Should You Use Petroleum Jelly on Your Skin?

It’s amazing how much conflicting information you read on the use of various skin care products. Today we’re going to discuss the facts and fiction out there on the use of petroleum jelly in skin care products. Petroleum jelly may be in the commercial bath and beauty products you buy or in homemade creams and salves. The question is should you use it?

What Is Petroleum Jelly?

You probably already know that petroleum jelly, often known as Vaseline, comes from petroleum, the same stuff that gasoline powered vehicles use. It’s a semi solid refined version.

Should Petroleum Jelly Be Used On Your Skin?

Let’s think about that for just a minute. Consider that petroleum jelly is not soluble in water or alcohol. It takes dichloromethane, chloroform, benzene, diethyl ether, carbon disulfide or turpentine to dissolve it. It also won’t melt unless you have a mighty hefty fever of around 167 F (75 C).

I doubt there’s a goddess out there that wants to use benzene or turpentine to remove petroleum jelly from her skin. Recently petroleum jelly has come under scrutiny as a possible carcinogen. There is no evidence of this directly, however if the petroleum jelly isn’t manufactured to the strictest standard, cancer causing impurities may be present.

So, how do you know if the petroleum jelly you buy is pure? It should tell you on the label. Can you believe a label? If the product is from a well known manufacturer, you can probably believe what the label says. Notice I said probably. To be sure, I purchase therapeutic grade or medical grade petroleum jelly.

Will it kill you if you use it? No. Will it clog your pores? Yes. Do you really want to apply a cream to your skin that clogs your pores? Probably not. For you mom goddesses out there, it also clogs the pores on you baby’s skin.

What Are Those Special Circumstances When Petroleum Jelly Might be Used?

In each of the following situations, I would only use petroleum jelly if I didn’t happen to have a good plant based alternative on hand.

  • If you have a situation where you absolutely want to keep all water away from your skin.
  • I have used it on my hands when I plan to paint with oil based paint. It makes any spots easier to remove without harsh chemicals.
  • It can also be used as a personal lubricant. You just don’t want to use it along with condoms. Petroleum jelly and condoms don’t play well together and the condom can develop a leak. Not a good idea unless you want to become a new mom.
  • You can extend the life of your perfume by putting a small spot of petroleum jelly on your wrists and then apply your perfume.
  • Add petroleum jelly to your cuticles before applying nail polish to prevent the polish from running.

Is There an Alternative to Petroleum Jelly?

The answer to that is a resounding yes. A skin protecting cream can be made using plant based products. Thousands of home crafters make their own skin protectant creams from natural plant based products. Frankly, I think this is the way to go for three reasons: one, I believe it’s a healthier alternative, two, I don’t have to worry about the truthfulness on the label, and three, I don’t think the oil companies need my support. They will do just fine without me using a refinery byproduct on my skin.


Petroleum jelly alias Vaseline has been used for a long time for all sorts of things. One use was for burns until it was discovered that it made burns worse by holding in the heat. The only reason I bring that up is to demonstrate that just because a product has been in use for a long time doesn’t mean it’s good. To be fair, it doesn’t mean it’s bad either. However, in the case of petroleum jelly I believe a good barrier cream from a plant based product is the best to use on our skin.

Now go have fun and relax.

Related Articles:

Sodium Benzoate Dangers

The Best Hand Cream

How to Preserve Your Bath and Body Creations

22 thoughts on “Should You Use Petroleum Jelly on Your Skin?

  1. i regret shaving my legs and my mom told me not to shave it again and my cousin sudjest me to use petroleum jelly to soften my legs and to prevent thickness of hair is this true ? Any sudjestions please? What should i use or do to soften and smoothen my legs without shaving again nor waxing? Any home remedies? Thanks. 🙂 by the way im only 15 yrs. Old

    1. Hi young goddess,

      Shaving does not make hair grow out darker, thicker, courser or longer. What shaving does is blunt the end of the hair shaft making it appear more course. That goes away as you let your hair grow out.

      Petroleum jelly will have no effect on the thickness of hair on your legs, however it will soften the hair in much the same way that natural oils soften the hair on your head. I suggest you use alternatives to petroleum jelly such as coconut oil, olive oil or a good quality organic cream.

      To have smooth legs will require the removal of hair. If you choose not to shave or wax, the other alternatives are depilatory creams and permanent hair removal. Permanent hair removal involves using light or electricity to destroy cells beneath the skin that are responsible for hair growth.

      Hope I’ve answered your questions.

    1. Petroleum jelly does not help remove old scars and the only way it helps a wound from making a new scar is by keeping the skin moist.

      In fact, there is little evidence that the expensive anti-scar products sold on the market work any better.

    1. The only way to actually and permanently remove wrinkles is through surgery. That said, you can do much to diminish wrinkles and prevent new ones. A healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise helps. Using a good moisturizing cream and keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water is also helpful. Excess stress is hard on your whole body including your skin so a good system for controlling stress is a good idea.

      We have other posts to help keep those wrinkles at bay here are a few:

      Two Awesome Anti-wrinkle Creams You Can Make Yourself
      Forever Young Face Cream
      The 11 Steps to Beautiful Skin
      Jojoba Oil – What You Need to Know
      Spa From Scratch Declares War!!!
      The Path to Ultimate Stress Relief
      Really Good and Really Quick Stress Relief Techniques
      Stress Relief Strategies

      1. Well, one calls a ham saidnwch a ham saidnwch regardless of what kind of condiment is added. One doesn’t usually say a ham and mayonnaise saidnwch. I think of jelly as a condiment .therefore, to be correct, I would say that one would call a saidnwch having peanut butter as the most substantive ingredient simply a peanut butter saidnwch .regardless of what condiment is used to enhance the peanut butter.

    1. What kind of black spots? Do you mean moles, warts or the dark brown spots often referred to as “liver spots?”

      Generally, therapeutic grade petroleum jelly is considered safe to use on your skin.

    1. No it won’t make your hair thicker. It may appear that way because the thickness of petroleum jelly will cause the strands of your hair to clump together. Check the other posts on hair care for good ideas on improving the condition of your hair.

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