A popular ingredient in lotions and creams for babies and adults, petrolatum, which is sometimes called petroleum jelly, has long been considered one of the most effective moisturizing ingredients. It is FDA-approved for over-the-counter use as a skin protectant—and is often referred to as the “gold standard” of occlusive ingredients because it creates a physical barrier that prevents moisture from leaving the skin.

Important Things to Know about Petrolatum

  • Petrolatum can be used on skin in need of hydration and/or protection on any part of the body. Because of its ability to help prevent moisture loss, it’s especially effective for promoting healing as well as hydrating extremely dry skin in areas such as the heels while being gentle enough for delicate baby skin.*

  • Petrolatum is often included in skincare products for its hydrating and protective benefits. Petrolatum is a very stable ingredient that is unlikely to react with other ingredients.

  • As an emollient, petrolatum has the ability to penetrate all of the uppermost layers of the skin to fill in the spaces between skin cells. In addition, it prevents moisture loss and helps to provide immediate occlusion for compromised skin.

  • Commonly found in balms and ointments, petrolatum can also be combined with other hydrating and skin-softening ingredients in lotions and creams.

  • A superior moisturizer and skin protectant, petrolatum is suitable for all skin types. Skin reactions to petrolatum are known to be extremely rare, which is why petrolatum is often included in products for babies as well as those with sensitive and/or compromised skin. Petrolatum’s ability to form a long-lasting physical barrier on the skin makes it a common ingredient in diaper creams. It's also non-comedogenic, so it won't clog pores or aggravate acne-prone skin.

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