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An ingredient widely used in skin care products for many, many years, mineral oil has been starting to receive bad press lately. And while some individuals may be sensitive to this relatively innocuous ingredient, the majority of us have no trouble with it at all. In fact, mineral oil is a very useful ingredient in skin care formulations, which I'll explain further on.

Where Does Mineral Oil Come From?  

Mineral oil is derived from petrolatum. It is colorless and odourless and widely used in cosmetics for its ability to strengthen the skin's barrier. It is also very well tolerated by most individuals. It is also available in different grades ranging from unrefined (used to lubricate machinery) to grades that are highly refined and purified. It is this highly refined form of mineral oil, referred to as cosmetic grade mineral oil, that is used in skin care products. Cosmetic grade mineral oil is highly refined and pure, so you shouldn't have to worry about contaminants.

Does Mineral Oil Clog Pores?  

Early studies have claimed that mineral oils, derived from crude oil and often used in jobs such as metal-cutting and to keep machinery lubricated, can be harmful to the skin because it forms a thin film that suffocates the skin, leading to blocked pores and unsightly rashes or pimples. However, a recent study published in Blackwell's Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, points out that while industrial grade mineral oil may be comedogenic - a term used to describe cosmetics that cause blackheads and whiteheads - cosmetic grade mineral oil is not.

In the study, volunteers tested a formulation containing cosmetic grade mineral oil applied to their upper back over a period of several weeks. Results of the test proved, categorically, that the cosmetic grade mineral oil was not comedogenic.

Is Mineral Oil Safe?  

Many 'natural' cosmetics companies will try to convince you that because mineral oil is derived from petrolatum it is necessarily bad. One of the reasons that many companies will do this is to try and convince you to buy their 'better, mineral oil-free' alternative. What you should keep in mind, however, is that studies have shown mineral oil to be one of the safest and most effective moisturizing ingredients available.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].


Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • Well I’m always adding a little baby oil to mine and my grand daughters bath. And it helps with the removal of makeup.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • I know that since I have been using a mineral based foundation my skin has been looking fabulous!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Geralyn Schulkind wrote Apr 9, 2009
    • I would like to ask, if, as you say below:

      “*Mineral oil is derived from petrolatum*  . It is colorless and odourless and widely used in cosmetics for its ability to strengthen the skin's barrier. It is also very well tolerated by most individuals. It is also available in different grades ranging from unrefined  (used to lubricate machinery) to grades that are highly refined and purified. It is this highly refined form of mineral oil, referred to as cosmetic grade mineral oil, that is used in skin care products. Cosmetic grade mineral oil is highly refined and pure, so you shouldn't have to worry about contaminants.  

      WHY?  Would you want to put a product that is derived from petrolatum on your skin, when there are many, many alternatives out there that don’t have it?? That do contain herbs and botanicals that are helpful and beneficial?



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