28 September 2009

Mineral Oil - good or bad?

Mineral Oil - sounds good right? Minerals are good, right? It is downright natural sounding. Well, almost. It is a petrochemical, and while crude oil is a natural product, found in the earth, few of us want to slather it on our skin. Furthermore, mineral oil is not usually found natural but is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline, and related to petroleum jelly. It is used as a moisturiser in lotions and ointments, as a makeup remover and is the primary constituent in baby oil. It is a known comedogen, that is, it plugs up pores and can cause a worsening of acne. But, one of the main reasons for not liking mineral oil is that during the refining process, unintended byproducts, such as poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other potentially dangerous and damaging chemicals can be produced, creating unwanted exposure.

Besides all this, it also can interfere with vitamin uptake in the intestines if taken topically and especially orally and has been linked to lipoid pneumonia. There are alternatives - mineral oil is cheap and so found in a myriad of products - but natural is better and there are so many wonderful natural moisturising agents out there such as cocoa butter, shea butter, almond oil, the list is almost endless...