Mineral oil is a petroleum product which is used in many cosmetics (including foundations and face powder) as well as ointments to soothe allergic reactions. Ironically, mineral oil can incite allergic reactions which can be severe enough to send one to the emergency room. I always find it alarming how the oil typically used to moisturize babies’ skin is mineral oil, but since it is cheap and hypoallergenic, it continues to be used on infants who may develop reactions to it.
I was compelled to write about mineral oil after I had to use it on my midsection yesterday at a photo shoot. Despite a long history of severe reactions to mineral oil, I reluctantly applied the oil and just hoped that I would not react this time. By the time I got home from the photo shoot I was itchy EVERYWHERE, especially on my arms and legs where I had NOT applied oil. This was a deep, unrelenting itch, one that was not relieved by scratching, and I broke out in a rash on both arms. I was so uncomfortable that I took a shower to soothe my skin. Even with the shower I hardly slept last night because of the itching. I could have calmed the reaction down with Benadryl but did not want to be groggy so I opted not to take it.
Please be aware of mineral oil sensitivity and if you suspect that you might be susceptible, make sure to avoid any products that contain mineral oil. Women who have had regular skin reactions to foundations or face powders should be especially aware of this potential reaction. I NEVER recommend mineral oil to any of my patients and am especially against the use of mineral oil on babies.
As an alternative, you can use almond oil, olive oil, or sesame oil, unless you have allergies to any of those substances.