Petroleum in Cosmetics

What are the potential health risks?

Petroleum, which is Latin for “rock oil,” is a fossil fuel, meaning it was made naturally from decaying prehistoric plant and animal remains. Through a process called fractional distillation, petroleum refineries break petroleum into many of its smaller components.

Today, almost all of us come into contact with a by-product of petroleum. Gasoline, styrofoam, lubricating oils, and many other products are derivatives of this raw material. 

So how are petroleum and cosmetics related? 

Mineral oil and petroleum are the basic ingredients in many cosmetic products today. Cosmetics such as foundations, cleansers, and moisturizers often contain mineral oil. By locking moisture against the skin, mineral oil sits on the skin’s surface and can potentially block pores. This may cause the appearance of pimples because the skin cannot properly ‘breathe’.

Fragrances in many cosmetic products are composed of aromatic hydrocarbons. Perfumed products can contain many hundreds of chemicals to produce a distinct scent. A significant number of these aromas are derived from petroleum.

Isopropyl alcohol is an antiseptic which kills bacteria on the skin. You can find it on the ingredient list of cleansers, toners and other cosmetic products. This dries the skin and may cause miniature cracks in the skin that allow bacteria to enter, causing irritations and/or pimples.

Do these petroleum-derived products affect your health?

Your skin covers your body and acts as a physical barrier to many of the pollutants in the atmosphere. When you use products on your skin such as cosmetics, lotions, and shampoos, the ingredients in these products come into direct contact with your body’s largest organ; your skin. 

You may ask yourself, where do the ingredients in the products go?

Research at the Herb Research Foundation found that the skin absorbs up to 60% of the chemicals in products that it comes into contact with directly into the bloodstream. Presently, the long-term effects of many of the chemical additives in cosmetics are not known. However the effects of chemicals and other synthetic ingredients in cosmetics may lead to mild allergic reactions causing rashes and minor skin irritation to more significant problems such as lesions on the skin. Carcinogens, another chemical additive have been linked to cancer in humans.

What are your alternatives for cosmetics?

Luckily, there are alternatives to cosmetics filled with synthetically produced ingredients. Increasingly, cosmetic manufacturers are answering the public’s demand for alternatives to chemically loaded beauty and grooming supplies. Alit is one such company that is leading the way in producing high-quality, inorganically manufactured cosmetics! As a consumer, you have the choice to decrease the number of preservatives and chemical additives your skin comes into contact with and therefore, that may enter your body.