In the past few years one of the skin care and cosmetics industry’s great debates have been over the use of mineral oil in products we use on our skin. Many cosmetics and skin care companies have taken a strong stand for and against the use of mineral oil in their products. They have even gone as far as to base the majority of their product education on why they feel it is important to use or not to use mineral oil on the skin. Many people feel the debate is fueled from the “natural” cosmetic and skin care companies to ensure sales of their product. It then becomes a debate of natural versus chemical.
To make an educated decision you first must know what mineral oil is. Mineral oil is a light, colorless, transparent, tasteless, odorless and oily liquid that will not spoil. It is an inexpensive byproduct produced in the purification of petroleum and during the production of gasoline and other petrochemical products from crude oil. It is available in light and heavy grades and is insoluble in both water and alcohol.
Mineral oil is found in many products that we use every day. It is used in food products, creams, lotions, cosmetics, preservatives, and baby care products just to name a few. It is also widely used to fight constipation.
There are positive effects from using mineral oil on the skin. Mineral oil works like a barrier between the skin and the outside elements. It acts as an occlusive agent which prevents water from naturally leaving body through the skin. Mineral oil actually does not dry out the skin, it is moisturizing and helps fight premature aging.
Many studies have been done to try to prove and disprove the harmful effects that mineral oil has on the skin and body. Some say that using it in a laxative form can cause bowels to lose their normal function and for one to become chemically dependent on a mineral oil laxative.
There are other concerns of the amount of use of mineral oil on young children and the elderly. Lipid pneumonia is a condition that results after the inhalation of lipids, or fats and oils. Humans naturally have a bacteria living in their nostrils. However when you accidentally inhale mineral oil droplets, this bacteria can be transferred into the lungs via the droplets, resulting in lipid pneumonia.
Mineral oil has also been linked to various skin problems. Excess amounts of mineral oil can prevent the release of toxins in the body. While long-term use of mineral oil can cause dermatitis and skin irritation. It does not cause acne, but too much can irritate it.
Before you decide which side you are on, make sure to read all pros and cons and make your decision based on correct, unbiased information. Your skin is going to be with you for your entire life and it is your job to take care of it so it will always look its best.