Friday, August 12, 2011

The Scoop on Mineral Oil ~ Alicia M. Callis

Mineral oil is the naughty little "M" word that has caused much debate in the skin care, as well as the scientific communities. Why is it mineral oil seems to be in every lotion, cream, powder, and cosmetic you pick up and what effects is it having on you the consumer? I'm about to add a thin, scentless layer of knowledge on your brains ladies, so pull up a chair.  According to the FDA, mineral oil is safe to use in personal care products, cosmetics, as well as a food additive. The FDA has been known to make a few mistakes in their day however. Does anyone remember Fen-Phen?  The World Health Organization lists mineral oil as a group 1 carcinogen to humans, meaning by using certain forms/quantities of this product it can in fact be cancer causing.
      What is mineral oil, and what is its basic function? Mineral oil is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. It is clear, odorless, and doesn't spoil, and is extremely cheap to make. Can crude oil byproducts be made sexy? Apparently the answer here is "Yes indeed!", according to dozens of high end cosmetic companies . . .but we wont mention any names here. It is also worth noting if you are concerned about putting this product on the largest (most absorbent) organ of your body take care, because it is also sneaky and can be found in your skin care items under other names such as: aboline, blandol, white mineral oil, blandlube, crystol 325 and many others.  If that does not cause an internal shudder and a trip to the garbage can with an armful of body lotions, then keep reading.
     Let us delve a little deeper into the world of mineral oil and discuss the effects it actually has on your skin. After scrubbing your face clean you smooth your favorite moisturizer on that is carrying this said ingredient and it begins to work its magic by forming a thin plastic like layer on the surface of your skin, that companies love to claim acts as an occlusive and/ or conditioning agent. Unfortunately it is very difficult to absorb and, in my opinion, highly comedogenic. However, a study published in 2005 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that highly refined and purified mineral oil found in cosmetic and skincare products is non-comedogenic. It is true, some lucky ladies do not have this reaction, but according to my experience as an esthetician and a woman who uses make up, they are definitely in the minority when it comes to this ingredient.
-Journal of Investigative Dermatology- Paul Donald Forbes, Moisturizers, Vehicle Effects, and Photocarinogenesis
-Osha- Occupational Safety and Health Guideline for Mineral Oil Mist

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