Mineral oil may cause some side effects when taken orally, which may include:
However, mineral oil used in cosmetics has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it is completely safe.
According to a study, mineral oil is the most acceptable baby oil because it does not clog pores (noncomedogenic). It is the most stable and inert oil, beneficial for long-term use, and does not go bad even in hot and humid climates.
Claims about mineral oil being carcinogenic is merely anecdotal. Mineral oils used in cosmetics do not cause any health issues when used as recommended.
Additionally, FDA has approved mineral oil as an active ingredient in some over-the-counter drug products, such as anorectal drugs, skin protectants, and ophthalmic moisturizers. The FDA has approved using mineral oil as a food additive in yeast manufacturing. Hence, there is nothing to worry about the safety of mineral oil used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Exposure to crude mineral oil or unrefined mineral oil in workplaces is linked with the development of skin cancer, particularly those working in:
- Airplane manufacturing
- Production of steel products
- Copper mining
- Engine repair
- Automobile manufacturing
- Newspaper and commercial printing
Why is a mineral oil used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals?
Mineral oil has several roles in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products due to its physical and chemical properties.
Some of the reasons why they are commonly used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical drugs are as follows:
- Cleansing performance
- Skin protection and barrier effect
- Improves skin softness
- Act as carrier oils
- Stool softener
- Cleaning properties
- Thickening agents
- Highly stable
- Not susceptible to rancidity or oxidation compared to other oils
- Moisturizing effect
Besides, mineral oil prevents moisture loss from a person’s skin and keeps them moisturized. Because it is inert, skin reaction rarely occurs.
Mineral oil acts as emollients and moisturizes the intestine to facilitate stool passage.
- While the stool passages through the colon portion of the intestine, mineral oil retards the absorption of water by the colon and other parts of the intestine.
- As a result, the water lubricates the intestine for easy stool passage.
6 benefits of mineral oil
Mineral oil has various applications due to its desirable physical properties.
Some of the health benefits associated with mineral oil are:
- Acts as a stool softener to treat occasional constipation
- Prevents dryness and cracking of heels
- Helps treat dandruff when applied on the scalp without leaving a greasy feeling
- Improves skin softness and protects the skin from dryness
- Helps dislodge ear wax
- Prevents diaper rash and calms skin burns caused due to radiation therapy
Medically Reviewed on 12/29/2021
ChemicalSafetyFacts.org. Mineral Oil. https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/mineral-oil/#safety-information
Weinstein M. First do no harm: The dangers of mineral oil. Paediatr Child Health. 2001;6(3):129-131. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804525/
Chuberre B, Araviiskaia E, Bieber T, Barbaud A. Mineral oils and waxes in cosmetics: an overview mainly based on the current European regulations and the safety profile of these compounds. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Nov;33 Suppl 7:5-14. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jdv.15946