Is Petroleum Jelly Safe?

Is Petroleum Jelly Safe?

Is Petroleum Jelly Safe?

Petroleum jelly is used widely as a personal care product and is commonly known as Vaseline. I’m sure nearly every person would have had contact with some form of petroleum jelly in the past.

Its place in the beauty industry is valid due to its most effective moisturizing properties making it a very effective lip balm for dry, chapped or inflamed lips. But its effectiveness comes with a price – a $3.95 price tag, plus the price of possible carcinogic health concerns in the future.


Let me just clarify that petrolatum in its purist form is quite safe. But due to poor industry regulations, the concern arises from the refining and manufacturing process where the finished product is not pure. Petrolatum that is not pure is prone to contaminants of all kind but the most worrying of all found in petrolatum is PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) which has been identified tohave cancer-causing effects linked to tumors.

In a study linking the petrolatum impurity PAHs to breast cancer is a Columbia University study in which researchers found that the breast tissue of women with breast cancer was 2.6 times more likely to contain elevated levels of PAHs bound to DNA (called DNA adducts) than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer (Rundle et al. 2000). Due to an unregulated industry, what scares me as a consumer is that I don’t know when purchasing a product with petroleum jelly, how contaminated it is.

Apply it on your lips and you run the risk of consumption. You put it on your face or body and you run the risk of blocked pores and breakouts due to its comedogenic properties.

Is petroleum jelly safe to use? The question is still up in the air. Until the verdict is concretely clear, it’s best for me to go with safer alternatives such as beeswax, shea butter or pure olive oil which acts as a wonderful humectant and moisturizer for the whole body.


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5 thoughts on “Is Petroleum Jelly Safe?

  1. Phuong

    I also stay away from petroleum jelly. I think it is a fantastic lip conditioner but I don’t want to run the risk. My mother who is a religious Vaseline user for 20 years ended up having a benign tumour in her uterus. Its very sad because when she had it in her late 30’s, she still wanted a baby but because of that, it was impossible.

  2. Jean

    This is complete nonsense by those trying to get people to spend money on unproven products claiming to be natural. Petroleum jelly is regulated for purity by being made to the USP, pharmaceutical standard. This story is just fear mongering. The problem is tha usp petroleum jelly is the most effective and safe product but is too inexpensive for any big profits.

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