The Dangers of Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals are a part of everyday life in a much more vast way than many people realise. Most products found in the home and on your typical bathroom shelf are filled with chemicals made from fossil fuels, such as petroleum (crude oil).

In the skincare industry the most common forms are liquid paraffin (mineral oil), often found in baby oil and body oils, and petroleum jelly, found in common products such as Vaseline. Elsewhere petrochemicals are used in a variety of industries such as in agriculture, for pesticides and fertilizers. Their use is widely available and it’s a highly supported industry, largely due to the profit it yields, yet petrochemicals are proven to be hazardous and toxic to our health.

This inclusion in skincare is a way for brands to create a product at a very low cost. What it actually does though is create an unnatural layer of grease over the skin, preventing it from breathing properly as your skin perspires underneath. As a result, sweat and bacteria are trapped underneath, exacerbating conditions such as eczema and creating a false dependency in the long term.

An interesting article from American Laboratory puts into context the real everyday dangers of using petrochemicals:

“Depending on their use, since petrochemicals can be absorbed through the skin or might be ingested, they can accumulate in human tissues and organs such as the brain and liver and can cause brain, nerve and liver damage, birth defects, cancer, asthma, hormonal disorders, and allergies. We are still in the early days of understanding the adverse effects of petrochemicals on our health and environment”.

Commercialised, praised ‘wonder’ products, such as Vaseline are the perfect example of a petrochemical based product that can easily be ingested over a long period of time.

The great thing is that today the market for natural and organic skincare is rapidly growing. The inclusion of any synthetic ingredients, especially petrochemicals, is wholly unnecessary and something the public is steadily becoming aware of.

Natural botanical oils, butters and extracts that have been used for thousands of years form the basis of pure, green products that make an amazing alternative to the average chemical-laden face cream.

High quality, natural emollient sources instead contain beneficial properties that will actually improve the skin’s condition over time rather than causing any damage or irritation, which also makes a much wiser choice for our health and the environment.

Source: ‘A Look Into the Pertochecmical Industry’ from American Laboratory, 2012. Mukta M. Shukla and Ashok K. Shukla.
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