Beauty Talk: Mineral Oils in Cosmetics

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In this week’s beauty talk, expert Keshia Caudron explains what mineral oils are. Among other things, you’ll read where they come from and what their role in cosmetics is. She also tells you whether mineral oils are good or bad for your skin.

Beauty is power and make up enhances it; it’s a woman’s secret!

Mineral Oils?

They are extracted from petroleum. When petroleum is distilled, paraffin is created as a by-product. Mineral oil is a cheap raw material that is added as a fat so that a cream lubricates well. It stays on the skin as a sealing layer. This is why dry damaged skins are initially very happy with a mineral oil. Because it seals the skin barrier, it prevents moisture from evaporating from the skin. If too much water evaporates, the skin becomes very dry and can be damaged.

What about the pores?

You might think that by sealing the skin the pores are clogged, but in fact no. The sebum can get out of the pores easily. There are drawbacks to mineral oils, though. They protect the skin so well that your own skin becomes lazy with longer use of these ingredients.

How our skin works: when your body notices that there is a shortage of a certain substance, it sends a signal to the brain and replenishes that substance. But if you use a mineral oil daily, moisture loss is so well avoided that your brain never gets these signals of dryness. Your body then decides to reduce the production of moisture and fat in the skin. As a result, cellular processes deteriorate and the skin is no longer able to retain moisture in cells on its own. As a result, your skin can become “addicted” to mineral oils and immediately show signs of dehydration when you stop using them. This habituation can take a few weeks.

Lip balm addiction

A good example of this is the ‘lip balm addiction’, the petroleum jelly you keep applying because if you stop, your lips will immediately crack. You need a lip balm that is going to nourish your skin from the inside out and not just layer it.

Some more examples are:

Petrolatum: Mineral oil, petrolatum, petrolatum jelly, vaseline, liquid petrolatum, white mineral oil, white oil.

Kerosene: Paraffin, paraffinum liquidul, paraffinum subliquidum, liquid paraffin, paraffin oil, isoparafin. 

If you have found one of the following ingredients on your packaging, do not panic immediately. Slowly reduce your use of mineral oils and have a good day cream recommended by a specialist who has analyzed your skin. In this way we can put your own cell processes back to work. This will help you achieve much more in the long run.


So what did we learn today? Mineral oils can be good for the skin, but only if you use the right type and the right products. In need of more beauty secrets? Keep following the beauty column by Keshia every week!

This article has been written by Keshia Caudron

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