Petrolatum: What Is It?

Let’s face it, we live in a consumerist nation. That means we’re inundated with new products every day; we could all stand to benefit from taking the time to learn a little bit about what’s in the items that we use daily. Especially products that come in contact with our bodies, like skin care products. Considering that the scientific link between cigarettes and cancer was discovered in the 1940s and 50s, but only 1/3 of doctors accepted that evidence by the 1960s, it might be prudent to protect yourself from harmful chemicals before scientific consensus is reached. What this means for the layman is that we will have to learn to perform a cost benefit analysis with the data we have available. To that end, let’s go over a common chemical found in makeup products: petrolatum.

What Is It?

Petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, parrafin, and white petrolatum, is what’s known as a semi-solid, meaning it has some characteristics of both liquids and solids. For makeup applications, its ability to both seal in moisture and seal out microorganisms makes it perfect for improving skin health. It is currently used in everything from medical applications to cosmetic products.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Unlike the topic of our previous blog, parabens, where a correlation between the chemical and carcinogenic effects has been found, the FDA is pretty clear that petroleum jelly is safe for intended over the counter use. The risk from petrolatum comes from a different source: impurities from improper manufacturing procedures, specifically polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbins (PAHs).

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbins are carcinogenic, could be toxic in developmental and reproductive growth stages, and can have immunotoxic effects in adults. Unfortunately, they are also everywhere: from anywhere fuel is being burned, to cigarette smoke, to possibly your makeup.

What does this mean for the average girl putting on her makeup? She has a decision to make. While the European Union has passed a law that regulates petrolatum to only products where the full refinement history is known, and can be shown that the petrolatum is not carcinogenic, other countries have been slow to catch up. Unfortunately, that means there is no feasible 100% fail-safe way to know that your products don’t have any PAHs. This leaves the choice up to the individual whether the benefits of petrolatum in makeup products outweigh the possible health risks of PAHs contamination.

Here at Voodoo Makeup, we don’t like to take unnecessary risks, especially when it comes to our clients’ health. That’s why all of our products are gluten, corn, and soy free, and don’t use any petrolatum, parabens, or other potentially dangerous chemicals. In fact, we’ve followed a list given to us by cancer patients with chemicals to avoid, and nixed every single one of them from our products.

We’re proud of the quality of organic makeup products that we offer. Feel free to go over our selection here. If you have any questions about what goes into our products, how they can help you, or just makeup in general, don’t hesitate to give one of our friendly representatives a call; they will be happy to provide you any information they can.