Mineral Oil for the Skin

Mineral oil is commonly used in the preparation of skin-care products and in lotion. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless and inexpensive. It is a common ingredient for makeup removers, baby products, lotions and moisturizers. Skin-care experts are divided on the use of mineral oil for skin care. There are some who argue that mineral oil clogs pores and is therefore harmful, while others argue that cosmetic-grade mineral oil is noncomedogenic.


Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum. Initially, it was used in oil rigs as a respite for burns. Robert Cheesebrough, a chemist, invented petroleum jelly and gave it the trade-name Vaseline. Petroleum jelly and mineral oil are both derived from petroleum.


Mineral oil acts a moisturizer by creating a protective layer over the skin. It is slowly absorbed by the skin and is used on injured skin. Most of the moisturizers available commercially have a mineral oil base.

Makeup Removal

Mineral oil is used as an active ingredient for all makeup-removal products. Liquid cleansers have mineral oil as the primary ingredient, whereas cream cleansers consist of oil blended with emulsifiers and water.

Baby Products

Mineral oil is the primary ingredient in most baby oils. It generally consists of mineral oil with perfume added. It is also used in baby wash and baby soap, as well as shampoos. Mineral oil locks in moisture, making it popular in baby products.


Mineral oil is not banned for use in any skin care products. According to a study done by Pharma Cosmetic Research of Virginia, mineral oil used in cosmetics products does not clog pores. The results of the study were published in Blackwell’s Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.