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mineral oil

Clear, odorless oil derived from petroleum that is widely used in cosmetics. Despite mineral oil’s association with petroleum and the hype that it’s bad for or ages skin, keep in mind that petroleum is a natural ingredient derived from the earth. Once it’s purified to become mineral oil USP (cosmetics- and pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil), it has no resemblance to the original petroleum and isn’t a source of contaminants.

Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most non-sensitizing moisturizing ingredients ever found. Mineral oil and petrolatum are known to be efficacious in skin replenishing and are also among the most effective, established moisturizing ingredients available. 

The mineral oil in skincare products is certified as either USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or BP (British Pharmacopeia). It’s completely safe, soothing, non-sensitizing, and perfectly beneficial for skin.

References for this information:

International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2012, issue 6, pages 511-518

International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2007, issue 5, pages 385-390

European Journal of Ophthalmology, 2007, issue 2, pages 151-159

Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 1996, issue 2, pages 213-215

See petrolatum

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!