingredients are considerably better for your skin.  Mineral oil products may ward off the elements by coating the skin in a layer of oil while vegetable oil is absorbed into the skin, hydrating and moisturising your skin from within.  Isn’t that more preferable?
mineral oil made from crude oil

the effects of crude oil on our eco system

vs natural vegetable based oil

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