The Uses, Benefits and Dangers of Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum Jelly | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Petroleum jelly, also commonly known as Vaseline, is a mixture of waxes and mineral oil that acts as a water-protective barrier and has been used to help keep skin healthy for over 140 years.

For patients with sensitive skin, petroleum jelly is something Dr. Ali Ghahary and many other family physicians recommend. Below, you will find a list of the common uses of petroleum jelly, its benefits, and some worth-mentioning dangers.

While many moisturizers on the market today are often hypoallergenic and scent-free, there are others that aren’t. As a result, certain moisturizers can cause allergic reactions such as itchy, irritated skin, and you may even break out in a rash. If you’ve ever experienced such a reaction to a moisturizer or are already aware you have extra sensitive skin, petroleum jelly is one of the best products you can use in place of a regular moisturizer bought from a cosmetics store. The key to getting the best result from petroleum jelly is to apply it right after showering. Using it immediately after a shower will help to retain moisture and get rid of any dry, flaky patches of skin.

Petroleum jelly cannot only be used as full body moisturizer, but it’s also safe to use as a facial moisturizer, including on cracked lips. If you suffer from cracked heels, soak your feet in warm water for approximately 5 minutes. Towel-dry them thoroughly, apply the petroleum jelly, and then put on a pair of socks to help lock in the moisture.

Petroleum jelly is also commonly used to treat diaper rash on babies. While there are many medicated products out there specifically designed to treat diaper rash, such as Zincofax, an allergic reaction is still possible. Thus, using petroleum jelly is a much safer alternative and will protect your baby’s skin. If the diaper rash happens to persist or worsens, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends booking an appointment with your family physician or pediatrician.

Acting as a protective barrier to the skin isn’t the only use of petroleum jelly, however. It’s also an effective makeup remover – simply apply a small amount onto a cotton pad and wipe away makeup gently. Split ends are another common problem in the summer time – usually the result of overexposure to the sun or chlorine from swimming pools. To give your hair a healthier, shiny look, rub a small amount of petroleum jelly in your palms and apply it to the ends of your hair.

While petroleum jelly is often used in place of products that individuals are sensitive or allergic to, it’s also still possible to have an allergic reaction to petroleum jelly or other petroleum-derived products. It’s also important to note that petroleum jelly is for external use only. It should NOT be used for any type of internal use, as this can cause bacterial or fungal infections.