Paraffinum liquidum can be found in a lot of cosmetic products.

Some articles say it is harmless but the other half said it causes harmful effects such as the premature aging of the skin.

Examples of negative reports:

However, it also prevents your skins normal respiration, causes it to sweat beneath the oily layer thus resulting in further drying the skin and inevitably causing a breakdown in its normal function. This will exacerbate eczema and psoriasis problems and potentially create a dependency, as the natural oils in the skin fail to function correctly.

Petrochemicals contain neurotoxins which damage the nervous system. Mineral oil forms a film on the surface of your skin that can not be absorbed, thereby blocking the pores and the skin’s natural respiration. It traps dirt and bacteria and blocks the absorption of vitamins/minerals/botanicals that may be in a product. John Hopkins University named mineral oil in cosmetics and moisturizers as the number two cause of aging (first being direct exposure to sun). It may also cause allergic reactions and dryness, as well as promote acne and other skin disorders.

Examples of positive reports:

Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found (Sources: Cosmetics & Toiletries, January 2001, page 79; and Cosmetic Dermatology, September 2000, pages 44–46). Yes, they can keep air off the skin to some extent, but that’s what a good antioxidant is supposed to do; they don’t suffocate skin! Moreover, mineral oil and petrolatum are known to be efficacious in wound healing, and are also among the most effective moisturizing ingredients available (Source: Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33–40).

Mineral oil works as a barrier between the skin and the air. It acts as an occlusive agent which prevents water from naturally leaving your body through your skin. It will not dry out your skin or cause premature aging. Quite the contrary. It will provide moisturization.

Does mineral oil have the harmful effects described in the first reports, or is it safe as described in the latter reports?

  • 1
    Any oil or wax will have the effects described, of acting as a barrier between the outside air (or water) and the skin, reducing normal effects such as the evaporation of perspiration and other cooling effects. Sometimes you may want that, though in normal circumstances you should not. Refined paraffin wax is less likely to contain poisons or other active ingredients than plant oils and less likely to to go rancid than animal oils.
    – Henry
    Sep 22, 2012 at 19:06
  • I see, but I'm just as in the dark here as anybody else. I'm not an expert in chemistry I just observed that something is amiss about this particular topic. And by the way they don't look trustworthy to me either that's the reason why I asked this question here.
    – Adam Arold
    Sep 26, 2012 at 23:04


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