I often am posed questions with regards to our products use of mineral oil, and how destructive it is to the skin. Though I have never seen studies to show otherwise. I found that representatives of the cosmetic industry have been passing the information of bad news of mineral oil. The perception that mineral oil as an undesirable ingredient continues through word of mouth, without any real basis in fact. Actually, mineral oil is a safe, effective, time-proven ingredient, preferred by many formulators. Yes, its inexpensive, but by far has effective characteristics that cannot be beat, the bottom line is that they work. Mineral Oil unfortunately gets a bad rap because it sounds so unnatural, but is actually as natural as any plant. It is actually one of the most exceptional, least irritating, least problematic-causing ingredients for the skin. Mineral Oil is of course a “natural” product, derived from purifying crude oil, and it’s origins are derived from the degradation of plant material. Therefore mineral oil in not sythesized, it occurs naturally in the earth, and is simply purified to the final state.
When mineral oil is incorporated into a cosmetic product, it requires less preservatives than using natural products. There is no doubt that there are impeccable qualities in “naturally” derived plant oils, but of course, need more preservatives to counteract growth of molds and bacteria, due to many nutrients that it contains. In addition, mineral oil has little or no allergic reactions when compared to natural oils, and is number one recommended as a moisturizer for acne-prone skin. Orally, mineral oil can be ingested with no side effects. It is also known that hydrocarbons of a parafinic structure, such as mineral oil, exist naturally in human skin.
Mineral oil remains a key moisturizing ingredient due to (1) its well-documented reduction of transdermal water loss, and (2) its greater barrier to water vapor transmission than that of many other commonly used emollients. In animal studies, it has been shown that mineral oil has no comedogenic potential. More astonishing, when mineral oil was tested on humans, it was found to be completely non-comedogenic, compared to many plant derived oils. Topical use of mineral oil does not represent a local or systemic toxicity risk to humans. The most common function that mineral oil plays in cosmetics is one of moisturizing. It has been known for decades that efforts to overcome dry skin usually involve applying a moisture barrier to the skin surface which will retard the loss of water from the stratum corneum through evaporation. The reduction of this transepidermal water loss is what is meant by the term “moisturization”, even though no water is actually lost.
Remember, Petrolatum and Mineral Oil are natural products derived from degraded plant material from prehistoric times. Be aware of mainstream marketing. For example, just because a cosmetic company claims “oil free”, doesn’t mean it is. Synthetic oils must be called “oil free”, because it was not derived naturally. Only a natural derived products can be identified as an “oil”. It is alway imperative not to believe everything that is mainstream marketed, but question and seek answers.