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Daily Dose: What Mineral Oil Really Means


Daily Dose: What Mineral Oil Really Means

Alexis Krauss

Before I knew better, I used to heal my new tattoos with Eucerin Aquaqhor and Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion. I was always told that both products in addition to being "Dermatologist Recommended" were "deeply hydrating" and nourishing for extra-dry, and in my case healing skin. I wasn't told that both of these products are made dominantly from petroleum. Petroleum literally means "rock oil" and is defined by Merriam-Webster as: a kind of oil that comes from below the ground and that is the source of gasoline and other products. Well you guessed it, those "other products" include lotions, shampoos, foundations and lipsticks (just to name a few). The dominant ingredient in Lubriderm's Advanced Therapy lotion is mineral oil and in the Aquaphor, it's petrolatum. Both mineral oil and petrolatum are included in Beautycounter's Never List and in The David Suzuki Foundation's Dirty Dozen. Petrolatum is already classified in the European Union as a carcinogen and has been banned from most cosmetics along with thousands of other hazardous ingredients, many of which are petroleum-based.

It's really no surprise that the United States still allows personal care companies to load up their products with petrochemicals like mineral oil and petrolatum. After all, we are the largest consumers of oil and the petroleum industry is worth billions.

Not only is this lotion full of parabens but its second ingredient is Mineral Oil. Nowhere on the label does Lubriderm advertise that you're rubbing petroleum all over you. Total #beautybullshit!
Not only is this lotion full of parabens but its second ingredient is Mineral Oil. Nowhere on the label does Lubriderm advertise that you're rubbing petroleum all over you. Total #beautybullshit!

As buyers of beauty products we're never encouraged to make the connection between the petroleum we pay for at the pump and the petroleum that's in our lip balm. However, if we really want to consider ourselves conscious consumers, eliminating the petroleum from our makeup bag should be just as big of a priority as switching our homes to renewable energy. No one better articulates the ubiquity of our dependence on fossil fuels and the importance of ending our addiction to them than our friend, environmental activist, director and filmmaker Josh Fox.

"From so many standpoints it is utterly clear that we need to switch off of fossils fuels and convert to a 100 percent renewable energy economy as soon as possible. Whether your chief concern is climate change, toxic pollution to the water and air, the massive destructive influence to our political system from the fossil fuel lobbies, the acidification and plasticization of our oceans, the safety of food, the degradation of our moral fiber as a civilization; or the toxic, carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting petrochemicals in our cosmetics and personal care products, it is clear: the end of fossil fuels is not only a necessary step in the evolution of humankind, the end of fossil fuels is crucial to the survival of all the human systems that allow human life to flourish on earth."

If you're infuriated by environmental catastrophes like the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and horrified by the global conflicts fueled by our dependence on fossil fuels, then I suggest you think twice before ever again choosing to rub petrochemicals all over your skin. Lucky for us, there are tons of petroleum-free cosmetics and skin-care products eager to make their way into your daily beauty routine. I've made the switch and I now use a Shea Butter balm to heal my tattoos and opt for creams with a coconut oil base when my skin is extra thirsty. Here are three of my favorite petroleum-free, deeply hydrating products:

Want to step beyond your beauty routine and learn more about making the switch to renewable energy? Check out Solutions Grassroots.