Sarah Lyn (sarar) wrote in naturalliving,
Sarah Lyn


In the comments of this post there was mention of petroleum jelly as a facial moisturizer and skin clearing agent because it is not an "icky chemical." I'd never heard that it wasn't and always heard that it, in fact, is the opposite-it is and icky chemical. I've never heard anything good about petroleum as an ingredient in any product that would go on the skin. What I've learned about petroleum I've learned here. Somehow, I have no links, articles, books, or other sources to back it up. I did a search (oh, how I love the new search feature) and checked the memories, both. I found a lot of information from fellow members but not a lot of sources backing it up. As far as I know, it clogs pores, suffocates skin, causes skin to become dry once the application wears off b/c it acts as an unpenetrable layer that also causes the skin to produce even less moisture than it should (which is why the petroleum product is usually being put on it in the first place. vicious cycle.), makes the skin appear to be very moisturized b/c of said unpenetrable layer, is possibly carcinogenic (do to the way it's manufactured?), is a non-renewable source, and is a by-product of the petroleum/oil industry. I'm going to google some things but I don't want to miss something really valuable so if you have any good sources for why petroleum as an ingredient in skin care (or any type) products is bad, or good for that matter, throw 'em at me, please. TIA.

EDIT: I'm looking for sources, not word of mouth. I want concrete information or at least more concrete than "somebody told me" such and such.

Here is what I've found:
1. - talks about total petroleum hydrocarbons, including mineral oil and petroleum jelly, but doesn't pinpoint any product for study. My favorite part, though: "Other TPH compounds, such as some mineral oils, are not very toxic and are used in foods." It's only a little bit toxic. Just a little bit. ::rolls eyes::

2. at I found this:
"Information compiled by
Richard Pressinger, M.Ed., Tampa, FL
Wayne Sinclair, MD, Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Research on health disorders resulting from petroleum-based chemicals used in consumer products and job environments are available from the links below. Petroleum based chemicals are being found to cause significant attritional effects to the nervous system and immune system after prolonged exposure. Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child behavior disorders including learning disabilities, mental retardation, hyperactivity and ADD (attention deficit disorders). Petroleum based chemicals are believed to cause these problems by a variety of routes including - impairing proper DNA (Gene) expression, weakening DNA Repair, accelerating gene loss, degeneration of the body's detoxification defenses (liver and kidneys) as well as gradual weakening of the brain's primary defense - (the Blood Brain Barrier). Identifying a specific chemical as the "original cause" of these health disorders is difficult and often overlooked as it typically requires years of exposure for the body's inherent defenses to weaken sufficiently to result in observable health problems. Also, many petroleum chemicals appear work in tandem to combine their harmful effects making specific identification even more difficult. However, once a chemically induced illness presents itself, a decline in health status appears to continue rapidly as long as exposure continues. Of significant concern, while petroleum based chemicals are required by the U.S. Government (EPA) to be tested for a variety of health effects, they are currently not required to be tested for causing subtle neurological damage (memory, personality, behavior etc), effects upon the developing brain during pregnancy, immune system effects, autoimmunity and effects upon the brain's primary defense - the blood brain barrier. The majority of information at CHEM-TOX has been attained from research from the University of Florida and University of South Florida Medical Libraries. Every attempt has been made to provide information clearly and accurately - The medical/scientific journal name and date, along with the university and scientists involved in the research are listed with each article"

3. not the most reputable source in the world, probably, but here's another:

4. - again about mineral oil and what it does to the skin:
"39. Mineral Oil - Petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. Interferes with skin's ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. Slows down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Used in many products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil!) Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH's (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use petrolatum because it is unbelievably cheap.

* Mineral oil
* Liquidum paraffinum (also known as posh mineral oil!)
* Paraffin oil
* Paraffin wax
* Petrolatum"

5. This has a paragraph or two about petroleum hydrocarbons but it in terms of pesticides so I don't know if that is the same base ingredient or not. Here's what is says: "Petroleum Hydrocarbons -
Aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons are the sixth most common active ingredient in household pesticides today. Highly refined horticultural oil has a relatively low acute oral toxicity, though it is a skin and lung irritant. Petroleum oils vary greatly in terms of refining, and hence in amounts of aromatic hydrocarbon impurities, which are potentially toxic benzene-ring compounds. Thus, petroleum oil-based pesticides are complex mixtures of varying quantities of aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons with potentially diverse toxicological profiles and health effects.

Among the few toxicological effects of aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons mentioned in a 1988 petroleum industry review in Occupational Medicine are central nervous system depression manifested as dizziness and incoordination. Petroleum hydrocarbons and solvents of various sorts, including aromatic compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylene, are also among the unnamed "inert ingredients" formulated into household pesticide products."

6. From here: "Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly) Where it's found: In one of every 14 personal-care products, according to the EWG, including 15 per cent of all lipstick and 40 per cent of all baby lotions and oils. Purpose: A petrochemical that forms a barrier on the skin. Research indicates: Impurities created during the manufacturing process of some petrolatum are linked to breast cancer: Benzo-A-Pyrene and Benzo-B-Fluroanthene. PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are also common contaminants. Status: Banned from cosmetics in the EU unless manufacturer proves safety. In the U.S., the National Toxicology Program finds that some PAHs are reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens. The State of California lists a number of PAHs as carcinogens. The FDA restricts the level of petrolatum in food packaging and drugs but does not police its use in personal-care products, many of which are applied directly to the lips and inadvertently swallowed. Health Canada says the onus is on the company to ensure its product is free of impurities."

7. A snippet of an article from the environmental working group: "Many of the cosmetic industry's chemical safety assessments reveal that common petroleum-based cosmetic ingredients can be contaminated with a cancer-causing impurity called 1,4-dioxane."

8. the dirty dozen list doesn't say much about the negetive effects of petroleum except for: "Petrolatum can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Furthermore, since it is a petroleum product, its use depletes a non-renewable resource."

9. pentaglobal's skin suicide says: "Beautiful skin radiates from moisture. Yet the two most common skin-detrimental ingredients, mineral oil and alcohol, have the opposite effect of moisturizing the skin. Oil encourages the skin to produce even more oil, and alcohol leads to dehydration. This common ‘skin-care’ combo actually speeds up the aging process.

MlNERAL OIL is the cheapest, most universally-used ingredient in skin care. Made from petroleum, it cannot be absorbed by the body. It "seals" the skin, clogs pores, attracts dirt and pulls essential trace minerals from the skin. It must be removed with harsh alcohol. PETROLATUM, also called paraffin jelly or petroleum jelly, is also made from petroleum and is very similar to mineral oil."

10. From here I found a blurb that says"Mineral Oil - A derivative of petroleum, this additive clogs pores, locks in toxins, suffocates and dries skin and inhibits your skins natural oil production further increasing dehydration. Causes testicular tumors in the fetus, deposits accumulate in the lymph nodes and prevent absorption of vitamin A from the intestines. Found in blush, baby oil, lotions, foundation and creams."

another for petroleum jelly: "Petroleum (Petrolatum) - Suffocates skin and traps toxins in body, clogs pores. Found in lotions, skin creams, and body jelly."

and also one for paraffin, but it doesn't say much: "Paraffin - Possible carcinogen. Found in cosmetics and food."

I've gone through all the links I found but I still have massive amounts of PDF files to read so if I find anything else I'll post it here.
Tags: ingredients: food and products, petroleum alternatives, skin care: body
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