The Hidden Dangers of Petroleum Jelly…time for a Healthy Alternative

Many generations of mothers and daughters used petroleum jelly. There's a reason to change. There are few products whose popularity has spanned decades, and petroleum jelly is one them. To this day, this cabinet-staple can be found in bathrooms of young and old. If you’re like me, your grandma sang its praises, explaining that it could moisturize your lips, coax off a too-tight ring, heal a wound, and cure diaper rash.  She used it, your mom used it, and, therefore, you probably have a plastic container of it somewhere in your house. But did you know, despite its laundry list of uses, that the stuff isn’t that great for you?

Just like the name suggests, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) is derived from petroleum, a toxic crude oil, which means it is not sustainable or eco-friendly. When properly refined, petrolatum is said to have no known health concerns. However, according some sources, petrolatum is often not fully refined in the US, which means it can be contaminated with toxic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Petroleum jelly has the unique ability to absorb into our skin and lock itself into place in between cells in our lipid barrier. Manufacturers of the stuff will tell you this creates long lasting, smooth skin. But truth be told, petroleum jelly has no moisturizing properties of its own. Instead, it acts as an impermeable barrier to the skin. Sure it will lock in whatever moisture is underneath it to give your skin the appearance of moisturized skin, but it will also lock in any dirt, sweat, or bacteria that exists. This barrier will also deter any added moisture or beneficial ingredients from other products to reach the skin. Also, since petroleum jelly is not water soluble, it does not easily wash away, which means it can build up in your system over time.

Petroleum jelly is used in a lot of personal care items, especially in lip balms - just think of how easily it can be ingested! Try our Lip Yummies, Lip Skinnies and B Glossy Lip Gloss instead as they are free of petroleum-based ingredients. 

Here are some tips to avoid petroleum jelly in your skin care routine:

  • Mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum, naptha, and formaldehyde are all derived from petroleum, so stay away from products made with them.
  • These petroleum-derived ingredients are prevalent in candles as well as skin care products. Lighting a candle with these ingredients will allowed them to be inhaled, so look for candles made from soy or beeswax instead.
  • Look for eco-friendly petroleum jelly alternatives that will moisturize and hydrate your skin naturally like beeswax, coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter.


There is something to be said about a versatile product - one that can be found in the baby, women’s care, wound care, and even cosmetic aisles. So we went ahead and created a non-toxic version of our own using all plant-based, organic, good-for-you oils, and organic beeswax. Since its debut in 2012, B Soothed has become a collection favorite. It is a mild, safe, and effective alternative to petroleum jelly with no added fragrance. The only scent you get is very faint and from the organic ingredients themselves. 

We have found that it can be used as a:

  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Burn and blister relief
  • Overnight lip moisturizer
  • Razor burn relief
  • Moisturizes  dry skin
  • Softens rough patches
  • Soothes even the most sensitive of areas

This EWG VERIFIED™ product is beneficial for most skin types and one that we highly recommend be kept by your bedside, in your gym bag, in your makeup bag, and even in your car. We'd love to know how you use B Soothed!


  • Karen

    I was told by 2 dermatologist to put petroleum jelly over my rash I have. Well I did that and you know I just keep thinking about the word petroleum so I looked it up founder info and I will not be putting that on my skin again my goodness. Thanks for the info I plan on sharing.

  • Erenberg


  • E

    The dirt and grim part is true for any lotion. The skin should be cleaned before so the bad stuff is off your skin.

  • Sally B

    Thanks for being one of our testers, Karen! For the baby bouncing around the Sally B lab, it definitely worked to clear up some diaper rash.

    Thanks for the idea, Wendy. Let us know how it works!

  • Karen Johnson

    This stuff is awesome! It completely cured my babies eczema.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post