The skin is the body’s largest organ, so it’s important to take good care of it. However, doing so doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank. In fact, a common, inexpensive product found in most people’s medicine cabinets, petroleum jelly, can have multiple skin care uses for the entire family.
To save on skin care, dermatologists recommend using petroleum jelly to:
Relieve dry skin, including your lips and eyelids. Dry skin can flake, itch, crack and even bleed. Since ointments are more effective and less irritating than lotions, consider applying petroleum jelly to dry skin, including your lips and eyelids.
The skin on your eyelids is the thinnest skin on the body and can get irritated easily. If your eyelids get dry and flaky, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly for moisture and protection. For the best results, always apply petroleum jelly when your skin is damp.
Help injured skin heal. For minor wounds such as cuts, scrapes, and scratches, use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist. This helps prevent the wound from drying out and forming a scab, as scabs take longer to heal.
This will also help prevent a scar from getting too large, deep or itchy. As long as the wound is cleaned daily, it is not necessary to use anti-bacterial ointments.
Prevent chafing. Chafing is a painful skin irritation that occurs when body parts rub together or rub against clothing. To prevent chafing that can lead to blisters, apply petroleum jelly to problem areas, such as the feet or thighs.
Treat diaper rash. The best way to prevent diaper rash is to keep your baby’s skin as dry and clean as possible. However, if your baby does get a rash, apply petroleum jelly during each diaper change. With the right care, your baby’s rash should clear in about three to four days. If the rash doesn’t go away, see a board-certified dermatologist.
Rehydrate nails. If you frequently get manicures and pedicures, apply petroleum jelly to your nails and cuticles in between polishes. This will minimize brittleness and help prevent your nails from chipping. For the best results, apply it when your nails are damp.
While petroleum jelly has many benefits, it shouldn’t be used for everything. Avoid putting petroleum jelly on your face if you are acne-prone, as this may cause breakouts in some people. If you have questions about your skin or how to take care of it, see a board-certified dermatologist.
Benefits and uses for petroleum jelly
Heal minor skin scrapes and burns
A study shows that petroleum jelly is effective in keeping skin moist during post-surgery healing. This may be particularly good for regular, less dramatic skin injuries.
Make sure that the surface you apply petroleum jelly on is properly cleaned and disinfected. Otherwise, bacteria and other pathogens can get trapped inside and delay the healing process.
Moisturize your face, hands, and more
Face and body lotion: Apply petroleum jelly after a shower. As an occlusive moisturizer, it prevents your skin from drying out. You can also use it for dry noses during cold or allergy season.
Cracked heels: Soak your feet in warm water with some salt added to it. Towel-dry thoroughly and apply petroleum jelly and clean cotton socks.
Improve your gardening hands: After washing and drying, use some petroleum jelly and a clean pair of gloves to help lock in moisture and accelerate healing.
Chapped lips: Apply to chapped lips as you would any chapstick.
Help for pet paws
Your dog’s pad skin can crack and produce a great deal of discomfort. Clean their paws with cotton gauze, dry, and apply the jelly. Ideally this should be done after a walk or when your pet is resting.
Prevent diaper rash
Petroleum jelly has been shown to reduce the incidence of diaper rash in babies. Clean and towel-dry your little one’s skin properly before applying. Petroleum jelly will form a protective barrier that will help protect the skin from constant exposure to moisture. Make an appointment with the doctor if there is a persistent rash.
Remove eye makeup
Oil is an effective way to remove makeup, and petroleum jelly is safe to use in the eye area, according to a study on eye ultrasounds. Use a cotton pad or Q-tip (for hard to reach areas), and press gently without tugging too hard on your skin. Make sure to close your eyes as you wipe. Some people also swear by using it on crow’s feet lines.
Save split ends
Sun and wind exposure as well as pool water can dry up your hair. Petroleum jelly can reduce the look of split ends and add shine to your hair. Rub a small amount of jelly between your palms and apply to hair ends.
Prevent skin stains from hair dye or nail polish
Apply petroleum jelly along your hairline to prevent hair dye from staining your skin. This also works if you like to paint your nails at home. A barrier of petroleum jelly is easy to wipe away when you’re done.
Preserve perfume scents
Using petroleum jelly as a base for your perfume can help it last longer.
Use as lube for stuck objects
If a ring is stuck on your finger, put some jelly on your finger, making sure you get some around and under the ring. This will help the ring slip off your finger.
For door hinges, apply a bit of jelly right on the hinge and swing the door a few times to spread evenly. Wipe off the excess.