Mineral oil is a petroleum derived ingredient frequently used in skincare products to protect and moisturize dry skin. It is an occlusive hydrator (a substance that physically blocks water loss in the Stratum corneum).
Although the thought of petroleum based ingredients on your face isn’t pleasant, cosmetics-grade mineral oil can be used in skincare applications and is free from contaminants found in industrial petroleum. Like its close cousin, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), it has many beneficial applications from wound protection and healing to soothing of dry/chapped lips.
But isn’t the use of mineral oil controversial?
While mineral oil feels greasy and isn’t always pleasing to folks with oily skin, it’s actually free of any impurities and itself cannot clog pores. The sizes of the molecules are just too big to penetrate skin.
That being said, people with oily skin should steer clear of products with mineral oil as their own natural oil (sebum) can become trapped and clog pores, causing breakouts. Also, mineral oil can aggravate underlying conditions like acne.