Spotlight on bullshit ingredient mineral oil
Those who have been following BEAUTSY for a while know that we are not fans of mineral oil. This residual product of petroleum is often used in skincare because it is a cheap base oil. By using mineral oil, beauty brands can keep the prices of their moisturizers low. But is mineral oil really such a good thing for your skin? We don't think so. In this article, we discuss mineral oil and our views on this type of oil.
What exactly is mineral oil?
Mineral oil is basically a mixture of refined liquid hydrocarbons, and a by-product of the petroleum industry. In skincare, mineral oil is labelled as petroleum, petrolatum, petroleum destillates, paraffin or paraffinum liquidum. Many beauty brands choose mineral oil because it is a cheap oil that serves as an inexpensive filler in a moisturiser. Yes, mineral oil makes a cream spread well and feels quite comfortable on the skin, but you won't find any valuable ingredients in it that do anything for your skin. So, apart from spreadability, mineral oil has no positive effect on your skin in our eyes.
The effect of mineral oil in skincare
Mineral oil seals the skin, so nothing can enter or leave the skin. This is very nice when you have an open wound that you want to close with petroleum jelly, a product rich in mineral oil. Treating a wound with petroleum jelly seals the skin and keeps bacteria out. If you ask us, petroleum jelly is one of the few valuable uses of mineral oil in hospitals. Looking for a moisturiser? Then mineral oil is not for you. Because mineral oil seals the skin, the pores are blocked and pimples can develop more easily. It also traps bad things in the skin, such as nitrogen. Finally, petroleum and paraffin are great at attracting dirt. And we don't want that.
Even more disadvantages
You've probably know that you can become addicted to lip balm. Yep, it's a thing. Many balms contain mineral oil and that's bad news for your lips because they become dependent on it. Using a lip balm with mineral oil can actually dry out your lips because mineral oil dissolves the natural oils in your skin, including your lips. The result: you start applying more lip balm and eventually you can't live without your mineral oil lip balm.
What do the proponents say?
Few ingredients are as controversial as mineral oil. In the world of skincare this cheap oil has many supporters. Especially dermatologists and researchers, including Jetske Ultee, see no harm in the oil. What they claim is that sealing off the skin prevents moisture from escaping, making mineral oil a hydrating oil. Mineral oils would also strengthen the skin barrier and reduce the risk of skin irritations. Last but not least, mineral oil fans claim that mineral oil does not cause pimples. Yes, we can agree with the moisturizing properties. But mineral oil also prevents the bad substances from escaping. And that is not what you hear from the proponents.
An alternative to mineral oil
So we skip products with mineral oil and much rather choose oils, serums and moisturisers based on vegetable oils. Oils with essential fatty acids and antioxidants that do something for your skin. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids hydrate and protect your skin without sealing it off - in our opinion, the only way to go. Vegetable oils also contain antioxidants that protect your skin against free radicals, skin ageing and pigmentation. Why go for a bullshit oil like mineral oil when you can benefit from natural and organic oils that do add something?
Do you use a cream, cleanser or other skincare product with mineral oil and does your skin react well to it? That's great! Of course, we leave the choice to switch to vegetable oils instead of mineral oils up to you - we hope this article has given you some insight in our vision on this type of oil.