Mineral oil has been used as an ingredient in skincare for more than a century, and its cosmetic use dates back to ancient Roman times. One of the most commonly used occlusive ingredients used to prevent water from evaporating from the skin and alleviate dryness, this clear, colorless liquid may sound like a skin savior but it’s actually far from it. Why? Mineral oil is a byproduct of the process that converts petroleum to gasoline.
The impact mineral oil production has on the environment is just one issue associated with this ingredient, yet research has identified a larger concern that hits closer to home. Research from the 1980s showed that mineral oil may promote the development of skin cancer. Although this study found a connection in cases of prolonged exposure to industrial grade mineral oil (while the mineral oil in cosmetics and skincare products is USP or BP grade, which means it’s highly purified and refined), this should be enough to make anyone want to steer clear.
More recently, a 2008 study showed an increased risk of skin cancer in laboratory animals treated with a moisturizer containing mineral oil. Mice were exposed to UVB rays twice a week for 20 weeks to increase their risk of skin cancer. Then, one of four popular creams with mineral oil was applied to the mice’s skin five days a week for 17 weeks. Researchers measured a significant increase in the speed of skin cancer formation as well as tumor size. Although additional human-based studies were recommended, it’s probably best to play it safe and avoid mineral oil altogether.
There are plenty of safe alternatives to mineral oil, including shea butter and naturally-derived seed oils. DefenAge 24/7 Barrier Balance Cream delivers all of the water-loss prevention and skin softening of mineral oil without the worry. Beyond the peace of mind, this luxurious, effective hydrator is also formulated with Defensins, a unique type of target-specific molecules that has been proven to provide comprehensive skin rejuvenation and skin improvement, including visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, the look of loss of elasticity, enlarged pores, dryness, dullness and other signs of sun damage.
The increase in awareness about the chemicals we put both in and on our bodies has led to a “clean” movement in terms of personal care. At DefenAge, we believe that achieving real skincare results doesn’t mean sacrificing safety - or having doubts about the ingredients in your products. All of our advanced, professional-grade, dermatologist recommended skin care are free of mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, gluten and fragrance, as well as animal- and human-derived ingredients.