Almost everyone has heard of or used petroleum jelly at some point in their lives. It is one of the most versatile gels to keep in the home. One of the many uses is to help skin appear fresh and moist – the sheen it produces can emulate the same appearance as using a highlighter would – producing that glowy, dewy look. By forming a protective barrier layer it can keep moisture from escaping, giving it a more hydrated appearance. There are many potential uses, but there are also some side effects to think about before taking the plunge. Read on to learn about some of its uses, benefits, and possibly negative side effects.
How Does Vaseline Affect the Skin?
Many moisturizers, including Vaseline, work by forming a protective barrier on the skin. This stops moisture from escaping throughout the day and during sleep. Water is a necessary component of the healing process, so scars and acne spots can heal while under a protective layer.
On top of healing scars, Vaseline can also make skin appear more hydrated and therefore more youthful. Petroleum jelly, or petrolatum, is derived from oil and purified three times before hitting the shelves. Other brands of petroleum jelly may have different purification procedures.
Vaseline is non-comedogenic, meaning that it does not clog pores. Its gentle nature, availability, and low cost could make it a good long-term method to fight visible aging, i.e. sagging skin and wrinkles.
How to Apply Vaseline Before Bed
There’s no special method or fancy tools needed to apply Vaseline before bed. Just apply a thin layer to the entire face and neck, either with a clean brush or clean fingers. Some individuals prefer to sleep on a hand towel after applying Vaseline to avoid a greasy pillowcase. Oil can stain some materials.
The amount of Vaseline to apply varies depending on an individual’s dryness level, skin sensitivity, and intended results. It’s best to wash off any remaining Vaseline in the morning then use your normal moisture, as the thickness of Vaseline can cause greasy skin throughout the day.
It’s best to start small when applying a product that can be so heavy and greasy. Begin with a small, dime-sized dollop in your hand, apply it all over the face and neck, and increase the amount as desired. It is also important to wash your face before applying petroleum jelly – its ability to lock in moisture can also mean that it is locking in bacteria or other acne-causing irritants.
Pros of Applying Vaseline
Petroleum jelly and Vaseline have been used topically for over 150 years. It is a common household staple in the United States. Smooth, youthful-looking skin is one of the most notable benefits of applying Vaseline. Others include:
- Pain and Itch Relief From Skin Conditions
- Prevent Blisters
- Winter Protection From Cold Air and Runny Nose Irritation
There are many more non-facial uses, including:
- Pet Paw Protection
- Soothe Diaper Rash
- Gentle Makeup Remover
- Hemorrhoid Relief
- Cuticle Care
People can get creative about how they choose to use Vaseline, so it can be entertaining to keep an eye out for new trends and novel uses. Though petroleum jelly is an old, trusted, and generally safe product, there are some risks and negative effects that should be considered as well.
Cons of Applying Vaseline
Every topical product comes with a set of risks – mainly, allergic reaction. The risk of allergic reaction with Vaseline is particularly low, but not impossible. A good way to avoid a large-scale allergic reaction or rash development is to test out a small amount before lathering it on. Do this by grabbing just a fingernail-sized lump of jelly and apply it to an area of the skin that is less visible, like the inner wrist or thigh. Wait 24 hours, and if there is no reaction you are ready to try Vaseline treatments. If a rash or redness develops, discontinue use.
Besides an allergic reaction, there are other potentially negative consequences to Vaseline. As mentioned before, it can actually cause breakouts because it is greasy and could be trapping acne-causing agents on the skin. If a breakout occurs after trying Vaseline on the face, wash it off and stop using it for this reason. Breakouts are different from allergic reactions, so it should generally still be safe to use for non-facial endeavors.
Some of the negative press surrounding Vaseline includes the word carcinogen – yes, the notoriously cancer-causing chemicals – because the oil it is derived from contains known carcinogens. But the purification process removes these, rendering it safe for use. It is important to use reputable brands that undergo product testing to ensure that the product is safe for topical use.
Another negative consequence is that the jelly can become accumulated in the lungs. This can happen when it is used to soothe the nose during a cold or flu, as it is most often applied to the tip of the nose where it is inhaled microscopically with every breath. Children are particularly susceptible to this accumulation, which can lead to lipoid or aspiration pneumonia. This can be prevented by limiting jelly application to outdoor time, when it is most needed, or discontinuing frequent use.
Vaseline, a brand for petroleum jelly, has been on the shelves for over 150 years, and for good reason – it is a versatile and affordable product – the list of things you can do with petroleum jelly seems almost infinite. Though it is tried-and-true for many, it’s important to be aware of the risks and potential side effects of any product, especially if it is used on children and babies. As useful it can be to have around the house, there may be negative consequences for sensitive skin. Many of us are searching for a way to look younger, and Vaseline might be a good option to hydrate skin for that youthful glow. Doing your research is the first step in finding out if it would be a good match for you.