Does Vaseline Help Acne? – The Petroleum Jelly That You Don’t Want on Your Sensitive Skin!

Your grandma used it and your mom, too. They passed on the tradition to you, and now you use Vaseline for your skin. Dermatologists recommend petroleum jelly for dry skin, especially during winter. So, does Vaseline help acne?

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline seem to be the wonder-fix for everything, to rub on metallic parts, motors, lawn mowers, electric sewers, bicycles, doors handles. Is something rusty? Vaseline! Hear the door squeaking? Vaseline. Acne? Vasel… Hey! Stop, not on your face! Your skin is not a metal.

Would you smear your face with a product you put in metallic hardware? We don’t think so. Your skin is far too sensitive and precious for that. Moreover, studies show that Vaseline, a petroleum derivative, can be harmful to the skin.

What Is Vaseline?

Vaseline is a petroleum derivative, a byproduct of the oil refining process. It can be found under these names, too: petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, multi-hydrocarbon. It is basically made of petroleum jelly, with a mix of mineral oils and paraffin wax.

Being a petroleum byproduct, it is neither sustainable nor ecological.

The inventor of Vaseline, who patented it in 1872, extracted it from the unrefined, black ‘rod wax” residue of oil which was deposited at the bottom of the oilrig pumps. He distilled it into a gel-like, thin, light product.

Vaseline is hydrophobic, means it repels water, which is why it is used as a protective barrier and anti-corrosive on metal parts. It protects the metal from water. No drop of water can penetrate through the Vaseline layer.

It is generally used as:

Anti-corrosive, to protect non-stainless metal parts: motors for boats and yachts (as it works great underwater), brakes, wheels, blades, rods, etc.

Wood and leather sealer and waterproof, to protect them from water (bicycles saddles, boots, clothing, shoes). You know that “wax” you buy to give your shoes shine and protect from rain? That’s it.

Lubricant for machinery, zippers, sliders, doors, handles, motors, chains, etc.

Petroleum jelly is very hard to remove and it needs harsh chemicals to clean, such as paint thinners or other petroleum solvents like acetone, alcohol. Vaseline can’t be removed with water or soap! It sticks to the skin, and of course, it traps dust, dirt, and microbes, thus leading to breakouts.

Basically, it doesn’t moisturize skin and it doesn’t bring any nutrients, instead, it seals the pores, preventing moisture to go out. So, nothing going out, and nothing comes in. That’s not a good thing.

Why Vaseline is Not Good for Acne?

Petroleum jelly is considered generally safe, but the goopy, blobby, translucent jelly can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and may pose mild to serious health risks, over long, daily use. PAHs are banned for use in cosmetics in Canada and Europe.

So, for acne-prone people, Vaseline (petrolatum, petroleum jelly, mineral oil, or paraffin) is not a good idea, as it will trigger exactly what they want to get rid of in the first place.

· Is a petroleum derivative and it’s highly processed, refined, and filtered, undergoing various changes.

· It’s not eco-friendly, in fact, it’s a hazard for the environment. Not sustainable, either.

· It can’t be cleaned out from the skin with water or soap, only with harsh chemicals like acetone or isopropyl alcohol.

· It seals the pores, nothing goes out or in. It just puts the cap on and that’s not good for acne-prone skin, you know it. Your skin needs to breathe, to evacuate toxins, sebum, dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria. If they remain inside, trapped, it will result in more acne.

· It can’t be metabolized by your skin. It just stays there, outside of your skin layer, on top of it.

· It has no nutrients (minerals, vitamins, etc.) and therefore, it doesn’t bring any precious nutrients to the skin. In fact, it only brings refined petrochemicals on the skin.

· It has an increased risk of cancer, a toxicity hazard for the human organism, and on a scale from 0 to 10, it scored 9 by the Environmental World Group (EWG).

· It forms a sealing cap, a waterproof film over your skin, exuding a false sensation of skin comfort and hydration, when, in fact, it doesn’t moisturize or heal the skin.

· Being like a choker over your skin, it blocks skin regeneration, slows down the collagen production, and thus, contribute to aging.

More Health Risks of Vaseline

There is strong evidence that mineral oils hydrocarbons (which are used to produce Vaseline) are toxic and they build up and accumulate in the fat tissue of our body.

Recent findings show that mineral paraffin was found in milk fat of breastfeeding moms and in the fat tissue extracted from the C-sections, raising concerns that the petroleum derivatives are passed on to the baby.

Refined petroleum products have shown high estrogenic effects and endocrine-disrupting potential, leading to estrogen dominance, which is exactly your hormonal acne doesn’t need.

Petroleum derivatives may contain 1,4 dioxane, a toxic chemical with carcinogenic risk. Combined with the estrogenic dominance, you get a pretty nasty cocktail in your body, which is highly damaging for your health.

If you accidentally inhale petroleum jelly through your nose (told you not to smear it on your face and in your nose), you may experience dyspnea and pulmonary infiltrates, a so-called exogenous lipoid pneumonia, infection, respiratory insufficiency, etc.

Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Industries claim that Vaseline is good for your skin and not harmful, but so they did about parabens, phthalates, phenols, etc. and now these have been proven to be very toxic for our health, and thus, removed from health and skin care products.

Even if seem to work for wound healing, as actually the petroleum jelly seals the wound and doesn’t let bacteria and dirt from coming in, preventing it from getting infected, it’s not good for the skin, overall. There are other, natural, safer, eco-friendly and skin-friendly alternatives that can be used long-term for dry, sensitive, acne-prone skin.

It is true that some people use if for years without problems, while others can’t even get closer to petroleum derivatives, as they get rashes, eczema, allergies, irritation, and mild to severe breakouts.

Healthier Alternatives to Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly for Acne-prone Skin

The wisest thing to do, if you have a sensitive, dry, allergenic, acne-prone skin, is to find safer, healthier, natural alternatives to Vaseline, like cold-pressed vegetable butters and oils, or even petroleum-free skin care products.

  • Jojoba oil has a structure similar to the human sebum, which makes it a happy choice for your acne-prone skin.
  • Shea butter used alone on your skin or in combinations with other natural ingredients is rich in vitamins A, E, F, fatty acids, minerals, nutrients. It nourishes and moisturizes the skin, stimulates collagen production, soothes redness and inflammation, makes the skin soft.
  • Almond Oil
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Beeswax or other vegetable, vegan-friendly wax


Does Vaseline help acne? Not at all, maybe dry skin and wounds, but not helping with treating or healing acne scars. Vaseline does what you need to avoid:

  • clogging pores
  • not letting the skin breathe
  • ​not letting dead skin shed
  • ​not letting excess sebum come out of the pores
  • ​preventing collagen formation and clean healing of the acne scars
  • blocking the regeneration process of the skin at the surface.

When a highly refined, processed, filtered products such as Vaseline has been raising concern, would you risk your health for it, when the healthier possibilities are multiple?

Millions of health advocates and health enthusiasts around the world are slowly switching from petrochemical derivatives, parabens, artificial colorants, synthetic fragrances, phthalates filled and animal tested beauty and skin care products to natural alternatives.

Would you care (so much for your health and happiness) to join the daily growing number of conscious people, too?

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