This homemade vaseline recipe not only soothes chapped skin, but also helps you avoid toxins that can damage your health.
I have a confession to make. Okay, so I know I don’t have to confess, but here goes…
I have used petroleum jelly (the main ingredient in Vaseline) for years. But, to my defense, I didn’t know the whole time it was bad for me.
But, (and this is the confession part) I kept on using it after finding out it wasn’t good for my skin (yikes!).
I tried to stop–I tried other products, but it just wasn’t the same. You know how petroleum jelly just stays with you all day long (yes, I know now that’s not such a good thing).
But don’t worry. I finally got convinced to change. What did it for me? Before I tell you, let’s back up a bit for anyone who may not be aware of the problems associated with petroleum jelly.
What is Petroleum Jelly?
Petroleum jelly is a mixture of mineral oils and waxes that are the byproduct of the oil refining process. It was discovered way back in 1859 when Robert Augustus Chesebrough noticed that oil workers would use a gooey jelly to heal their wounds and burns. He later packaged this jelly and sold it as Vaseline.
Problems with Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is used to create a protective barrier on the skin and hold in moisture. While that may sound like a good thing, there are some concerns. Because petroleum jelly is not water-soluble, it creates a waterproof barrier on the skin. While this has been marketed as helping you “retain moisture,” there is a downside.
Petroleum jelly’s ability to hold in water also means that it blocks pores and can lock in residue and bacteria. What’s more, there isn’t anything in petroleum jelly that actually nourishes the skin.
And that’s not all.
Packaging and safety information for petroleum jelly state that all of the harmful components are removed before being used in beauty or personal care products. However, some experts argue that it still contains some harmful components (like hydrocarbons).
There are concerns that elements like hydrocarbons may be stored in fat tissue within the body. A 2011 study found that:
There is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body, amounting to approximately 1 g per person. Possible routes of contamination include air inhalation, food intake, and dermal absorption.”
Breaks down collagen
The barrier that mineral oil and petroleum jelly creates on the skin has the potential to cause collagen breakdown (which is not what we want!).
When petroleum jelly is rubbed on your skin, it blocks the natural ability of the skin to breathe and absorb nutrients. As a result, the cell renewal process is slowed, causing the skin to pull the necessary moisture and nutrients from within which leads to collagen breakdown over time (hello wrinkles!).
There are other harmful chemicals in petroleum jelly, like
1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen found in at least one-third of all the beauty products tested.
Another rare, but very serious complication that can occur from the use of petroleum jelly happens when small amounts are inhaled. It’s called lipid pneumonia and creates a potentially serious inflammation in the lungs.
What is a Natural Alternative for Vaseline?
There are a few oils and butters that can be used as alternatives for Vaseline. These include:
Using a few of these oils/butters, we can create a homemade vaseline recipe that’s toxin-free. Feel free to mix and match as your skin needs.
Here’s my favorite recipe…
Simple Homemade Vaseline Recipe
- Place a glass bowl inside a medium pot and place it on the stove. Fill the pot with water until it comes up halfway up the glass bowl.
- Turn the stove on medium heat.
- Add all ingredients to the glass bowl and stir until melted completely.
- Remove from heat and pour into a clean, storage container.
- Once cool, stir until it reaches a Vaseline-like consistency.