Petrolatum: The Hidden Chemical Inside Your Body Lotion

Is The Risk Worth It?

Photos By Chris Haylett

Make-up & hair, Brodine, Judy Inc.


Petrolatum is from a mineral oil to lock moisture inside your cosmetic and hair care products. The chemical is a byproduct of petroleum refining. This oil forms a barrier on the applied area too. This hidden chemical has no known health concerns. However, it is often not fully refined in the US or Canada, which means it may be contaminated with toxic chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It is difficult to see if petroleum is clean or contaminated. The history of petrolatum must be known and non-carcinogenic.


  • lotions
  • cosmetics
  • hair-care products


Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly, Paraffin Oil, Mineral Oil, and White Petrolatum (refined and safe for use)


Cancer:  The primary concern is that the petrolatum has been contaminated with PAHs, a suspected carcinogen (2)

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Watch out for this chemical in your body lotion!