Mystery Ingredient Monday: Petrolatum

So you’ve probably never heard of petrolatum. But if you thought ‘it sounds like petroleum,’ you’d be right on the money. Petrolatum (petroleum jelly) is used in a variety of cosmetics including skin and hair moisturizing products. It’s meant to lock in moisture and make your hair shine. However, petroleum-based products have been under a lot of scrutiny in the last few years because they can be contaminated with polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons. PAHs, as they’re commonly referred to, have been linked to cancer.

Petrolatum or petroleum jelly

The European Union, which is lightyears ahead of the United States in their legislation about chemicals in cosmetics, has restricted use of petrolatum in cosmetics. The only petroleum jelly (Petrolatum) allowed in their cosmetics are from companies that can prove its entire process is free of carcinogens.

The bottom line: Stay away from petroleum jelly. We recommend that you toss your petroleum-based products and go for something more natural. Brands that use a mixture of vegetable oils and waxes are safer for your body and will preserve the shine and moisture you love.