Dangers of Mineral Oil -Not Good For Your Skin
The dangers of mineral oil are rarely discussed. This compound has a long history in the medical and industrial industries – it’s always just sort of been there.
Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless. It’s a chemical byproduct of petroleum produced in the manufacture of gasoline.
Clearly, not the ideal substance to put on your body’s largest organ (your skin) – and yet, baby oil is nothing more than mineral oil with perfume added.
If you do a simple Google search, you’ll discover that mineral oil is suggested as a treatment for skin irritation, removing makeup, an all-over moisturizer, earwax softener, and a way to relieve constipation on multiple “health and wellness” sites.
Of course, this chemical lubricant is also recommended to preserve tools against rust, polish furniture or wood floors, and remove paint. Those applications make sense until you realize they’re suggested in the same articles that recommend drinking mineral oil for constipation and slathering it all over your body where it can gain immediate access to your bloodstream.
It’s also used as a cheap additive in all kinds of health and beauty products.
Manufactures talk about “purification” of this petroleum byproduct – as if petroleum alone isn’t toxic enough – but there are some mineral oil dangers that their refining can’t remove.
There are three primary reasons not to choose this particular “skin care” product to care for your fragile outer layer.
Let Your Pores Breathe!
Applying mineral oil to your skin seals off your pores, making them almost air-tight. Advocates of mineral oil talk about how wonderful it is to trap water from escaping your skin – missing the point that there are things that need to exit your skin as well that are now trapped under an air-tight seal.
When your pores are clogged (from dirt, makeup, or other pollutant), they’re unable to push out whatever is inside them (usually through the process of sweating). That’s the natural process of how skin works. You need to sweat (even if you don’t realize you’re sweating).
As a kid, did you ever wear one of those plastic Halloween masks? If you did, you might remember how suffocating it was by the end of the night. It trapped all the dirt, sweat, and odor under it and you felt like you could breathe again when you finally ripped it off.
That’s what mineral oil does to your pores but it’s less noticeable. Such a sealed environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. [The last thing you need or want!] If you already have dirt or bacteria on your skin (and most of us do), you’re trapping it under a chemical sealant until you wash it away.1
Your skin is a critical part of your immune system but to do its’ job, it must be able to breathe in order to expel toxins.2
Anything applied to your skin gains immediate access to your bloodstream!
Anything you apply to your skin sinks through your pores directly into your bloodstream. It’s so fast-acting that many medications are moving to topical application for faster results.
Despite the assurance of the cosmetic industry and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there’s been serious debate about how “pure” pharmaceutical grade mineral oil actually is that’s being used in beauty products.
Remember, it’s a chemical byproduct of gasoline production. Do you want highly refined petroleumin your blood?
Over the last decade, researchers all over the world have identified bioaccumulation as one of the dangers in our modern world. This is when your body is unable to metabolize a particular substance so it is “stored” in your tissues.
Austrian scientists concluded their research on this topic by saying, “There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 g per person.”3
Over years of use, it can accumulate to toxic levels.
Much like parabens, BPA, and acetaminophen…once mineral oil is in your cells, it doesn’t leave. Considering the vast array of products that include it in their list of ingredients (including lotions, cosmetics, ointments, and baby oil), you might be getting a lot more in your body than you ever imagined.
On top of the heavy metals, drug compounds (both prescription and over-the-counter), and chemicals used in the food and water…is it any wonder that so many of us are suffering from chronic illness? Our bodies are drowning in toxic soup.4
Mineral oil offers nothing of value!
When you choose (and/or purchase) products for skin care, they should perform one of four important tasks:
- Clean your skin
- Exfoliate your skin
- Moisturize your skin
- Offer protection from ultraviolet rays
Some excellent products do all of these things but mineral oil does none of them. It literally offers nothing of value to your skin health.5
There’s no UV protection, no hydration (in or out), and it does the opposite of cleaning your skin by clogging it up and “drawing” what moisture you have deep in your cells to the surface. Because it seals off your skin and traps moisture and dirt, it can speed up the signs of aging.
While it offers nothing good, new research has brought forth evidence that mineral oil may be damaging your hormone balance.6
You Have Better Choices (Take Them!)
During a time in history when you can choose healthy, beneficial products that are effective and organic, why would you choose the dangers of mineral oil?
It doesn’t even offer nutrients. There are so many natural alternatives that feed your skin while keeping it protected, clean, exfoliated, and moisturized.
On the labels of (so many) beauty products, you’ll see mineral oil also listed as petrolatum, liquid paraffin, or paraffin oil. Avoid products listing any of these names.
Products that contain mineral oil are inexpensive and since they’re available in every big box store (and likely something your grandmother used), many opt for mineral oil, petroleum jelly, or baby oil to “moisturize” their skin.
Unaware they’re doing the exact opposite.
Instead, choose a natural option. Some might be more expensive than mineral oil but are still far less expensive than many formulated moisturizers.
When it comes to organic oils, a little goes a long way. They’re multi-purpose, natural, and are able to be metabolized by your body. For instance, you can use coconut oil for everything from a leave-in conditioner to natural toothpaste (incredible results) to lotion for every inch of your skin.
Cold-pressed organic coconut oil is nourishing, hydrating, gentle on your skin, and has an SPF of 4 (even before adding it to a natural sunscreen recipe).
Other options are olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or cocoa butter. Avoid the dangers of mineral oil with one of these natural alternatives and your skin will thank you!
1 New Beauty: These Ingredients Are Suffocating Your Skin
2Yum Yucky: Why Is Mineral Oil Bad for Your Skin?
3Journal of Women’s Health: Evidence for cosmetics as a source of mineral oil contamination in women.
4The Skincare Edit: 5 Reasons to Avoid Petroleum and Mineral Oil in Your Skincare
5Be Well: 3 Key Reasons to Avoid Mineral Oil
6Hormones & Balance: Top 10 Toxic Skin Care Ingredients that Impact Hormonal Health