Do you read and research the ingredients of the skincare that you use? How often do you see Parrafinum Liquidum (scientific name for Mineral Oil) listed as one of the main ingredients? The chances are that a lot of your skincare will include this ingredient, including babycare products.
The official description of Mineral oil by the Health and Consumers department of European Commission is :
“White mineral oil (petroleum) a highly refined petroleum mineral oil consisting of a complex combination of hydrocarbons obtained from the intensive treatment of a petroleum fraction with sulfuric acid and oleum, or by hydrogenation, or by a combination of hydrogenation and acid treatment”.
Mineral oil does not come from minerals, but from petroleum. Liquidum paraffinum, Paraffin oil, Paraffin wax and Petrolatum are some of the names for Mineral Oils and many cosmetic products on the market contain it. Mineral oils are extracted from crude oil sources in the ground, it is composed entirely from hydrogen and carbon. Most often Mineral oil is a liquid by product of a distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum based products. So basically, it is a product of a petroleum industry. From an environmental perspective, as a by product of a petrochemical industry, mineral oils are not very eco friendly products to use, as they are non renewable resources that contribute to our dependence on fossil fuels. When you use skincare with mineral oils you create a demand for it, which in term adds to the damage that the oil industry is adding to the planet. It is definitely not a green material.
Many companies use mineral oil in their skincare products due to its low cost and wide availability and it is usually these same companies that praise mineral oil as a great cosmetic ingredient. In order for it to be used in a cosmetic product, it goes through a heavy refining process, however there is a concern that there may be left still impurities from the petro chemical industry.
Mineral oils are ‘dead ‘ inert substances – they have very little smell and colour and contain no active compounds that contribute to the formulation. Applying mineral oil to the skin coats it , rather than integrates with the natural skin oils . Mineral oil , does not get absorbed by the skin and just sits on the skin as a barrier, which intern clogs the pores of the skin. Botanical plant oils on the other hand are ‘living’ active ingredients and therefore bring benefits to the formulation that have active effects on the skin. Botanical plant oils absorb well and allow the skin to breathe. There are however, some medical skin conditions, where the use of mineral oils could be useful, such as times where an oil should sit on the skin’s surface, creating a barrier. Mineral oils can be the choice for people with very sensitive skins, as it is so inert that you are unlikely to have any reaction from it.
The point I am trying to make here is once again the importance of reading the ingredients of your skincare products and being able to make a conscious decision of whether it is something that you would like to be putting onto your skin. We have the knowledge and access to the information these days, that we didn’t have even 20 years ago and this gives us a great advantages of being able to make these decisions , based on what we know. There are so many beautiful alternatives to use in everyday skincare , rather than mineral oils. In most cases natural alternatives can work as well and can offer the benefits and nourishment that you don’t get from mineral oils. Do your own research and be aware of what you put on you skin .
Love Anna x