Saturday, August 27, 2011

What is it...and where does it come from

Mineral oil and petroleum are two different substances with different properties and varying uses, but they originate from the same base substance. Petroleum petra (rock) + Latin: oleum oil.  Petroleum jelly is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons with a CAS number 8009-03-8, CAS Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number. This number is an authoritative collection of disclosed chemical substance information. Mineral oil has several grades in which leads to several different cas numbers. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate or collection of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not have a specific chemical composition. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms. So it can not be specified as easily as petroleum jelly.  So its physical properties vary as well, But can be generalized as transparentcolorless oil composed mainly of alkanes (typically 15 to 40 carbons) and cyclic paraffins, related to petroleum jelly. Mineral oil often refers to one of two things. One is a natural byproduct found deep underground. The other, more common mineral oil, or liquid petroleum, is a refined byproduct of crude oil. The refining process is done through Fractional distillation.


Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are substances of relatively low value, and they are produced in very large quantities.

Uses of petroleum jelly

1.Petroleum jelly is commonly used as a personal lubricant. Don’t use on condoms because it can dissolves latex
2. It can be used as a softener for cuticles of the hair strand
3. It is used in pomades to help users sculpt their hair.

The Known Dangers of Mineral Oil and petroleum jelly

Causes irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath. Inhalation of mist or vapor may produce aspiration pneumonia. 
consuming or digesting mineral oil could cause serious diarrhea. Mineral oil acts as a cathartic cause cramping, diarrhea and nausea. The body does not absorb it as it passes through the intestinal, but it limits the amount of water removed from the stool. Almost 98% of mineral oil remains unabsorbed in the Feces
Eye Contact: 
Mists or fumes can irritate the eyes.
Chronic Exposure: 
Prolonged or repeated skin exposure may cause dermatitis. 
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions: 
Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or impaired respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.
Skin Contact: 
Prolonged contact or over usages of material may cause irritation to the skin and scalp

Clarifying myths from facts

Some mineral oils have (PAH) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and are known to be cancer-causing substances. People who work with these oils should be cautious.The type of mineral oil used in cosmetics, hair care products and food are highly purified and refined and produces non-threatening PAH levels. There are no known cases of white mineral oil-causing cancer. Some people confuse these purified mineral oils, with lower grades of mineral oils, which is related but different product with a different CAS number (64475-85-1) having uses similar to turpentine. A third substance sometimes called "Mineral Oils" (CAS number 8007-45-2) is more often called Coal Tar or Tar and is recognized as a definite human carcinogen.

Rat study

The application of four popular moisturizers increased the incidence of skin cancer in mice who were irradiated twice a week for 20 weeks. A fifth moisturizer, specially prepared without mineral oil and sodium laurel sulphate, had no such effect. This study may not directly translate to humans as mice have a thin skin and live in the dark, unlike humans whose bodies are accustomed to sun exposure. There are no side effects that are shown to be fatally dangerous. Scientist have found in many studies that cosmetic-grade mineral oil has been shown to be noncomedogenic. It means it does not cause pores to be clogged). 

Hybrid petroleum jelly and mineral oil

Many products use mineral oil for moisture because it will not spoil, unlike vegetable- or plant-based oils. To keep the wanted properties of the petroleum jelly and mineral oil, hybrids are now being used. Hybrid petrolatum or petroleum utilizes a complex mixture of vegetable oils and waxes and combines them with micro or nano technologies. Due to the different chemical structure of vegetable based oils, producers of hybrid petrolatum must be blended and matched to the correct order to obtain an homogeneous mixture.

hygral fatigue

I will have to admit I have never heard of this either. So thanks you  MegaSweetmel
Mineral oil does not penetrate into the cortex of the hair, because of three main reasons.  First, mineral oil molecules are larger and bulk; making it difficult to reach the cortex of the hair strand. Second, mineral oil has major interfacial tension between water.  Water is easily adsorbed into the cortex, this then makes it even harder for the oil  to enter. There are  special chemical that can lessen the tension which are emulsifiers but getting off topic.  Third, Mineral oil molecules have no physical attraction to proteins, which minimizes the chances of it entering the hair stand even more. So how does this benefit you? Well, in two ways. It helps prevent major loss of water and help prevent too much absorption of water. Hair that takes in too much water often can undergo what is known as ‘hygral fatigue’. This can happen to swimmer or people who over moisturize their hair.

The hair actually becomes weaker due to the swelling and shrinking. 
Damage can be sustained to the cuticle and cortex which becomes a greater problem during detangling and styling. So, mineral oil is not entirely bad .

So the conclusion of whether you or your family will use petroleum jelly or mineral oil, is up to you. All I can tell you is if you don’t that’s cool.  If you do don’t forget to use a clarifying shampoo every once and a while. Don't forget to use the product with moderation to get the great benefits you are looking for. 

As for me
I have been using products with petroleum jelly and mineral oil. Now that 
I understand them a lot more, I will continue to do so .
my love for braids

1 comment:

  1. This is very informative, it is nice to see the pros and cons of using petroleum and mineral oil. :)