Headed towards back to the basics living.

Petroleum Jelly Concerns

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Petroleum Jelly. Brand name, Vaseline. You know, that whitish yellowy slippery goo that gets slathered on people’s cuts and burns, dry cracked lips and chapped noses. It’s everywhere and in many cosmetics here in America. It was listed as one of “4 skin helpers every baby should have” recently in American Baby magazine. (I will leave my growing dislike for their product recommendations for another day.) Actually, to quote the magazine it said:

“Try: Vaseline or Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Why: They’re the best  (and safest) remedies for dryness. ‘Nobody is allergic to petrolatum,’ Dr Berk says. ‘It has been the favorite of most pediatric dermatologists for years.’ “

This actually had me chuckling to myself. While this statement might be technically true-an allergy is defined as the body’s MISGUIDED reaction to a foreign substance that is usually harmless-it certainly doesn’t give an accurate full picture of some of the concerns related to petroleum jelly (pj).

When I first read the above statement my first thought was “Are they serious? Petroleum jelly is related to petrolatum-not good.” But I really didn’t know any more than the fact that it wasn’t considered “natural.” So I did some research. I was a little surprised and somewhat reassured as well as concerned with what I was able to find.

Besides the fact that pj causes a barrier to be formed on the skin and doesn’t let the skin breath and toxins are not able to get out, there are apparently two big concerns related to pj. One of the biggest concerns with pj is not with the petroleum jelly itself but rather the manufacturing process. While being processed  petroleum jelly is open to contamination from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, common contaminants known as PAHs, which have been linked to breast cancer. Um, hello, no thank you, I’ll pass on that one.

Another big concern is how the pj is used. It is in many of our products in America. I specify America because it has actually been banned in cosmetics in various countries including Europe. The problem is that its known it should not be consumed internally, but when you put pj in lipsticks and baby lotions and other cosmetics you can see how it would be hard not to consume it internally. Um, yuck!

So, if your alert antenna just went up a little like mine did and your thinking why not just avoid the whole possibility to begin with then there are a couple of ideas to get you started in that direction.

  1. First, begin with reading the labels on your cosmetics and try to purchase those that have natural ingredients listed such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and olive oil.
  2. There is also a product called “Un-petroleum Jelly”. Made of natural ingredients you might want to try. You can get it here through
  3. I also recently found a book called “Better Basics for the Home.” It’s loaded with “recipes” for making natural homemade  concoctions so you know exactly what you are using on and in your body and in your home. Here’s the recipe I found for homemade non-petroleum jelly:
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1/2 ounce of beeswax (find it online here or at a natural/herbal type store)
  • 12 drops of grapefruit seed extract (find it online here or at a natural/herbal type store)

To Make: combine the oil and beeswax in a double boiler and place over medium heat until the wax is melted. Remove from heat, add grapefruit seed extract and mix with a hand or electric mixer until creamy.

This takes about half and hour to prepare and stores for about a year in a glass jar with a lid.

If you try this I would love to hear about it! My plate is pretty full these days with projects to complete before DD is born so I will probably start with the Un-Petroleum Jelly sold online and then when I have more time-maybe when I run  out of that-I will try my hand at making my own.Will have to let you know how that turns out!


So here’s to lowering the risk of breast cancer for all women, self-sufficiency and the satisfaction of knowing that knowledge is in fact power.


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