Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Naughty Ingredient 101: Mineral Oil

So you want to be a savvy (personal care product) label reader, huh? Good for you! Not only will you want to know which ingredients to avoid, but which healthy and beneficial ingredients to look for! Let's start things off with a common "naughty" ingredient that can be found in 98% of commercial personal care and baby care products...

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a petrochemical and very common ingredient found in personal care products. It is produced as a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil and contains neurotoxins which are toxic to the nervous system. Mineral oil is leftover liquid, and because it is abundant, it is very inexpensive. In fact, it is more expensive to dispose of mineral oil, than to purchase it.

Mineral oil has no nutritional value and is a known carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and yet the cosmetic industry still uses it in lip gloss, lotions, creams, ointments and shampoos. In fact, it is a key ingredient in many personal care products formulated for babies! Baby oil is simply mineral oil that has been scented (even worse)! Pick up any personal care products for babies or adults and you're likely find mineral oil as a main ingredient.

Problems with mineral oil are two-fold. Externally, it forms a thin layer over the skin which acts as a barrier, clogging the pores, thus slowing or preventing the skin from being able to eliminate toxins, and aging the skin (it is the number two cause of aging, next to the sun). When applied externally, Mineral oil also causes internal problems. Remember, the skin absorbs (right into the bloodstream), 60% of everything applied to it. Once a product is absorbed, it is broken down by the liver and passes through the intestinal tract. When mineral oil passes through the intestinal tract, it absorbs all of the fat-soluble vitamins found there. The mineral oil basically steals all the essential vitamins from the body, which the body will not be able to replace. You can see how this could eventually lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Unfortunately, 98% of personal care products contain mineral oil and are often listed under hundreds of other names, which can make it hard to identify. A few aliases are: deobase, liquid paraffin, liquid petrolatum, paraffin oil, paraffinum liquidum, paraffin wax, prolatum oil, petroleum, mineral spirits, petroleum spirits, Uvasol.

An unbiased study released by the Cancer Prevention Coalition in June 2002, contained the following: ‘Cancer and health experts just concluded reviews that indicate mainstream cosmetics and personal hygiene products including lotions, soaps and shampoos, pose the highest risk exposures to the general public. This risk is higher than smoking.”

All-in-all, mineral oil is an ingredient to avoid. Look for products that use vegetable, seed, and nut oils instead, such as olive oil, apricot kernel oil, or grape seed oil, to name a few. These oils are rich in nutrition and highly beneficial to the skin and body!

Simply Jen Naturals are NEVER formulated with petrochemicals! Try an Olive Oil Lotion today! You won't find any mineral oil in that ingredient list!
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