Mineral Oil is used in a wide variety of skincare and cosmetic products for its moisturizing properties, but lately this ingredient is getting a bad reputation and many are recommending to avoid it at all costs. But what’s the truth? Is Mineral Oil really that bad for skin or is its ill reputation undeserved?
What is mineral oil?
Mineral Oil is a colorless and odorless oil derived from petroleum, which is a natural substance extracted from the earth. There are several grades of Mineral Oil and the type used in cosmetics, called Cosmetic Grade Mineral Oil, is highly purified, not carcinogenic and doesn’t even resemble petroleum anymore.
Why is mineral oil used in beauty products?
Mineral Oil is used in many cosmetics and skincare products because it is inexpensive, rarely causes allergies or irritations and is considered to be one of the best moisturizing ingredients available. It creates a protective barrier on the skin that binds moisture in and prevents water loss, keeping skin hydrated. In addition, it has effective wound healing properties.
Does Mineral Oil clog pores?
Because Mineral Oil is an occlusive agent that forms a barrier on the surface, many people think it suffocates skin and clogs pores. But scientific studies have shown that, while Industrial Mineral Oil is comedogenic, Cosmetic Grade Mineral Oil isn’t. However, Mineral Oil should never be used in products that contain comedogenic ingredients or it’ll trap them into the skin, aggravating their effects and causing breakouts. In addition, those who suffer from acne should be careful when using products with Mineral Oil, as this ingredient can worsen this condition in some people. In this case, use of this ingredient should be avoided.
Mineral Oil and Collagen
Another misconception about Mineral Oil is that the occlusive barrier it creates doesn’t allow the collagen present in some skincare products to penetrate the skin. But collagen molecules wouldn’t be absorbed by the skin anyway simply because they are too big to penetrate it. Mineral Oil has no effect on them at all.
So, is mineral oil really bad for skin?
No, it isn’t. Products with mineral oil are safe, inexpensive, well tolerated by most people and effective at moisturizing the skin. Just don’t expect more than that. But unless your skin reacts badly to Mineral Oil there is no reason to stop using it. However, be careful not to use it in conjunction with comedogenic ingredients or breakouts could occur.