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Petroleum Jelly

SoothingImage by stevec77 via Flickr
I have had quite a checkered history as far as petroleum jelly is concerned. From a one time avid user in winters, I stopped all contact with it when I got access to the internet.

The net is full of sites that list the "horrifying" side-effects of Petroleum Jelly. From being the spawn of the Devil himself to contaminated with carcinogens, comodogenic, leaching the body of vitamins, all such allegations have been thrust upon it. For many years, I believed all of this.

Mineral Oil did break me out into pimples, so by association I banned the jelly as well.This was 8-10 years ago. I was 15 then.

For a recent winter trip, I picked up a tiny tub of Vaseline on a hunch. Just felt like stocking up. That turned out to be good thinking, as the winter wind was very dehydrating, and one by one all my moisturisers lay defeated by the way side.

Apprehensively, I opened up the Vaseline tub and gingerly applied it to my face, expecting the worst.

The formula seemed to have changed. Or maybe I had forgotten how it felt. No longer was it goopy and thick. This was soft and smooth. It didn't seem to clog pores or even sit on my skin. It went on easily, and literally saved my hands and facial skin on that trip. (I am not sure if this change was because instead of buying the Indian version, I had bought the US version from Alfa)

Since that day I have been forced to do a relook at Vaseline's potential for skin hydration.

Petroleum Jelly does not moisturise the skin by itself.  

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly is a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that, when blended together, create something remarkable - a smooth jelly that has a melting point just above body temperature. The result - it literally melts into skin, flowing into the spaces between cells and the gaps in our lipid barrier. Once there, it re-solidifies, locking itself in place
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly serves two functions:
First it helps keep the outside world out - it protects skin from the effects of weather and exposure. 
Second, it acts like a sealant to help keep the inside world in - it forms an occlusive barrier to the natural water loss of our skin. So skin that is dry and chapped is protected from drying elements, enabling skin-softening moisture to build up naturally from inside the skin itself.
Frankly I do not know if Petroluem Jelly causes cancer, scientists & dermatologists both deny this. Many belive that this is an urban myth perpetuated by those who want you to replace that jar of economical & cheap Vaseline with a more exotic sounding & expensive oil/cream. 

I can only suggest that you do your research well and take what you read with a pinch of salt. Also rely on your own experinces. No one knows or touches your skin more than you. 

For those of you who don't trust Petroleum Jelly, here is a quick, natural recipie to make your own natural jelly at home. It is just as cheap & more nourishing. 

DIY Home Jelly
  • 15 grams of beeswax (try and get the unbleached, unprocessed version. This is light yellow in color)
  • 1/4 cup of any oil. (coconut, olive, jojoba, almond, avocado, sesame, sunflower)
  1. Melt the beeswax either on a water bath or in the microwave till the wax completely melts. (CAUTION: do not allow temperature to exceed 70 degrees C. beeswax is flammable). 
  2. Mix in the oil. 
  3. Take off heat. Pour into clean, dry container. Close and store in freezer. 

Before use: Just take a small amount and rub between fingers to melt and bring to skin temperature. Smooth all over skin.

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  1. Thanks for post. It’s really imformative stuff.
    I really like to read.Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here! my best regards guys!

    seo jaipur--seo jaipur

  2. I still don't lik petroleum jelly..Its jst v viscous n looks lik well...frozen oil wich it is!!Nvr had d courage 2 apply on d face!!

    Bt nyc post!!

  3. @ Thks Simran, PJ is a good moisturiser for cracked feet & elbows too!!


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