Petroleum jelly is something that you are almost sure to find in every household. It has been in use since several decades. Petroleum jelly, for commercial purpose, is also sometimes referred to as petrolatum or mineral oil. It is not a cosmetic but a form of topical ointment.
People tend to use petroleum jelly for almost every minor to major skin issue - from dry, chapped skin to skin rashes and ulcers, petroleum jelly has found its usage everywhere. This is also used to treat bleeding nose and chest colds.
However, although this is sold widely and has gained utmost popularity among people of all ages, there are certain scientific studies that provide reason as to why petroleum jelly does not stand up to all the hype that it has gained.
Read on to know the top three reasons as to why using petroleum jelly on your skin can actually be harmful.
Why you should not use petroleum jelly on your skin?
It Does Not Nourish Your Skin
Although considered a medicine, petroleum jelly does not provide any form of nourishment to the skin. This does not possess healing or medicinal properties. If your skin is not clean or moisturized, no matter how much petroleum jelly you use, it would not heal the dry patch.
If you tend to use petroleum jelly regularly, then you are increasing the chances of the skin not producing its natural moisture.
Although petroleum jelly is occlusive, it has to be paired with a humectant, so that water is drawn to the skin from air, and with an emollient, in order to rehydrate and soften the skin, so that it shows effect.
It Is A By-product Of Oil
This jelly still continues to be a byproduct of oil; however, nowadays it is distilled and rendered into a gel that is odourless and colourless. So indirectly, when using petroleum jelly, you are actually slathering a by-product of petroleum onto your skin.
Creation Of An Impenetrable Barrier On The Skin
Being an occlusive agent, petroleum jelly has found wide usage in treating dry and chapped skin. The thick gel traps moisture within the skin by creating a barrier over the skin when applied. This protects the skin from external factors such as water, bacteria and air.
It has been found that petroleum jelly is a hydrophobic shield that can reduce transepidermal water loss by about 90 per cent. It is highly effective in showing its occlusive properties. However, the negative side is that it forms such a thick barrier that it does not allow the skin to breathe.
A study that was published in 2000 showed that babies who had petroleum jelly used on them to control systemic candidiasis (a fungal infection) had actually made the condition worse where the infection increased.
It was found that petroleum jelly created a breeding ground for yeast. The symptoms reduced only when the use of petroleum jelly was discontinued.
With plenty of healthier alternatives available in the market and some of which can be prepared using ingredients at home, you shouldn't be just sticking with the usage of petroleum jelly. It's advised that you explore other better alternatives.