The Problem with Mineral Oil

Image  VERSUS  sweet-almond-oil

You know, until fairly recently I was not very concerned about the quality of the make up or moisturizers I used. It was more about whether it looked good, felt alright, and achieved whatever look I was going for. But since working at a local skincare and personal care boutique in Berkeley, CA (home of the nature lovin’ hippies), I’ve become much more aware of ingredients listed on the back of my jars.

The biggest bone I’ve wanted to pick lately is the use of mineral oil in EVERYTHING. In case you don’t know what that is, mineral oil is a processed version of petroleum. That’s right, the thick, black tar that we burn to create fuel and gasoline/petrol. Of course, the mineral oil we see in stores doesn’t resemble the black goo you’re imagining since it is ‘refined’, but you have to wonder why someone would think to process the sh*t out of it and slather it on babies. WHY?! Oh right, it’s cheap.

Mineral oil is inexpensive and easy to manufacture, it glides on well and provides a barrier of moisture on top of the skin. But don’t be fooled, it’s not so much that it moisturizes; rather, it forms an oily coat that won’t allow moisture out or in,  effectively trapping any water already in your skin. Chances are if you pick up a lotion or a cream and peek at the ingredients, mineral oil (or paraffin, a derivative) will be the first or second ingredient up there. It’s EVERYWHERE. Here’s why I’m no longer cool with it.

You have a choice to not use these cheap and crappy products on yourself. There are so many natural moisturizers that do a better job of moisturizing and are much healthier to use. A few include sweet almond oil, safflower seed oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil/cream, avocado oil, lanolin (wool wax), shea butter, mango butter, goat’s milk, bees wax… and on and on. We forget that our skin is an organ, our BIGGEST organ, and it absorbs up to 80% of what we put on it. Do you really want your skin to absorb a bunch of petroleum derivative? I’m not saying that it necessarily causes disease, because cosmetic grade mineral oil has been tested and cleared of that risk, but the idea is so unappealing to me, especially if sweet almond is an alternative. I really invite you to think about this the next time you go shopping for your next lipstick or face cream or body lotion. What you decorate yourself with should also be healthy for you, don’t you think?

Did this convince you, or are you still on that baby oil hype?

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