Mineral Oil Effects on Skin

By LeafTV Editor

One of the most commonly used ingredients in lotions and skin-care products is mineral oil. This lightweight, inexpensive oil is odorless and tasteless. The most common cosmetic use of this oil is to remove makeup at the end of the day. The next time you purchase your favorite lotion, cream or lip gloss, look at the ingredients label--you will more than likely see mineral oil.

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Mineral Oil Effects On Skin



The by product of petroleum, as it is distilled from crude oil to make gasoline and other products, is a pure, colorless, tasteless oil called mineral oil or petroleum jelly. It was first used to relieve burns on oil rigs. Made famous as Vaseline by Robert Chesebrough, it became a staple for skin care. Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are two versions of the same substance.


Mineral oil is an occlusive moisturizer. This means mineral oil prevents skin's water loss by creating a barrier over the skin. Mineral oil is slowly absorbed by the skin, aiding in moisturizing and healing wounded skin. Most of the skin-care products you use every day contain mineral oil as a moisture base. Products like Aveeno Moisturizing Shower and Bath Oil and Albolene cream have mineral oil as the active moisturizing ingredient.

Makeup Removal

Oil-based makeup removers are the most effect in dissolving makeup from the skin. Most makeup removers on the market have a mineral oil base. Liquid cleansers are pure oil, while cream cleansers are oil mixed with water and emulsifiers. Ponds Deep Cleanser with Cucumber and Kiehls Oil-Based Cleanser and Makeup Remover are examples of two very popular makeup removal products you can buy that are mineral oil based.

Pros and Cons

There are some skin-care experts who say mineral oil is the worst thing you can do for your skin. Clogging pores and the skin's difficulty in absorbing mineral oil is the base of the argument against using it in skin-care products. Many products use mineral oil for moisture because it will not spoil, unlike vegetable- or plant-based oils. According to a study by Pharma Cosmetix Research of Virginia and published in Blackwell's Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, cosmetic-grade mineral oil has been shown to be noncomedogenic.

Cosmetic-Grade Mineral Oil

Using natural substances in skin-care products is a concept in the news. Mineral oil is a natural substance derived from crude oil. The product is refined for various uses. The most highly refined oil is used in cosmetics and is called cosmetic-grade mineral oil, or white oil. Mineral oil is considered one of the safest skin-care ingredients because it virtually never causes allergic reactions.

What To Look For

When buying skin-care products, remember that cosmetic-grade mineral oil used in most effective skin preparations is the natural by product of a natural substance. Look for the term noncomedogenic. This means no substances in the product are known to cause clogging of your pores.

Baby Products

One of the most common uses for pure cosmetic-grade mineral oil is baby oil. Baby oil is simply mineral oil with fragrance added. Mineral oil is also used to make baby wash and baby soap. Using baby oil to dry off your skin after a shower or a bath will help to lock in moisture.