Vaseline is a petroleum jelly brand most people use to make their skin soft. Although this habit is considered safe, experts are warning against it, and have related it to a variety of serious health problems.

Vaseline and similar petroleum jelly products are often used to soften the skin on the hands or protect the lips from harsh winter conditions. It is by far the most popular petroleum jelly brand, but maybe it’s time we stop using it after scientists have revealed that it may cause cancer. Plus, there are several safer natural products you can use to soften your skin.

Jojoba oil, almond oil, shea butter and coconut oil all contain compounds which are beneficial for our skin and have no side-effects at all. These oils are cheap and easily available, and many of us already have them in our home.

How does Vaseline harm the skin?

Petroleum jelly is derived from oil drill residue which is later refined. It is most often used in cosmetic products, liquid paraffin, paraffin oil and mineral oils. When applied on the skin, it forms a protective layer that keeps the skin moist, but instead of protecting it, it suffocates the skin and increases the risk of various problems. According to experts, frequent use of petroleum jelly can cause skin problems such as rosacea and acne.

On the other hand, using natural oils won’t harm your skin and will even protect it from bacteria and other threats. Although experts suggest avoiding petroleum jelly, many doctors still recommend it. Dr. Alexa Kimball from the Medical University of Stanford, petroleum jelly is great for the skin and doesn’t provoke any problems. Dr. Weil from the same university agrees with this view and consider petroleum jelly completely safe.

Risks of using petroleum jelly

Here’s a list of the negative effects of petroleum jelly:

Poisons the body

Several studies suggest that petroleum jelly can’t be metabolized by our body which recognizes it as a toxin. The jelly contains hydrocarbon, a harmful compound that can poison all our tissues, increasing the risk of several serious diseases.

Disrupts the levels of estrogen in the body

Estrogen is one of the main female hormones responsible for regulating the function of the reproductive system and mood as well.  Petroleum jelly can disrupt the normal estrogen levels in the blood, resulting in higher levels of the hormone and problems in the endocrine system.

Increases the risk of cancer

According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, most of the beauty products that contain petroleum jelly also contain 1.4 dioxane, a carcinogenic compound. About 22% of the most popular skin care products have this compound which has been related to various types of cancer. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding Vaseline, which is why it’s best to stay away from it.


Using Vaseline and other petroleum jelly products increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis. The jelly does this by disturbing the normal pH balance of the vagina and increasing its acidity, resulting in the aforementioned problems.

Lipoid pneumonia

Inhaling petroleum jelly can cause a disease known as lipoid pneumonia, a specific form of lung inflammation which occurs due to lipids entering the bronchial tree.

Bad for your eyes

A study from the University of Maryland discovered that petroleum jelly is poisonous for the eyes, which is why it should be avoided.

Here are some natural alternatives for Vaseline:

Shea butter

Shea butter is great for your skin – it’s derived from shea nuts and is usually not refined. Shea butter is rich in vitamins A and E as well as certain fatty acids and can protect your skin from fungi and bacteria. According to one study, shea butter in the form of nose drops can relieve nasal congestion and doesn’t have any side-effects. It is commonly used to treat eczema, dryness and wrinkles.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has powerful antibacterial and hydrating properties and can stimulate the production of collagen in your skin which will keep it flexible. Coconut oil hydrates the skin much better than Vaseline, and the lauric acid it contains can retain the moisture within. Studies have shown that the oil is also an anti-inflammatory agent and is great for the hair as well.

Almond oil

Almond oil contains a high amount of vitamin E and can be used against dry skin and eczema. The oil will also make your skin look younger and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil can hydrate your skin and works great for any skin type. It is an emollient that prevents skin damage and accelerates the healing of wounds.

Avocado oil

The avocado oil is a rich source of vitamin B12 and can be used against skin inflammation. It can also eliminate wrinkles and accelerate the healing of wounds, and consuming it on a daily basis can regulate your cholesterol levels and relieve inflammation in the body.

Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil contains a variety of nutrients important for the skin such as antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids and vitamins A and C. The oil can hydrate your skin and remove swelling and redness, while treating problems such as rosacea, sunburns, psoriasis and acne.

Cocoa butter

Cocoa butter can prevent numerous skin problems. People most often use it against psoriasis, acne and even skin cancer, but it can also be used as lip balm and anti-stretch marks cream.

Honey, olive oil and beeswax

A mixture of these 3 ingredients can eliminate fungi on your skin and reduce itchiness and swelling. People who have tried it say that it’s a great natural treatment for psoriasis as well.

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