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Vaseline is a common household product used by many people as a skin protectant, lubricant and for the house. Although Vaseline and petroleum jelly are relatively cheap product with many uses, some people have questioned their use for the skin and internal areas of the body such as the nose, mouth and genitals. There are distinct differences between Vaseline and pure white petroleum jelly that users should be aware of.

Origins of Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly

Although many people interchange Vaseline with petroleum jelly, the two are actually very different. Vaseline is a brand name for petroleum jelly. It was first manufactured and used for medicinal purposes by Robert Cheeseborough under his company, the Cheeseborough Manufacturing Company in Brooklyn, New York, in 1859. The company was later purchased by Unilever in 1987, who uses the brand name Vaseline at present.

On the other hand, petroleum jelly is chemically derived from petroleum, the natural raw material substance that was found in 1859 by oil miners in Pennsylvania. Stiff like wax and black in color, petroleum was a material that built up on the oilers' rigs like mud but at the same time was a good "paste" that they could use for cuts and burns.

Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly Constituents

Vaseline is made of pure petroleum jelly mixed with minerals and microcrystalline wax that make it smoother. Petroleum jelly is sometimes referred to as petrolatum, white petrolatum and white parrafin. When chemically derived from natural petroleum, petroleum jelly consists of a translucent, semisolid mix of hydrocarbons.

The Smell of Vaseline vs. Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline often has fragances in it such as lavender oil or baby powder. This makes it far more desirable to use on one's hair and skin. On the other hand, plain or white petroleum jelly has a smell similar to oil and gas since it is extracted from real petroleum.

How Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly are Sold on the Market

Vaseline is sold in various forms on the market. Since it often has other things added to it, it can be sold in the form of a lotion, ointment, solid or cream. This makes it far more used for cosmetic purposes than plain petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is mainly sold as the solid in small purse-size tubes or larger tubs.