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Ingredient Spotlight: Minerial Oil for Skincare

Jared Fallon
Ingredient Spotlight: Minerial Oil for Skincare
Never before have we had such a multitude of products for our skin to choose from. Weeding through the ingredient lists can be overwhelming. Today we are putting a spotlight on mineral oil. It is a common ingredient in many, many skin care items and there is much discussion about whether it is good for our bodies’ largest organ or not. 
pennyRae chooses to not put it into any of our products. Mineral oil, while highly purified, still usually contains at least 20% of toxic contaminants. According to the Environmental Working Group, "These trace contaminants in petroleum-based ingredients often readily penetrate the skin according to government and industry studies, and their presence in products is not restricted by government safety standards — they are legal at any level."
Furthermore, use of mineral oil exacerbates hormonal imbalances (and many of us have enough troubles with this already, do we not?) and produces long term exposure of estrogenic effects (2011 Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Reports).
A myth of mineral oil is that is moisturizes and nourishes our skin. It does not. It does form a physical barrier to reduce moisture loss, but it clogs pores and does not feed, nurture, or moisturize us. There are so many better options to choose from and they do not clog our pores and that does feed, nourish, and truly moisturize our skin. Some of these include shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.  Worried about that protective barrier? Products with beeswax and cocoa butter will help with that, although you may need to apply them a little more frequently than the mineral oil-containing products. 
Now, back to that overwhelming list of ingredients…mineral oil is known by many names. This list includes petroleum jelly, petrolatum, liquid paraffin, paraffin oil, baby oil, and white oil.  Be wise with your choices and consider taking your time while reading skincare ingredient lists.
For further reading, visit the Environmental Working Group’s coverage on mineral oil, Dr. Ray Peat’s research on mineral oil’s impact on hormones, and Beauty Editor’s top reasons one should avoid using mineral oil topically on a regular basis.