Below are some of the biggest benefits of mineral oil, backed by science!
Mineral oil has built a decades-long reputation for being comedogenic and pore-clogging, which is by-and-large undeserved. This factoid/marketing claim arose from animal studies in the 1970s, where rabbits were used to gauge the comedogenicity of mineral oils. Even then, on a 5 point scale the comedogenic score was only 0-2. Furthermore, subsequent human studies showed an even lower likelihood of mineral oil being comedogenic.
Mineral oil is unlikely to clog your pores or cause breakouts (patch test anyways), partially because the molecular structure is simply too large to even penetrate the skin.
- Very unlikely to be comedogenic, partially due to molecular structure
- High in emolliency (skin-softening) and occlusivity (water-retaining)
- Use it to moisturize or cleanse your face, to remove makeup, or as a shaving oil
What it is
Mineral Oil is a general, catch-all term used to describe the liquid by-product of crude oil that has been refined for various purposes (gasoline, plastics, etc.). The term itself is a bit of a misnomer, as there are multiple classes of what can be described as mineral oil.
What to use it for
You can use mineral oil in a variety of ways, below are some popular cosmetic uses:
Skin: Use mineral oil as an effective all-round moisturizer and benefit from its skin-softening and water-retaining abilities. Mineral oil could also help with dry-skin conditions such as xerosis. You can also use it as a cleanser to remove various grit and grime at night or in the morning.
Shaving: Use mineral oil as a pre-shave prepping oil to soften up beard hairs or unwieldy leg stubble before getting to the razor.
Makeup Removal: Mineral oil is hugely popular among those who do the oil cleansing method (OCM) to remove makeup. It can be used on a standalone basis to remove makeup, or in combination with another oil of your chose, in appropriate amounts.
What to look for
Buying mineral oil is a fairly straightforward exercise, as the cosmetic variant is always highly refined, and features such as the type of pressing and virginal quality do not apply.
The important thing to keep in mind is the Chemical Grade:
If possible, check to see if the mineral oil you want to purchase is explicitly labeled as ‘food’ or ‘pharmaceutical’ grade. These are industry-wide terms that indicate how highly and purely refined the mineral oil is. Ideally we’d want to apply oil that’s been recognized as safe to ingest. This is opposed to technical grade oil, which would be used to lubricate a butcher board.
In all though, it is highly unlikely that the mineral oils you will find on store shelfs which are advertised for cosmetic purposes could be sub-pharmaceutical grade, but you never know!
Some Final Tips
- Patch test your mineral oil to see if the oil causes any breakouts, dermatitis, or other reactions
- Store your oil in a cool, dark, dry place