Petrolatum at a Glance
- One of the best ingredients for dry skin
- Highly purified before being used in cosmetics
- FDA-approved skin protectant
- Widely used in healthcare settings and applications
- Also known as petroleum jelly
Petrolatum is a rich emollient and FDA-approved skin protectant. It is one of the best ingredients for dry to very dry skin, including around the eyes. Although derived from crude oil (thus making petrolatum a natural ingredient), it is highly purified prior to being used in cosmetics, so there’s no risk of exposure to unwanted chemicals.
For some unknown and unsubstantiated reason (and despite solid research to the contrary), petrolatum has attained a negative image regarding skin. Topical application of petrolatum can help replenish, soothe, and beautifully moisturize skin’s outer layer. It’s widely considered safe and highly effective. Extensive clinical data has shown petrolatum to be a gentle ingredient.
Small amounts of petrolatum are commonly found in moisturizers, but you can also find products with 100% concentrations, such as Vaseline®.
PLoSOne, ePublication, September 2020
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2020, pages 1399-1403
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, April 2016, pages 1,091-1,102
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, May 2011, pages 531-537
Contact Dermatitis, June 2006, pages 338-343
Acta Dermato-Venereology, November-December 2000, issue 6, pages 412-415
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, November 2003, pages 890-901
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 1992, issue 3 part 2, pages 387-396
See mineral oil
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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:
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!