Vaseline’s Petroleum Jelly Health Safety Issues and Alternatives

Amongst the many health and beauty products that are available in the market, there is one particular item that is always available in our medicine cabinet ad vanity drawers. This particular merchandise is known to cure almost all possible skin aliments that we can think of. In addition, due to its versatility, it can be used in so many other parts of our bodies. This item can also be seen in other various beauty products and health items as a key ingredient. This particular product is none other than the world famous Petroleum Jelly which is more famously known under the “Vaseline”

Although this product claims to have multiple health benefits, there is still a lingering and ongoing issue of it being “not safe” for use. But before we can summarize and give our own personal opinion and verdict, we need to delve into this item deeper. We need to fully understand what it is, how it was discovered and made and why other researches believed that this product is a health threat rather than a health benefit.

How it All Started

Knowing the ins and outs of a particular item can greatly aid us in fully understanding what it is and why it was invented in the first place. Like many other products, Vaseline’s Petroleum Jelly also had its humble beginning before rising to where it is today.

  • Origin of Petroleum Jelly


Petroleum jelly was first noticed way back during the 1800’s at an oil rig found in Titusville, Pennsylvania, United States. Its first form was a black, paraffin-like substance that was found forming at the rigs. This substance formation caused a bit of a problem for the workers because it causes their machines to malfunction. So instead, they removed it as a daily machine maintenance.

But what most workers noticed when using the “rod wax,” as they called it, was that it has healing properties. From then on, they used the collected substance as first aid for their cuts, burns and wounds. They also noticed that the healing time of their injuries hastened as they apply it.hand-woundhand-wound

  • How Petroleum Jelly Came About

Upon hearing the mysterious substance and its health benefits, a young chemist by the name of Robert Chesebrough started to study it and focused on further enhancing its potential uses. He was able to make the color lighter and almost transparent and has further refined the substance and continued to market it across other areas.

Using himself as living testimony and volunteer, he would burn his skin with acid or open flame and use Petroleum jelly on it. He would also show his previous injuries that was “miraculously healed” using his product. Finally, on 1870, he was able to open up his first factory in Brooklyn under the now famous name “Vaseline.”

  • Why We Use Petroleum Jelly

There are a lot of uses for petroleum jelly that does not involve our skin alone. But the first and probably the most famous reason we use it is that it is an affordable first aid for so many minor health problems. Here are some of its uses:


  • Heals minor cuts

  • Soothes burns

  • Moisturizes your skin

  • Prevents diaper rashes

  • Make up remover

  • Prevents split ends

  • Keeps your pets paws moisturized

  • Lubricant

  • Preserves perfume scents

  • Lip balm

  • Hairball remedy for cats

  • Stain remover

Why Avoid it?

This has been a very controversial issue that up until now has been sparking debate of whether the product is safe or not. Now that we know all there is to know about Vaseline’s Petroleum Jelly, we can go to why others say it is a health hazard.

  • It is a by-products that links to its carcinogenic origin

Although the Vaseline Corporation has made a lot of effort in keeping their product safe and effective, there are still other brands that imitate petroleum jelly components and may have carcinogenic attributes in them. Vaseline gives pride in their product making by stating that they have made sure that their items have been “highly-refined and triple-filtered and regarded as non-carcinogenic.”

But what about other petroleum jelly products or those that have been combined with cosmetic or hair products? These are some of the factors that worries most consumers. Knowing that originally, petroleum jelly has carcinogenic properties known as PAHS or Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon which has a toxicity scale of 9, applying a by-product with a previous toxic component on your skin is quite alarming.

  • It is not water soluble

Being a refined oil component, its natural feature is that it cannot be dissolved by water. This means that when you put in on your skin you think that your skin is moisturized and hydrated. But the truth is that might clog your pores which keeps out the air and moisture that you skin needs. In addition, due to its thick consistency, it is very hard to wash off. Making dirt on your face sealed, causing a more prominent facial “breakout”.

  • It only masks your problems and not cure it

Like what was explained above, the product only gives momentary and instant result. But what we fail to see is that it can cause a more serious problem in the future. For example, because of its “thick sealing” function, our skin lacks its natural ability to “breathe in air” and moisturize on its own. In short, this product gives us instant satisfaction but can cause harmful side effects in the future if used too much.


  • It has adverse side effects

More often than not, when you have immediate result, it can and will have a negative end result. Remember there is no “shortcuts” in keeping health and staying healthy. Some of these alleged side effects include the following:

  • Allergies

There are certain people who have very sensitive skin and can have allergic to petroleum based products. That is why they need to pay particular attention to whatever they put on their skin especially if it is not organically derived and made.

  • Infection

Certain infections, like fungal or bacterial can be the end product of you not being able to fully remove the petroleum jelly that you applied due to its thick viscosity and non-water soluble properties. It can also be due to your skin not being able to properly moisturize and remove its dead skins causing a clog in your glands.

  • Clogged pores

Clogged pores are due to the fact that petroleum jelly causes a barrier to form around your skin. This barrier locks in all the dead skin and sebum that your face needs to get rid of. This can cause further pimple breakouts of not cleaned properly and thoroughly.

Better Alternatives for Petroleum Jelly

If you are decided to shift to a safer and organic product that has the same effect on you, they you can choose from other organic products. Here are some good examples that you can buy in the market.

  • Unrefined Coconut Oilcoconut-oil

This is the extracted oil that came from the kernels of the seeds of a coconut palm. It promotes effective skin moisturizing, strengthen skin tissues, removes excessive dry skin and can be easily absorbed by it. It also has antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties and can even protect you skin against sunburn.

  • Butter

Cocoa Buttercocoa-butter

This is the end product of the extraction from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao. It is originally solid in room temperature, but is easily melted once in contact with body heat. Furthermore, it prevents stretch marks and protects you from sunburns as well. It also has antioxidant properties as well.

Shea Buttersoap-shea-butter

A vegetable fat that came from a fruit of a tee that is native in Africa. It is primarily composed of fatty acids mainly stearic and oleic acids, which is perfect for moisturizing you skin and even your lips. In addition, the moisturizers found in shea butter is similar to the ones our sebaceous glands produce.

  • Tallow

This product is derived from the fatty tissues of sheep, cattle or deer and is consist mostly of fatty acid glycerides. The great thing about this is that it is similar to the sebum produced by our skin, making it safe and compatible to use.

  • Lanolin

An animal based product (sheep’s wool) that is more of a wax type that came from the sebaceous glands of sheep. It does not clog pores but provides our skin with a protective barrier.

  • Oils

Jojoba Oil

Not really an actual oil but rather a liquid wax with components similar to our sebum. It helps our skin maintain its moisture and at the same time has healing properties.

Olive Oilolive-oil

This product is derived from the fruit of the olive tree and has been used for a very long time. This oil soothes and moisturizes skin. It can also be easily absorbed and has antioxidants that helps slow down skin aging.

It still is debatable whether Vaseline’s petroleum jelly really is safe or not for us. But why settle for something that has had a carcinogenic origin, have gone through countless refining and filtering process and is not entirely organic? Are you comfortable of basically putting “grease” on your face?

There are several other products that offer the same type of treatment and result that we can get from Vaseline. Plus, they are organically made and came from safe and healthy produces. There is indeed a much higher price tag amount, but you can rest assure that what you place in your skin is indeed safe, non-carcinogenic and has a lesser chance of having adverse reactions.

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