Friday, March 23, 2012

Petroleum in Cosmetics: What's the Risk?

Hopefully, from reading this blog, you're already aware of the fact that there's a lot of petroleum hidden in our cosmetics. But what are the actual health risks? Ladies (and gentlemen), take a quick read and think about what you're putting on face and body.

Petroleum and mineral oil, both derived from fossil fuels, are two of the main base ingredients in many cosmetics today. Many foundations, lotions, cleansers, and other moisturizers contain these ingredients. While they make moisture stick to the skin, these oils sit on the surface of the skin and can block pores, causing acne problems.

Many shampoos and conditioners contain another moisturizer, called propylene glycol, which is a derivative of petroleum. Do you know what else contains propylene glycol? Laundry detergent, paint, and antifreeze! If swallowed, this ingredient can cause nausea, respiratory irritation, liver damage, and kidney damage. Sure, you're probably not eating your shampoo, but are you sure you want that on your scalp?

Another derivative of petroleum, isopropyl alcohol, is an antiseptic found in many cleansers and toners. But this ingredient can harshly dry the skin, causing miniature cracks that can lead to irritation and acne.

Many deodorants contain a chemical called dioxane, which is also derived from petroleum. This chemical can cause skin cancer.


Studies at the Herb Research Foundation have shown that your skin absorbs up to 60% of the chemicals that are directly applied to it. These chemicals enter the bloodstream and can cause unforeseen internal damage to you, as well as to the fetus inside of you if you are pregnant.

Have you ever heard of parabens? Recently, products that tote the line "paraben-free" are all the rage, and even though no one's really sure about the negative effects, they are rumored to be everything from wrinkles to free-radicals to decreased sperm counts. But did you know that parabens are actually a form of preservative derived from petroleum?


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