Mineral Oils in Skin Care: are they bad?
What are mineral oils? Are they minerals or are they oils? A staple in a variety skin care products, this one ingredient has caused a huge controversy and confusion as of late. Let us make answer it one and for all, are mineral oils really bad for your skin?
Myth #1: It clogs pores
Mineral oil molecules are way too large to be absorbed; therefor, they remain on top of the skin to form a protective layer. This layer prevents water loss, protects skin against outside irritation, keeps it hydrated. In order to achieve this effect the mineral oils used in cosmetic products are highly refined, and will be highly unlikely to cause any pore clogging or breakouts. As with anything, too much of a good thing is bad for you. So it is not recommended to apply pure mineral oil directly to the skin since this can form too much of an occlusion layer and lead to pore clogging and acne. However, there is nothing to be worried about if your skin care line has proper grade refined mineral oils in it. It is there for your benefit!
Myth #2: Mineral oils are made from petroleum
This myth is in fact semi-true, but only semi! It can be easily debanked once we know the difference of how mineral oils are derived vs regular petroleum products. The major difference lies in the way these oils are refined. Mineral oils which are used in cosmetic products are highly refined, where petroleum is unrefined or mildly treated. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference at the first glance, however this makes a ton of difference. Mineral oil is not a mineral, it is an “oil based form of petroleum”.
Myth #3: Less and less companies are using them in their products
Quite on the contrary, the usage on mineral oil in the cosmetic products and personal care items is stronger than ever. This is due to a number of factors. Firstly mineral oils have a long stable safety track record for over 100 years. Secondly, they are cost effective and are much better than natural oils to preserve shelf life of the product. Natural oils are often unstable and can create potentially irritant compounds.
Myth #4: Mineral oils don’t help with hydration
This myth is as false as it gets. In fact, mineral oils have a proven track record of being one of the most moisturizing ingredients used in the skin care today. Most companies add it to their products because it does work.
Myth #5: Mineral oils are generally not safe
Mineral oils are colorless, odorless and extremely unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. The idea that they can somehow be unsafe comes from the Myth#2 where some people falsely associate them with pure petroleum. In many cases, mineral oils allow your skin care products to perform better that they normally would without them.
There is no provable reason to stay away from mineral oils, so don’t fall for the false hype. The long term data states the mineral oils are safe and improve the effectiveness of your skin care products.