What is Mineral Oil ?
Mineral oils (also known as base oils, mineral base oils) are chemical substances prepared from naturally occurring crude petroleum oil. They are a ind of by product of petroleum distillation. Crude oil is distilled first at atmospheric pressure and then under high vacuum to yield vacuum distillates and residual fractions that can be further refined to mineral oils. Mineral oils refined from petroleum crude oils are complex and variable mixtures of straight and branched-chain paraffinic, naphthenic (cycloparaffinic), and aromatic hydrocarbons having carbon numbers of 15 or more and boiling points in the range of 300–600°C.
What role or function does it have in personal care or other consumer products ?
Mineral oils are used as base oils in the manufacture of several hair oils and also act as a moisturizer because of their ability to trap moisture. They create a barrier on the skin that seals in moisture and reduces trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL) (water evaporation through the skin).
What are the potential concerns of using mineral oil in personal care products ?
- Contamination with PAHs (Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons) which are linked to cancer. Since Mineral oil is obtained as refining by product of crude oil, depending the severity and extent of refinement, there is a possibility that the obtained mineral oil is contaminated with PAHs. Untreated and mildly treated oils have been classified as Group-1 carcinogens, with sufficient evidence from studies in humans.
- Skin irritation
- Contact dermatitis
- Allergy trigger
What should you look for on product labels ?
- Mineral Oil
- Liquid paraffin
- Liquid petrolatum
What are some common products that use Mineral Oil ?
All kinds of face products and Hair Oils.