Mineral Oil in Moisturizing Products: Good or Bad?

Someone told me that mineral oil is bad for your skin and that although it provides a temporary softness, overall it actually dries your skin out. But most lotions and moisturizing creams, as well as tons of other products, contain mineral oil. Is this true? If so, what is a better alternative to all of the many products that contain mineral oil?

I put this in IMHO because I thought this may be a matter of opinion. But if anyone has any solid facts, they would be much appreciated as well.

Just about any vegetable oil is better for your skin than mineral oil.

Yes, it really will ultimately dry your skin. Also, it clogs the pores. Companies basically use it because it’s cheap and oily, and creates a temporary moisturizing effect.

If you don’t have allergies, nut oils or seed oils are wonderful for your skin. Hell, I just use cooking oil. Well, not on my face, because it’s well, oily. Apricot kernel oil and almond oil are really nice, and smell great, too. (Don’t tell Lurkmeister, but I used Crisco vegetable oil for his massage…)

Also, most drugstores carry pure glycerin. Dilute it with about 2-3 parts water to one part glycerine, it does wonders, and it’s not oily so you can use it on your face. Has real staying power, too. It’s also really cheap, compared to some of the moisturizing creams an lotions on the market. Look on the very, very bottom shelf of the cream/lotion aisle.

I second Asbestos Mango. I sell handmade soaps and lotions, so I have a fair amount of experience with which oils work well on skin, and which do not.

Most traditional over the counter moisturizing products contain mineral oil, which is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. Mineral oil is abundant (which makes it inexpensive) and does not spoil, so it is often used in beauty products.

In my experience, mineral oil based lotions do not absorb well, and make me feel greasy all day. Consistent use of mineral oil on the skin can lead to drying, which goes against the reason you’re using a lotion in the first place. The bottom line is to look for products with natural oils. Some oils that absorb well and have moisturizing properties are apricot kernel oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, or even olive oil. Shea butter is also a good emollient. By using products with quality oils, you may find that instead of constantly needing to reapply a lotion for relief of dry skin, you see an actual improvement in your skin condition.

Does or can mineral oil go by other names? I use Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream on my face and I’m wondering if it is mineral oil free. Here are the ingredients as listed on cetaphil.com:

jay-c, I can’t believe I forgot to mention grapeseed oil. It makes a great moiturizing/massage oil. It’s very light and the skin absorbs it fairly quickly. Also, it makes a great carrier for essential oils if you’re into aromatherapy or making your own perfume, because it has virtually no scent of its own.

Petrolatum - a colorless to yellowish-white hydrocarbon mixture obtained by fractional distillation of petroleum. In its jellylike semisolid form (known as petroleum jelly and also by several trade names) it is used in preparing medicinal ointments and for lubrication. As a nearly colorless, highly refined liquid known as liquid petrolatum, liquid paraffin, or mineral oil, it is used as a lubricant, as a laxative, and as a base for nasal sprays.”

From Infoplease. Judging from that, I’d surmise that petrolatum and mineral oil are pretty much the same thing. The Cetaphil ingredients have petrolatum pretty high up on the list. Also, I notice Dimethicone and Dimethiconol listed as well. Some people (myself included) find that Dimethicone breaks them out fairly badly.

The real bitch is that it seems to be the new “thing” to put Dimethicone in skin care products. It’s even in a lot of makeup now, including Bobbi Brown products, which I used to love. For some people, it makes their skin smoother and soft. For others, it clogs pores and causes breakouts from hell.

Is this other stuff, Dimethicone, bad for you as well?

Can you buy glycerin unscented and scent it yourself? Like, perhaps, a couple of spritzes of a perfume or oil that you like mixed in?

Yes. It’s pretty standard for pure glycerine to be unscented, so have at it.

If you live near a swap meet, many of them have a booth where the sell “essential oils” for seven dollars for a 1/8 oz. bottle, which is actually ridiculously cheap. The oils are always highly diluted, and therefore unsuitable for aromatherapy purposes. They are, however, quite nice for making homemade perfumes or scented bath oils. A few drops in your glycerin would be quite lovely, methinks.

Strange. I’ve found that petrolatum/mineral oil (and I *have * seen them listed separately, so I suspect there is some difference there) are the *only * things that work effectively as moisturizers for me (with the possible exception of lanolin). Certainly I’ve found glycerin to be utterly useless for me!

Go figure.

I’m shocked and saddened at the misinformation being thrown around in this thread.

“Petrolatum” and “mineral oil” are most certainly not the same thing. I’m not sure how you jumped to that conclusion. The infoplease entry clearly says that mineral oil is a more highly refined version of common petrolatum. Petrolatum is more commonly known as petroleum jelly or Vaseline, and mineral oil is commonly fragranced and sold as baby oil.

I’d also like to know exactly how mineral oil dries out the skin.

“Natural oils” can indeed make wonderful moisturizers. But to say “natural” is always better than not is naive and willfully ignorant. No, dimethicone isn’t “bad for you.” It works wonderfully for some, and not so well for others. Just like anything else.