Vaseline, did you know that little tub of petroleum is 143 years old [whozzer!], it was first born way back in 1872 and HAS to be one of the oldest features in many-a beauty cupboard. Vaseline is like Marmite, you either love or hate this guy. Whichever it is Vaseline has its place in the beauty world, let’s talk how best to use Vaseline and WHEN not to.
WHAT IS VASELINE?
You have to feel a bit sorry for Vaseline, it doesn’t have a very romantic back-story. Bless. A lot of our loved cosmetic ingredients NOW, are either super natural OR super scientific (hyaluronic acid, Ceramide), Vaseline seems to have lost its place in our hearts. This guy is made outta crude oil, which technically is still natural, because nature makes oil, and oil is basically just compressed rock, and rock is just compressed everything that ever was on earth. Thing with all that OIL sourcing, is it has a HUGE environmental impact, which is where Vaseline gets a BAD reputation.
HOW DOES VASELINE WORK?
You can think of Vaseline like cling-film for your skin. Ever put cling-film on some still-warm leftovers? When you do, you get a little lid of rain-like condensation happening in that pot. That cling-film is trapping everything there is in that pot, IN THAT POT. It ain’t going nowhere! When something is still warm, the moisture that was in there starts to condensate and it looks a bit like your left-overs are sweating. #TheyAreAlive! Well, Vaseline works in exactly the same way, it forms a cling-film like barrier on your skin. What that means is that none of the moisture in your skin is leaving you #LockedIn and that you get a bit of the sweats underneath that layer, so moisture is pulled up from deeper in the skin to your surface layers. This can give the appearance that your skin is getting more hydrated.
Vaseline is not the only kind of moisturiser that works in this way. It’s not alone, it has a FAMILY #cute. That family name is called Occlusive moisturisers and is ONE of the 3 ways that you can moisturise skin. Some Occlusive based moisturisers can feel like they have just pulled up a very comfortable ‘love chair’ on your skin, if you are not a fan of that feeling, then you can take a look at THESE ingredients to avoid if your creams feel like they NEVER sink in.
TRADITIONALLY RECOMMENDED USES OF VASELINE
If you have ever had a TUB of Vaseline, then I would bet some £’s or $’s if you’re an East side reader, (but maybe not too many *wink wink*), that you have either used it for a lip balm OR as an overnight skin softening – dry skin ridding sock or glove treatment? Which is it ‘ey? These are absolute Vaseline CULT ways of using this little pot of history. If they have worked well for YOU, in these ways, then absolutely, keep on using that lovely pot.
Since Vaseline was invented all 143 years ago, there are now lots of other products available for dry skin treatment that actually offer your skin, a whole load more benefits #GimmeSome. Here’s the deal, Vaseline is not a giver, what it is, is a locker. It put’s a seal on your skin’s door and stops anything from coming and going. While that is good, we can now also do BETTER, we can use ingredients that GIVE to the skin like Shea butter’s and Hemp oil, we can use ingredients that soften skin like Lactic acid (that’s an ace one, you’ll find mostly in heel softening creams), and we can ALSO use ingredients that naturally increase the rate that your skin leaves you, helping to stop dry skin collecting (skincare acids do a great job at this!).
Vaseline is usually recommended for dry skin, and while it can help dry skin by stopping it from losing any more water, it can’t give hydration or water to skin. It just doesn’t have anything to give, its pockets are all empty and turned-out! For this reason, if you are a dry skin sufferer it’s probably best to find an intensive, creamy thick moisturiser. Vaseline realised this a while back, and have also launched their own thick creamy moisturisers, which have a ‘touch’ of Vaseline in there, along with loads of ‘giving’ to skin ingredients.
WHEN ITS GREAT TO USE VASELINE
Back to the pure stuff. If you have a little pot of Vaseline at home and are now wondering what the heck to do with it, here are some GREAT ways to make use of Vaseline.
1. As a liquid plaster. Got one of those painful tears at the side of your nail, OR painful dry-type skin cracks. Well while they are all red, raw and exposed, Vaseline is the perfect plaster solution. Put a normal lotion on exposed skin and likely it will STING and usually there is also a warning or 2 on the label to say, ‘do not use on broken skin’. That’s because when your skin is broken, those ingredients get directly into your deep tissue layers, and even the blood stream. Places they aren’t tested to be safe. Vaseline is like the most BORING ingredient EVER, think of this guy like a couch potato. He isn’t getting up EVEN for chocolate/Cosmo’s/insert your LOVE here. Because Vaseline is so good at doing nothing, it makes him the perfect plaster.
2. To stop stuff from chaffing your skin. Got a pair of boots that look BEAUTIFUL but actually KILL you because they rub like crazy, OR running a Marathon [beware of nipple rub!]. Then this is a great way for YOU to use Vaseline. Vaseline is like a protective seal, it stops stuff rubbing directly against your skin, and whatever is rubbing around, just gets its rub on with the Vaseline and not your delicate skin. #Sorted.
3. To stop you getting a dry red nose, when your running through tissues like someone might take them away from you and never let you have another one ever again. We have all been there, struck down with a 5x strength man flu. All that tissue use, rubs skin up the wrong way and before you know it, you’re sporting a RUDOLF red nose. Well moisturise your nose with Vaseline and it will stop you joining the reindeer family. HINT, its pretty much like making your own ‘balm tissues’.
4. If you work outside and spend the day fighting the wind. Wind is the nemesis of moisturised skin, it literally blows it away. Skin can get super dry after just a day in strong winds. Using Vaseline or a moisturiser with Vaseline (or other occlusive ingredients) in it, will help skin CLING onto its moisture.
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.