It’s good to be versatile, but we can’t all have the range of Barbra Streisand, can we?
Sometimes it’s best to stick to just one calling — Mariah Carey has the voice of an angel but the acting chops of, well, Mariah Carey in Glitter, and no matter how good a Mexican restaurant might be, you wouldn’t necessarily want to get your sushi from it. It follows that the same words you’d expect to see in a breaking-news report about a catastrophic oil spill should not be in the same sentence, let alone the same ingredients list, as your skin care — but you’ll see petroleum and its most common cosmetic byproducts, like mineral oil and petrolatum, used both ways.
“The refined versions that are commonly used in skin-care products are safe and effective.” Mineral oil, Dr. Zeichner says, is calming, hydrating, and popular because it rarely triggers skin allergies; white petrolatum is a skin protectant and occlusive ingredient used in lotions and salves to help skin retain moisture. On a superficial level, cosmetic-grade petrolatum won’t even clog your pores — it’s non-comedogenic, and a dot of Vaseline applied over a large, inflamed, or raw (i.e. picked-at) pimple can actually help protect skin and give it a chance to heal. (Mineral oil, however, can clog pores, which is why Dr. Zeichner recommends avoiding it if you’re acne-prone.)
They are safe, they are effective, and look — the bottom line is that, no, they are not environmentally sustainable ingredients, but they are a teeny-tiny byproduct of a massive industry. You could stop production of all cosmetic-grade mineral oil and petrolatum products right here, right now, and we’d still have the oil industry as it stands.