Friday, October 12, 2012

Skin Care Myths: Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil gets a bad rap. People claim that mineral oil is terrible for your skin, it coats it like plastic wrap, doesn't allow it to breathe, gives you cancer and worst of all it comes from petroleum. First of all, yes, it comes from petroleum but why is that so bad? Petroleum comes from the earth, that's pretty natural if you ask me. We get a hell of a lot of stuff from petroleum and most of it makes our lives better. Pure cosmetic grade mineral oil has no relationship to cancer. Mineral oil actually scores a 0 (out of 5) on the comedogenicity scale meaning it DOES NOT clog pores. It also scores a 0 (out of 5) on the irritancy scale. Compare this to a "natural" oil like coconut oil which scores a 4 for comedogenicity and a 1 for irritation. I'd much rather have a product made from mineral oil than from coconut oil. Mineral oil is an occlusive ingredient, meaning that it prevents trans epidermal water loss (TEWL in the biz). So basically, if you are preventing TEWL, you are moisturizing because you are keeping the moisture in your skin where it belongs. Mineral oil is cheap and it has an amazingly long shelf life compared to most other oils. It's a great solvent for removing makeup and it is a great emollient. 

Probably the worst thing I can say about mineral oil in its pure form is that it feels greasy. However in a well formulated product, the greasiness will be mitigated by the other ingredients in the formula.