Reading time: 1300 words, 3 to 5 minutes
This expands on a comment I left on Facebook that my sister was good enough to post about dry skin solutions. You may not know it, but our skin is, by weight, our largest organ and one of the first lines of defense against invading organisms.
I’ve been using Vaseline petroleum jelly on my face and the back of my hands for 30 years ever since Doris Day revealed the secret of her youthful skin. It has a myriad of other uses as well (see Wikipedia & other links below). Smear it on, wipe if off and it leaves an invisible protective barrier.
It’s cheap, effective, non-clogging, non-absorbent and protects the skin by providing a barrier from the harsh environment (especially dry winter air). It also helps prevent “wind burn”. Petroleum jelly allows the skin to naturally hydrate and heal itself (see healing * below).
Pure petroleum jelly also known as white petroleum jelly or petrolatum contains no additives. It is also hypoallergenic, nonirritating, non-sensitizing and contains no added colors or fragrances.
Many other skin care products contain additives, most of which are of questionable value and some do more harm than good (see Vitamin E ** below).
Downsides: slightly greasy feel and it needs to be wiped off again after about 20 minutes and again in a couple of hours to avoid shiny skin depending on how oily your skin is.
* Healing – the human body has evolved to heal itself although tender loving care and some medicines help i.e. rest and antibiotics (through over-use, antibiotics are losing their potency).
Those of our non-ancestors whose bodies lacked self-healing abilities did not live long enough to reproduce and transmit their non-healing genes. However, those of our ancestors who DID have self-healing abilities passed them on to us (thus ends today’s lesson in evolution).
** Vitamin E – many skin care products contain questionable additives too numerous to list here. Some examples are retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acid that can make dry, irritated skin worse. Vitamin E should be avoided in skin care products because they are likely synthetic. Synthetics are cheap. Synthetics are left-hand or mirror-image molecules which the body has difficulty assimilating and can cause more harm than good.
This also applies to Vitamin E supplements. Most studies that conclude Vitamin E supplements are harmful use synthetic Vitamin E. The most biologically natural form of vitamin E is spelled d-alpha tocopherol. The best (also most expensive) Vitamin E contains mixed tocopherols: alpha, beta, gamma & delta.
The spelling is critical. There are many synthetics with slightly different spelling:
dl-alpha tocopherol (notice the L after the D)
d-alpha tocopheryl (notice the Y instead of E)
d-alpha tocopherol acetate (acetate indicates synthetic) and numerous other variations.
There is only one real Vitamine E and the spelling is d-alpha tocopherol although there may be capital letters which are ok.
By the way, “natural source” is meaningless. Sand is natural source. So’s shit.
March 3, 2012
Update: do NOT use petroleum jelly on a rash because it ‘seals-in’ the infection
Update: Mar. 11, 2012
I examined two hand creams I had at home. The astounding number of ingredients from both are listed below. The majority of these ingredients are found in both. Both were made by Vaseline, a trusted name; “Dry Skin Conditioning” and “Healthy hand & Nail Conditioning”. I threw them away (sorry, environment).
So I went shopping for a simple skin care product with fewer questionable ingredients. Superstore has an entire row of hundreds of different skin care products. The list of ingredients was astounding. I noted that the more expensive these skin care products were, the more ingredients they had.
Now I’m beginning to question shampoo. The cheap shampoo I use has 16 ingredients. My next project is to find a simple, safe shampoo.
Back to skin care products. According to a http://www.HealthTruthRevealed.com article “Serious Health Dangers May Be Lurking In Your Shampoo & Soap”, they reported that, “The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health analyzed 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products. The final results were as follows.
• 884 of the chemicals were toxic
• 778 caused acute toxicity
• 376 caused skin and eye irritation
• 314 caused biological mutation
• 218 caused reproductive complications
• 148 caused cancerous tumors
According to David Suzuki Foundation’s article 'Dirty Dozen' cosmetic chemicals to avoid’, “one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors.” Also, they warn about Petroleum Jelly because it, “can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)… that exposure to PAHs — including skin contact over extended periods of time — is associated with cancer. On this basis, the European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen ii and restricts its use in cosmetics.”
Oh, well. I shall live dangerously and continue using Vaseline White Petroleum Jelly in the hopes it does NOT contain PAHs. After all, skin cancer is the easiest cancer to detect and treat. I think this is known as “whistling past the graveyard.”
Below are the ingredients in the two Vaseline hand lotions that I mentioned above. They are listed in order of volume from largest to the least. As I said, the majority of these chemicals are listed in both hand creams.
What’s alarming is how many of these ingredients are binders, blenders, thickeners, preservatives and crap that simply makes the product look or feel good.
Terms that repeat later are in bold to minimize repetitive descriptions.
– Aqua – fancy name for water; it’s the number one ingredient for both hand creams
– Glycerin – moisturizer
– Potassium Lactate – buffering agent, exfoliant, humectant (moisturizer)
– Stearic acid – softening agent and surfactant (wetting agent reduces water surface tension)
– Glycol stearate – stabilizer, emollient (skin softener), emulsifer (blending agent)
– Isopropyl Palmitate – lubricant for a soft smooth appearance
– Glycine soja sterol – emollient made from soybean oil
– Sodium hydroxypropyl starch phosphate – thickener
– Dimethicone – corrosion inhibiter, viscosity increaser, anti-foaming
– Lactic acid – Alpha Hydroxy Acid that helps soften hard calloused skin
– Stearoyl-2-lactylate – food-grade emulsifier
– Tocopheryl acetate – synthetic Vitamin E – probably harmful
– Retinyl palmitate – synthetic Vitamin A – possibly cancer-causing
– Peg 100 strearate – ester of stearic acid – surfactant, cleansing agent
– Panthenol – one of many B-Vitamins
– Carbomer – thickener
– Hydrolyzed keratin – protein (use is restricted in Canadian cosmetics but it’s obviously
found in skin care products)
– Lecethin – plant-based emulsifier
– Cetyl alcohol – emulsifier and binding agent
– Sodium PCA – conditioning agent
– Helianthus annuus – sunflower seed oil
– Urea – humectant
– Collagen – type of protein found in connective tissue & skin; usually derived from cows and chickens. Whether it’s absorbed by the skin is debatable.
– Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate – UV filter (sunscreen)
– Triethanolamine – another emulsifier
– Magnesium Aluminum Silicate – surfactant and Ph balancer; possible cause of Alzheimer’s Disease
– Cyclopentasiloxane – type of silicone that lubricates, water-proofs & gives a smooth,
silky feel; think “Armour-All” for your skin
– Stearamide amp – self-emulsifying pearlizing & opacifying agent similar to Glycol
Stearate listed above
– Xanthum gum – corn sugar gum used as a thickener
– Disodium adta – preservative, also a chelating agent, used to sequester and decrease
the reactivity of metal ions
– Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate – preservative, possible birth defects, acutely toxic if
– Metylparaben – part of the Paraben family of preservatives; suspected endocrine
Dmdm hydantoin – antimicrobial formaldehyde releaser preservative
Cl 77891 – coal tar dyes or pigments; possible cancer causing, possible heavy metal
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