In an earlier post I wrote about microbeads in consumer care products. Unfortunately, those are not the only petroleum-based ingredients that can be found in the products we use on a daily basis. Petrochemicals, chemical ingredients derived from petroleum, can be found with a variety of names, like paraffin, petrolatum, toluene, phenoxyethanol and mineral oil. But they can also be hidden under the umbrella of perfume or fragrance.
Petroleum-based ingredients can create the illusion of moisturized, hydrated skin, but what they actually do is seal off your pores so moisture doesn´t leave the skin. By doing this many people experience skin irritation. Some petroleum derivatives are even known for slowing cellular development and preventing cells from renewing themselves.
There have been some claims that link petrochemicals to cancer, and although these claims still need to be proven, it is very common that they cause skin imbalances (dry and sensitive skin) and clogged skin pores. Furthermore, many petroleum derivatives are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a likely human carcinogen according to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency).
The most common ingredients that are petroleum-based ingredients are paraffin, petrolatum, mineral oil and polyethylene glycol, but ingredients containing the following are also petroleum-based:
- ethyl (like ethylparaben)
- propyl (like propylene oxide)
- butyl (like Isobutylphenoxy Epoxy Resin)
- methyl (like methyl methacrylate)
- benz (like benzyl alcohol)
- ingredients ending with –eth (sodium laureth sulfate)