Vaseline! I’m sure there isn’t a single person here who has never heard of it or used it, for whatever reason. Whether it was to make your feet smoother (or to annoy your older brother by putting it in his hair when he was blissfully unaware, and fast asleep), or to soothe dry skin, this amazing and versatile product has been around for over 140 years.
The above picture is my current jar of Vaseline. Although enriched with Vitamin E, it honestly doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference as compared to the ordinary one. Only difference is that I felt very happy when I bought it! 🙂
Vaseline was initially introduced as a barrier to keep water, air and bacteria away from a cut. However, this amazing beauty staple is a must in every household, for many other reasons:
- Vaseline prevents windburn (chafing of skin due to harsh and/cold winds)
- Vaseline helps to eliminate lice. If applied in a thick layer to the scalp, it will destroy all the lice by smothering them. However, this may be difficult to get out of hair, and will require numerous washes.
- Vaseline helps soothe burns.
- Consistent application of Vaseline after a shower will help get rid of dry patches on skin.
- Vaseline helps shine leather bags. Can also be used to shine leather shoes, though isn’t advisable, since shoes will attract more dust if they have a coating of Vaseline on.
- Many swear by Vaseline as an aid to help eyelashes and eyebrows grow thicker and longer, when used every night, directly on them. This is a very slow process, though.
- Vaseline can be used to make homemade lip gloss or lip balm. Various recipes can be found on the Internet for this.
- You know that whitish powder that forms on the battery terminals of your car? Apply a little bit of Vaseline on them after dusting off the powder already formed. If the powder is stuck, then use a bit of warm water and a soft cloth, get all that powder off, and only then apply the Vaseline. This helps retard corrosion.
- Dab little on to your wrists and pulse points. Then spray your perfume. The scent will last much longer.
- Vaseline helps soften calluses and dry, tough skin on feet, if applied nightly.
- It can be rubbed on teeth when lipstick is worn, to prevent those unsightly lipstick marks on teeth. However, a very tiny amount must be used, and NOT a huge blob. Beauty pageant contestants use this trick as well!
- Sometimes, a ring can get stuck on a finger. The ring can be slipped off much easier if Vaseline is used to lubricate the finger first.
- Brittle nails benefit from a regular massage with a mixture of Vaseline and glycerin (or even plain Vaseline will do!)
- Hate that dried up nail polish on the mouth of your nail polish bottles? Apply a tiny amount of Vaseline on new nail polish bottles (or on old ones, after cleaning off the accumulated dried polish with remover).
- Brush your eyebrows with a little Vaseline to help them look groomed. Don’t use too much, though, as when you sweat, it’ll create a greasy mess on your forehead.
- Getting a tattoo? Vaseline helps heal the itching and irritation arising from a new tattoo.
- When you dye your hair at home, whether with commercial box mixes available or with vegetable dyes (eg. henna), apply Vaseline along your hairline and on the top rims of your ears to prevent the color from touching the skin and staining it.
- Love the scent of that lotion but it’s now almost over? Extend its life by adding a bit of Vaseline into it. This will not change its scent, as Vaseline is unscented, thus preserving your favorite smell.
- Love carving vegetables? Rub Vaseline onto the exposed edges after carving to keep the vegetable from spoiling or drying up. Of course, don’t do this with something meant for consumption later!
- Rub a bit on the inside of the candle holder of your favorite scented candle before putting the candle in. This prevents the candle from sticking to it. Can also be done for your regular white candles when there is a power cut!
- Got lipstick stains on your precious linen napkins after that dinner party? Apply Vaseline on them before washing, and see those stains fade away.
- • Run out of your favorite makeup remover? No, don’t wash it off with face wash. First use Vaseline like you would your regular remover, and then use your face wash. Your skin will thank you for it.
- Got a baby in the house? Apply a thin coat of Vaseline on their bottom before putting on a fresh diaper, to prevent diaper rash.
- Vaseline works as good as regular chapstick to heal chapped lips.
- To get smooth lips, exfoliate them by putting some Vaseline on an old toothbrush, and gently brushing your lips with it, and then wiping it off with a soft cloth dipped in warm water.
Although “Vaseline” is a brand, it is associated with their petroleum jelly, because it has been a tried and tested remedy for so many ailments, as well as being one of the best marketed products. The brand also produces body lotions, lip salves and creams.
Petroleum jelly is the only ingredient in your regular tub of Vaseline. This was discovered by a New York chemist in the 1860s, and was first marketed to the public as Vaseline Petroleum Jelly in 1870.
What is petroleum jelly?
Also called petrolatum or soft paraffin, petroleum jelly is a mix of mineral oils, paraffin, and microcrystalline waxes. With a melting point of just above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, it literally melts on the skin, in the process, filling the gaps in the lipid barrier. It doesn’t really add any moisture to skin, but keeps it from naturally losing moisture to evaporation (for instance, in extremely dry weather) and also serves as a protective barrier, keeping harsh cold weather and wind out. It is a by-product of oil production.
However, petrolatum is also highly associated with carcinogens, i.e. studies have shown it can cause cancer.
It is refined into petroleum jelly that you buy in the Vaseline tub through very specific processes. This refining is done by a number of sources.
This refining is also the key to the carcinogenic classification by the European Union in its ‘Dangerous Substance Directive.’ Since petrolatum is derived from oil, it needs to be refined. Some of the methods for this refining and some methods of petrolatum production, have been shown to contain hazardous, toxic or carcinogenic components. One of the most notable contaminants, PHAs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), have been linked to cancer.
Yet, these contaminants are removed in the refining process. Thus, the product Vaseline itself is NOT carcinogenic, never has been, and never will be, if handled and refined properly.
What about the ban in the EU, you say?
The Cosmetics Directive of the European Union does recognize this, and does not actually ban petrolatum products outright. Many products manufactured and sold in the EU do contain petrolatum.
All that the European Union’s restrictions require is that the “full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen.” If the petrolatum meets these standards, it is not classified as a carcinogen by the European Union because it is known to be free of carcinogenic contaminants.
No scientific studies yet actually link petrolatum, by any of its names, to cancer. The process, yes. Contaminated petrolatum, yes. But carefully refined petrolatum with a nice lineage that is produced well? Not a cancer link to be found!
Thus, Vaseline is safe to use, in any climate, and on any part of the body.
However, it is NOT meant for internal use.
The side effects from ingesting petrolatum include diarrhea and various stomach ailments, so don’t put it a big blob of it in your mouth. It’s a great soothing balm and wound healer, although it should not be used on fresh burns, or fresh sunburn, as it can actually trap heat in the skin and worsen the condition.
As long as your petrolatum or petroleum jelly is manufactured by a trusted brand (ensuring its refining process has been reviewed and approved), or it is pure jelly in a Vaseline tub, you have no cause for worry.
Slather on! 🙂
What do you use vaseline for?
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