Mineral oil is a colorless and odorless compound with a long history in medical and industrial applications. It’s a chemical byproduct of petroleum produced in the manufacture of gasoline and a cheap additive for all kinds of health and beauty products.
Clearly, it’s not the ideal substance to put on your body’s largest organ…your skin.
There are many reasons not to choose this particular “skin care” product to care for your fragile outer layer. Let’s break down the top three mineral oil dangers.
1. Your Pores Need to Breathe!
Applying mineral oil to your skin seals off your pores, making them almost air-tight. There’s a reason this stuff is used in engines and other mechanics as a lubricant to reduce friction.
When your pores are clogged (from dirt, makeup, or other pollutant), they’re unable to push out whatever is inside them (usually through the process of sweating). That’s the natural process of how skin works. You need to sweat (even if you don’t realize you’re sweating).
As a kid, did you ever wear one of those plastic Halloween masks? If you did, you might remember how suffocating it was by the end of the night. It trapped all the dirt, sweat, and odor under it and you felt like you could breathe again when you finally ripped it off.
That’s what mineral oil does to your pores but it’s less visible. Such a sealed environment is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. The last thing you need or want! If you already have dirt or bacteria on your skin (and most of us do), you’re trapping it under a sealant until you wash it away.
Your skin is a critical part of your immune system but to do its job, it must be able to breathe to expel toxins.
2. Your Skin Grants Immediate Access to Your Bloodstream
Anything you apply to your skin sinks through your pores to your bloodstream. It’s so fast-acting that many medications are moving to topical application for faster results.
Despite the assurance of the cosmetic industry and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there’s been serious debate about how “pure” pharmaceutical grade mineral oil actually is that’s used in beauty products.
Remember, it’s a chemical byproduct of gasoline production. Do you want it in your blood?
Bioaccumulation of toxins has become something of a passion of mine. This is when your body is unable to process a particular substance so “stores” it in your tissues. Over years of use, it can accumulate to toxic levels.
Much like parabens, BPA, and acetaminophen…once mineral oil is in your cells, it doesn’t leave. Considering the vast array of products that include it in their list of ingredients (including lotions, cosmetics, ointments, and baby oil), you might be getting a lot more in your body than you ever imagined.
Anything you apply to your skin sinks through your pores to your bloodstream. #OrganicSkinCareClick To Tweet
3. Your Skin Gets Nothing from Mineral Oil
When you choose products for skin care, they should perform one of four important tasks. Clean your skin, exfoliate your skin, moisturize your skin, or offer protection from ultraviolet rays. Some excellent products do all of these things but mineral oil does none of them.
It literally offers nothing of value to your skin health.
There’s no UV protection, no hydration (in or out), and it does the opposite of cleaning your skin by clogging it up and “drawing” what moisture you have deep in your cells to the surface. Because it seals off your skin and traps moisture and dirt, it can speed up the signs of aging.
While it offers nothing good, new research has brought forth evidence that mineral oil may be damaging your hormone balance. (I’ll have more about products that are proven hormone disruptors later.)
You Have Better Choices (Take Them!)
During a time in history when you can choose healthy, beneficial products that are effective and organic, why would you choose the dangers of mineral oil?
It doesn’t even offer nutrients. There are so many natural alternatives that feed your skin while keeping it protected, clean, and moisturized.
On the labels of (so many) beauty products, you’ll see mineral oil also listed as petrolatum, liquid paraffin, or paraffin oil. I avoid all products that list any of these names.Avoid all beauty products that contain: petrolatum, liquid paraffin, or paraffin oil. #ToxicClick To Tweet
Products that contain mineral oil aren’t usually expensive and since they’re available in every big box store (and likely something your grandmother used), many opt for mineral oil, petroleum jelly, or baby oil to “moisturize” their skin. Unaware they’re doing the exact opposite.
Instead, I use coconut oil. It’s a little more expensive than mineral oil but far less expensive than many pricey moisturizers. My favorite coconut oil is around $8.00 and mineral oil at my local pharmacy is about $3.00 for a smaller bottle.
A little goes a long way. I use it for everything from a leave-in conditioner on my hair to my toothpaste (incredible results) to lotion for every inch of my skin. Cold-pressed organic coconut oil is nourishing, hydrating, gentle on your skin, and has an SPF of 4 (even before adding it to a natural sunscreen recipe).
Other options are olive oil (my grandmother swears by this), almond oil, jojoba oil, or cocoa butter. Avoid the dangers of mineral oil with one of these natural alternatives!
Your skin will thank you!