Could your skincare be slowly killing you?

Are there petroleum/petrol by products in your skincare – and is this a real fact?


In the last 100 years, products derived from petroleum/petrol have been used across all personal care products.


You find petroleum and petroleum by-products in everything from shampoos and conditioners to anti-aging creams, body lotions, mascaras, perfumes, lipsticks, lip balms, foundations, hair relaxers, conditioners, eye shadows, and nail polishes.


Its emollient and occlusive properties soothe, smooth, and create a waterproof barrier that seals the moisture into the skin protecting it from external agents that would damage your skin.  


It makes your hair shine and soothes cuticles and nails.


Unfortunately, the barrier created completely seals the skin, meaning, it does not let your skin breathe and therefore locks impurities into your skin.


This usually leads to the skin breaking out because it is suffocating and all of the microbiome has been killed.


Is petroleum dangerous for your health?

Petroleum or petrolatum jelly (think Vaseline) is the extra refined by-product of petroleum.


It is an incredibly cheap ingredient which gives great superficial results, so it is a go-to ingredient in cosmetics.


Multiple studies demonstrated that properly refined and used in a pure form of petroleum jelly was safe. These studies were financially supported by the petroleum industry.


But this is now being discussed more and more as independent research has established a link between skin issues or the risk of cancer and the presence of petrochemical ingredients in cosmetic products and food.

An incomplete refining process could contaminate the petrolatum with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).


That sounds as if it could be organised? But there is no way to confirm proper refinement unless a complete refining history is provided.


According to, “The National Toxicology Program (NTP) considers PAHs as a class to contain reasonably anticipated carcinogens; the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists 14 PAHs as probable or possible carcinogens and one PAH as a known carcinogen. A study on Long Island, NY, found that those women with high levels of PAH-DNA adducts had a 50 percent greater risk of breast cancer. The formation of PAH-DNA adducts, an indicator of PAH exposure, is linked to cancer development.”


Besides petrolatum’s comedogenic effect on the skin, the potential risk for long-term health issues make you wonder why you would want to buy products containing petroleum.


Unfortunately, dermatologists still recommend products containing it, and say that there is nothing wrong with it.


Besides the simple reality that it is toxic to our systems, it doesn’t solve your skin issues.


A simple way to show how it doesn’t work for you – is have you ever had extremely dry lips? And you keep on applying your chap stick over and over again – but the problem won’t go away?


Look at the main ingredient in your tube or tin– you will find that it contains petroleum jelly as the first ingredient.


How do I know if my skincare product, or other personal care product contains petroleum by-products?


The international labelling conventions require ingredients to be mentioned with their Latin forms on labels. This makes it very hard to understand what really is in the product and to research on it.


Todays consumers want to know what is in the products they consume and/or ingest.


To identify ingredients derived from petroleum, you need to look for:

  • Mineral oils(oil derived from petroleum)
  • Paraffinwax or Paraffin oil
  • Petrolatum, white petrolatum (refined form of Petrolatum)
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Parabens’family such as propylparaben, methylparaben, butylparaben, benzylparaben
  • Words with “ethyl”such as PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, polyoxyethylene, ethyl alcohol, ethylene oxide, ethylene dichloride, ethylene-diamine-tetracetatic acid (EDTA), ethylene glycol
  • Alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40)
  • Toluene may appear on ingredients as phenylmethane, methylbenzene or toluol
  • Laureth family(sodium lauryl sulfate, any ingredients with laureth or lauryl in the name) Words ending in “eth” (e.g., ceteareth, laureth, myreth, oleth)
  • Butanol and words with “butyl”such as butylene glycol and butyl alcohol
  • Fragrances or parfumthe synthetic ones almost all contain petroleum derived chemicals
  • ParaPhenoxyethanol
  • Benzene
  • Diethanolamine
  • Ethanolamine
  • Methanoland words with “methyl” such as methyl alcohol, methylparaben and methylcellulose
  • Propyl containing substances such as isopropyl alcohol, propylene glycol, cocamidopropyl betaine.


The “Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme (AICIS)” is responsible for managing industrial chemicals (cosmetics) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regulates product safety and cosmetic labelling standards.


Just because a label is approved, does not mean it is entirely safe for your health.


Chemicals are everywhere even in natural products in their natural form, but worse than that – even personal care products who tout to be organic, can contain petroleum-based ingredients.


The concentration and frequency of use can create long-term damage to your health. Using heavily transformed or petroleum-based products disrupts your body and endocrine system.


Unfortunately, we live in a world where marketing, false claims, and profit margins are standard procedure, so it is important to educate ourselves as consumers.


We need to understand what is in the products we want to buy so that we can make a conscious purchasing choice.


Australian Industrial Chemicals Introduction Scheme:

Are your cosmetics killing you?

20 of the most common petrochemical skincare Ingredients to avoid:


Psst – the Everything Skin Range contains none of the above ingredients!


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Do you have petrol by products in your skincare?

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