Have you ever used Vaseline as a beauty product? It’s one of those old school beauty cabinet staples that some swear by, used as a moisturizer by thrifty moms the world over. Turns out, though, that you probably shouldn’t be using it as such.
First of all, petroleum jelly–Vaseline’s main ingredient–is a byproduct of oil refining, so it just doesn’t sound great for slathering all over your face. What’s more, it actually doesn’t make any sense as a moisturizer; it “suffocates” your pores. Per New York-based dermatologist Dr. Alan Dattner:
It’s water-repellant and not water-soluble, meaning it merely sealing the barrier so that moisture does not leave the skin. So while you might feel the instant gratification of a softened surface, you’re actually drying out your pores by keeping out air and moisture. What’s more, the thick texture makes it difficult to cleanse from the skin, so never slather Vaseline on an unwashed face if you want to avoid breakouts. It essentially seals in the dirt.
Apparently using Vaseline on the face is especially bad for people with skin conditions like acne and rosacea, since petroleum jelly’s thick emollients can make matters worse. Oh, and definitely don’t rub it on your nose when you get a cold–it can make its way into your lungs, and if enough accumulates, it can cause lipid pneumonia. And, uh, don’t consume it–despite what any weird kids on the bus do.
So, basically: stop using petroleum jelly as a beauty product? Altogether? Maybe just spend $4 on a moisturizer that isn’t made of oil refining byproduct?