How to Avoid Putting Unhealthy Petroleum on Your Face or in Your Food

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Although many people are careful to read labels to avoid dangerous chemicals and additives, but there’s probably one thing most people never suspect would be in their food or face lotion: petroleum. Yes, we are talking about oil and products made from oil. No, we aren’t kidding! You might think of these things as only being in plastics, Styrofoam, or additives for your car, but petroleum, along with its byproducts, are often found in food, as well as body care products.

Some of these byproducts are simply created when chemicals break down naturally. However, at other times, these byproducts are contaminated by the very volatile chemicals that were used to create them.

When these kinds of products are used in beauty and body care items, they are well known for covering the skin, which means that the pores in your skin can no longer breathe. It’s not that these petroleum products have any real value for your skin; they just sit on top of it, clogging the pores, and creating even more problems.


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Ok, so you are going through your medicine cabinet and you find a jar of Vaseline. This is quite normal; almost every house in America has a jar of Vaseline in the bathroom. It’s nowhere near as harmless as you think it is. Petroleum jelly is a derivative of oil refining. It was originally found coating the bottom of oil rigs about 1850; it’s now commonly used to “cure” everything from diaper rash to chapped lips to dry skin.

Compounds that are removed from oil during the refining process are carcinogenic. Now Vaseline supposedly has all the carcinogens removed but how many cheap imitations (products from China, for example, or ones found in those dollar stores) have different grades of purity? You have no idea what could be lurking in your knock off petroleum jelly!

While putting some petroleum jelly on your skin can give it the appearance of beautifully moisturized skin, it’s actually suffocating your skin. It’s not water soluble, it’s water repellant so all it really does is seal in moisture, if your skin already has some. You are actually drying out your skin even more by depriving it of moisture and air. Find out how to use lemon instead of beauty products.

Although the name petroleum jelly is fairly straight forward, there are plenty of petroleum products whose name isn’t quite so crystal clear.

One rule of thumb you can use while searching for these ingredients is to look for names that end, or include, the following:

  • PEG
  • Xynol
  • Propylene glycol
  • Oleth
  • Sodium laureth sulfate
  • Ceteareth

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Now mineral oil is also a byproduct of petroleum, and you will find it many body care, personal care, and makeup products. Why? Because it’s easy to find and it’s super cheap. This should also be avoided because it’s just as bad for clogging pores as Vaseline is. Never use products that contain mineral oil on your face, especially if you are prone to acne.

You should also avoid any kind of product that lists “fragrance” on its list of ingredients. Almost all artificial fragrances come from some sort of petrochemical aromatic compound. Synthetic fragrances can have almost any number of chemicals that can be toxic, carcinogenic, and disrupt our hormone balance. We don’t know exactly what “fragrances” contain because companies are allowed to keep this information private as a part of their copyright. (In other words, they don’t want anyone to steal their fragrance formula)

Besides the usual beauty and cosmetic items, petroleum oil and its byproducts are often used in food items to give them a longer shelf life. How can petroleum products extend the shelf life of food? Because this isn’t really food we are talking about here. Anything we would consider to be “real” food contains important nutrients, enzymes, fiber, and other organic matter, and anything organic will go bad.

One of the worst offenders is a petroleum product called propylene glycol. Yes, the same thing you put in your cars radiator. Propylene glycol is the main ingredient in anti-freeze. It’s also often used in ice creams or other frozen products. It’s used as a softening compound. You will even find it in things like canned cat food and dog food, so it won’t dry out.

There is another petroleum derivative called butylene glycol, which is often added to foods. It, too, gives food a softer texture and tastes sweet at the same time. Perhaps this is how some foods can say that they are “sugar free” and not add aspartame. They simply add a petroleum product instead. Sounds yummy.

One more petroleum chemical you should be aware of is called methylnaphthalene. This one was the cause of a huge cereal recall after people began getting sick from eating, or in some cases just smelling, this very popular brand of cereal. It’s still used in many consumer food products, so be very, very aware of this one. Find out the shocking hidden chemical in your diary products.

You will find many of these petroleum products in foods that you wouldn’t want to get too hard, such as ice cream, popsicles, and packed frozen desserts, along with foods that you may not eat very often, so the manufacturer want a long shelf life, such as crackers and chips and packaged desserts such as cookies. These petroleum based additives are used to improve the flavor as well as preserve freshness. If what you are eating contains artificial food colors such as FD&C Red #2, you can bet they are using other petroleum additives because these artificial colors get their start in petroleum derivatives.

Don’t put possible carcinogens on your body, and don’t eat products that contain ingredients that belong in your cars radiator. Eat real food!