Mineral oil is the main ingredient in most body lotions, body creams, baby products, emollients.
There are two types of mineral oil: industrial grade and cosmetic grade. Industrial grade mineral oil is used as a machine lubricant and is not of the purity required for skin application. Cosmetic grade mineral oil reputedly is the purest form without contaminants.
What is mineral oil
Mineral oil is transparent and odorless oil. It is made from petroleum as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce petrol. It’s lightweight and and very cheap, and helps reduce water loss from the skin.
Some of the ways they might appear on ingredients labels include:
- Mineral oil
- Liquid paraffin
- Paraffin oil
Why to avoid mineral oil
I don’t see any benefits of using mineral oil. For me, this is probably the best reason to avoid mineral oil. Yes, it may contribute to body contamination, and it may cause a giant acne break out, but most of all, it’s not doing anything for your skin. It’s not providing it with nutrients. It’s hydrating. It’s just sitting there on the top of the skin preventing moisture loss.
That may have been okay fifty years ago, but today we have so many better alternatives! We have natural plant extracts, nut butters, natural oils, and more that provide so many benefits, including essential fatty acids that plump up skin, antioxidants to fight free radical damage, and nutrients to help maintain skin firmness. Why settle for a film made from petroleum when you can do so much more for your skin?
Petroleum and mineral oil are occlusive agents—meaning they seal off the skin from air, water or anything else getting in or out. They form an invisible film on the surface that blocks the pores and the skin’s natural respiration process.
Anyone who is even slightly acne-prone will have alarm bells ringing over that statement. Blocked pores means trapped dirt and oil—leading to blackheads, pimples, whiteheads, you name it. You might as well cover yourself in cling film.
Hope everyone knows about it at this stage: never put petroleum- or mineral oil-based products on a sunburn. Because they form a seal, they’ll lock in the heat into your skin, making the burn worse, not better. It could even lead to permanent scarring.
Instead of mineral oil, I recommend coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E, shea butter or cocoa butter. Just watch out for polyunsaturated oils, which oxidise in our bodies and are pro-aging.
So what do you think… will you be tossing your skincare products with petroleum and mineral oil now?
Skincare products that do not contain mineral oil
Seaweed & Whipped Shea Hand & Body Butter
Ocean Bloom Seaweed & Whipped Shea Hand & Body Butter combines extracts of seaweed plants with the nourishing organic shea butter to actively hydrate and moisturise the skin. Your skin will feel instantly soft.
Argan Oil Body Butter – Passion Fruit Guava
Lusher and thicker than lotion, Argan Body Butter is as airy as a soufflé and smells even sweeter. The perfect comfort for dry skin, our butter is extra creamy for ultimate hydration and nourishes skin with a vitamin-rich formula.
Lavera Rose Garden Body Lotion
Lavera Rose Garden Body Lotion is a thick, white lotion that absorbs easily and leaves no residue on the skin. It smells very strongly of roses and Turkish Delight so you might want to choose one of the many other variants of the lotion if you hate that smell!
Dr. Organic Royal Jelly Skin Lotion
Dr. Organic Royal Jelly Skin Lotion is a “rich firming skin moisturiser” which claims anti-ageing and firming properties as well as just hydration, being jam-packed with organic ingredients such as royal jelly, honey, red clover extract, olive oil, cocoa butter, shea butter etc.