Petroleum and all of its by-products really have no place in body, skincare or hygiene goods that we must use every day. There are just too many potential contaminants in the process by which they are made. They are listed as a probable carcinogen by the EU.
Also, the skin cannot absorb them, therefore clogging the pores and just “sitting” on the skin inhibiting its ability to breathe, trapping toxins and not allowing them to escape. This may make petroleum a good lubricant or barrier/protectant, but as far as therapeutic benefits from nutrients, there really are none. So, if you don’t buy the implication of these ingredients in potential toxicity to the body, there is the inescapable fact that they do tend to clog the pores.
That is why our products are all petroleum free – our lotions, soaps, cosmetics, hair care (last two are soon to come) and lip balms all are totally free of petroleum.
We believe that if there is any question about the safety of an ingredient that is repeatedly used on the body extensively, then why include it when there are so many other natural ingredients that work ten times better?
Yet if you picked up a number of the body and skincare products on supermarket shelves, you would see a plethora of ingredients that are derivatives of petroleum. You may not even recognize most of them as such. Many of these derivatives are linked to endocrine disruption and organ toxicity.
The reason petroleum by-products are used in so many lotions, creams, hair products and other things we put on our body is that they are super cheap humectants. Let’s list some of these petroleum-based ingredients so that you know what you’re getting.
This list is by no means 100% inclusive. It represents the most common ones that you will find going through the shelves of personal care products at most stores.
1.) Mineral oil. Don’t be deceived by the name. It sounds natural enough and harmless. It is actually quite close to the makeup of kerosene, another petroleum offshoot. Not only does this ingredient clog the pores and, but it has been linked to a variety of issues including being a carcinogen to the skin and body.
2.) Propylene glycol. This is commonly used as a humectant in deodorants, lotions, toothpaste, cleansers, soaps, and more. We explicitly left this ingredient out of our natural deodorant, natural body soap and natural acne soap for a reason. This ingredient is unfortunately pervasive in just about everything we buy today – including many processed foods like ice cream and sauces.
3.) Paraffin. You may think of this one as something you only come into contact with when getting a manicure or pedicure. It’s that waxy stuff that dries in a few seconds after dipping dry hands or feet in to it. It is a petroleum derivatives as well. It is also used as an emulsifying agent in several cosmetic, beauty and skin care products.
4.) PVP / VA Copolymere. This is one that is often found in shampoos and conditioners.
5.) Petrolatum, or Petroleum Jelly. This is a product in and of itself, and may also be used as a wetting agent in lipstick, lip balms and other cosmetics that are in a liquid or semi solid form.
6.) Isopropyl alcohol. Yep, this alcohol is actually derived from petroleum. Alcohol, as you may well know, is not usually a desirable ingredient in most hair and skin products due to its reputation as a drying agent.
7.) PEG (polyethylene glycol) and PPG (polypropylene glycol). These are humectants related to propylene glycol.
8.) Many compounds found in fragrances. I know this is a general description, but there are a few thousand chemicals that largely go unreported on ingredient labels because they are part of a larger, protected “fragrance”. Most of the chemicals in these fragrances are petrochemicals. This means they are derived from, or a result of, other processed petroleum products.
So there you have it. Due to the questionable safety, especially when these products are used so widely and frequently on our bodies, isn’t it just safer to go without? After all, it’s not like these ingredients are great for the skin.
They trap stuff in the pores, don’t allow the skin to breathe, and generally act as poor moisturizers. Go petroleum free with your skin care and personal care body products, and your skin will breathe much better.