The sheer number and variety of skincare creams and lotions available nowadays are indeed mind-boggling, especially many of them housing umpteen plant-based extracts offering superb merits for skin wellness. However, one humble component derived from crude oil occurring naturally on the earth’s surface and not from plant residues, that is touted for its moisturizing abilities for smooth skin and has truly stood the test of time, being widely used even today, is petroleum jelly.
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What Is Petroleum Jelly?
Petroleum jelly, also known as petrolatum, is a semi-solid gel composed of mineral oils and waxes, obtained from mining petroleum in oil rigs and filtering the greasy oleaginous substance. Once collected, petroleum jelly is a light-coloured odourless material at room temperature with a slightly fluid consistency and is essentially a mixture of hydrocarbons.
It was discovered in 1859, when Robert Chesebrough, a renowned American chemist, observed oil workers dabbing on a slick balm on their hands, legs and skin to soothe burns, injuries and cuts. Since he labelled this wound-healing gel as Vaseline and sold it commercially, the term petroleum jelly has become synonymous with implying vaseline, though the latter is a brand name and several other companies also manufacture this valuable skincare product.
The active ingredient in petroleum jelly is nothing but petroleum itself, which works effectively to cover the skin cells with a concrete water-protective barrier. This dense layer of hydration aids in retaining moisture within the dermal tissues and repairs bruised regions. Petroleum jelly is hence, undoubtedly, a miraculous skincare ingredient that mends myriad skin conditions such as dryness, eczema, rashes.
Spectacular Uses Of Petroleum Jelly For Healthy Skin:
Remedies Skin Injuries
Minor wounds on the skin in the hands, feet and body can be efficiently pacified using petroleum jelly. Moreover, petroleum jelly reinforced the skin’s inherent moisture barrier which averts prominent scars in the vicinity of damaged skin. After thoroughly washing and disinfecting the injured area, gently rub in some petroleum jelly on the clean patch of skin to speed up tissue repair processes.
Prevents Chafing Of Skin
Chafing is the process of clothes of certain materials or regions of bodily skin rubbing against the skin which induces irritation and itching, sometimes with tearing up of dermal tissues or obvious red rashes. This can occur on the neck from collars, in the underarms, chest from tight clothes made of wool or synthetic materials like polyester, or anywhere in the body – be it the arms, legs, back. Petroleum jelly works wonders in subsiding aggravation in the skin from chafing.
Moisturizes Dry Skin
Petroleum jelly is a magical ingredient that is the ultimate solution for overcoming all dry skin woes. It is useful in infusing hydration to parched regions of the face, hands, body and is ideal to apply on all skin types – oily, dry, combination. Furthermore, petroleum jelly can be directly smeared on the feet to rectify cracked heels, by applying it regularly every night and covering it up by wearing a pair of socks, as this helps in replenishing moisture to arid, dull skin.
Pacifies Eczema Flare-Ups
Blessed with excellent emollient properties, petroleum jelly is valuable in treating eczema, a chronic inflammatory disorder that prompts peeling, dryness and redness in the skin. After a shower in lukewarm water, pat dry the areas of skin affected by eczema, then rub in some petroleum jelly. This imparts ample moisture to damaged skin and lessens inflammation, repairs flaking, scaling of the skin.
With increasing age, not only does skin become drier, but it also displays fine lines, creases and wrinkles due to sagging. Petroleum jelly is a marvellous nourishing ingredient to incorporate into the anti-ageing skincare routine, as it supplies hydration to worn-out skin cells, aids in restoring smoothness, besides diminishing the appearance of crinkled patches.