First sold as a miracle fix-all wonder jelly in the late 1800s, Vaseline was and to some degree still is like Ductapte, or so that’s what the internet tells me. From chapped lips and stain remover to a topical ointment for Psoriasis and sex lube, the uses for vaseline are endless. Could this be my new Macgyver beauty and life hack product?
For years, I’ve been playing whack-a-mole with psoriasis on my shins, elbows, and behind my ears and scalp. It’s not horribly bad compared to others, but I am self-conscious about it.
Staying moisturized promotes healing and calms psoriasis flare-ups, so I use topical ointments and creams regularly. Unfortunately, it’s not full-proof.
During one of my psoriasis flareups, and desperate to try anything new, I turned to the internet in search of a home remedy to add to my routine.
If you have this annoying autoimmune disease, then I know you can relate.
Lo and behold, Vaseline popped up on my radar. It’s not a new remedy, and many dermatologists recommend it for eczema also.
Feeling a little unsure about using Petroleum Jelly on my skin, I did a little research.
Vaseline’s magical multipurpose uses date back to the late 1880s.
During my search for psoriasis solutions, I found a myriad of articles touting all the other magical ways to use Vaseline, some of which date back to the 1880s. Some made sense, but some seemed outlandish.
- According to Stebben and Morris, US President Calvin Coolidge liked having his head slathered with petroleum Jelly while he ate breakfast in bed.
- By the 1950s, using Vaseline for scalp massages and hair grooming was normal.
- Vaseline doesn’t freeze, so Robert Peary supposedly brought some Vaseline with him on his historical North Pole expedition to keep his skin safe from the elements.
- World War I soldiers used Vaseline to treat cuts and burns.
I like to experiment, so I tried a few hacks, including using it for my psoriasis. Before I share my petroleum jelly results on my psoriasis or the list of Vaseline uses I found on the internet, let’s go over what Vaseline is and is not.
Facts About Petroleum Jelly And Vaseline Use
What is Vaseline?
Vaseline is a popular brand that has sold Petroleum jelly since 1878 after Robert A Chesebrough patented a new and useful product from petroleum, which he called Vaseline.
The brand name has become synonymous with petroleum jelly, similar to Kleenex (tissue) and Xerox (photocopy). Vaseline, the brand now sells many other products, including lotions, creams, oils and serums, which contain smaller amounts of petroleum jelly.
What is petroleum jelly?
It’s a by-product of the oil drilling process (FOSSIL FUELS). Unrefined “rod wax” forms on oil rigs, which then gets refined and distilled into petroleum jelly, rendering it a colourless, odourless jelly and removing all the carcinogens to make it safe for use.
What does Vaseline mean?
There is a lot of speculation, but some think it’s from the German word for water, “Wasser,” and the Greek word for oil, “elaion,”
Is Petroleum jelly a moisturizer?
Yes, according to this study, petroleum jelly (also called petrolatum) is an emollient and, therefore, an effective moisturizer. It’s also “occlusive,” which means it works like a barrier that traps the moisture already present in your skin and prevents it from escaping while also blocking external factors such as bacteria and exposure to air which can pull moisture from your skin.
A little-known consumer fact is that mineral oil is actually a byproduct of the petroleum jelly refinement process.
Some people who have sensitive skin may develop allergies. Stop using it.
Always apply petroleum jelly to clean skin:
Not cleaning the skin properly before applying petroleum jelly can cause fungal or bacterial infections.
Is Petroleum jelly safe:
I’m not a doctor, but dermatologists frequently recommend petroleum jelly. However, new studies show that our bodies can’t metabolize or break down petroleum jelly. This is a little troubling since many skincare and cosmetic products, including makeup, contain petroleum by-products, including mineral oils and paraffinum liquidum, so you know, use your best judgement.
Is Vaseline edible?
Vaseline is intended for topical use only. However, Vaseline® Jelly does meet FDA requirements and is considered safe if accidentally consumed. It was even touted as safe to eat at one point.
How to avoid petroleum products:
There is a lot of controversy around using petroleum jelly, so if you want to avoid it, look for products that are marked “free of petrochemicals” or “petrochemical-free.” Also, avoid products that contain paraffin.
51 Vaseline and Petroleum Jelly Uses
Let’s jump into the list of vaseline uses.
VASELINE USES FOR HEALTH AND PERSONAL CARE
1) Psoriasis: (my personal results and opinion)
I gave Vaseline a try to see if it would help my psoriasis, and although it did lock in moisture, it wasn’t providing additional moisture to my skin any better than my other cream moisturizers.
However, I found that if I applied a hydrating cream to soften my skin first—followed with petroleum jelly to lock everything in, I could go longer periods before applying more moisturizer.
On the other hand, through a lot of trial and error, I also discovered that Cocoa butter, which is also occlusive like petroleum jelly, works great as a barrier.
My current routine is to use a cream or Shea butter (an emollient), then seal everything with Cocoa butter. The downside is these are much more expensive than petroleum jelly.
Moisturizes severely dry skin. Especially hands, elbows, knees, heels. Keeps skin moisturized for 18 hours. Unscented, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
Contains microdroplets of Vaseline Jelly to lock in moisture. Super fast-absorbing for a non-greasy feel. Clinically proven to keep dry skin healed for 3 weeks, as proven after 4 weeks daily use.
Contains oat extract to calm inflammation and protect the skin which is great for psoriasis too.
2) Sex lubricant (NOOOOO!)
I live in France, so this is important to know. When people hear the word “la Vaseline” in France, they might automatically think “sex lube”, but it depends on the context. So the next time you walk into a French pharmacy and need to ask the pharmacist where to find the vaseline, remember to specify what you plan on using it for, lips, skin, burns, etc.
Although several sources say you can use vaseline as a sex lube, according to Reuters, women’s risk for bacterial vaginosis increases if petroleum jelly is used internally. Plus, petroleum jelly will make a latex condom fall apart.
3) Cuts and burns
Vaseline was originally marketed to help cuts and burns heal faster. And according to this study, petroleum jelly really does help you heal faster by keeping the wounds optimally moist and preventing scabs from forming.
4) To reduce scarring after surgery:
This apparently is standard post-surgical therapy for incisions.
5) Prevents germs from entering wounds and cuts
Unfortunately, some research has found that petroleum jelly can cause redness.
6) Diaper rash cream for babies
Some pediatricians recommend parents use Vaseline as a diaper cream to prevent rashes. There are also non-petroleum products out there like “live clean baby.”
Baby Baby ointment made in Canada with 100% sustainably sourced ingredients and fragrance-free certified organic botanicals
7) Genital rash
If it works on baby rashes, why not? (NON-STD TYPE ONLY)
8) Infection From Body Piercings
According to myhealth.alberta.ca, dabbing a little petroleum jelly on an ear-piercing infection will help the healing process.
9) Reduce scaling and itching from dandruff
10) Alleviate and moisturize chapped lips
11) Reduces itching caused by dry skin
12) Prevent nipple chafing
Runners sometimes put Vaseline on their nipples to prevent chafing caused by t-shirt friction. It can help moms who breastfeed also.
13) Thermometer lubricant:
Apply some to the thermometer when taking your baby’s temperature through the rectum.
14) Aftercare gunshot wound
Myhealth.alberta.ca recommends a thin layer of petroleum jelly on your wound as part of your aftercare.
15) Black eye home remedy
According to Stylecraze, to reduce swelling and
16) Minimize your allergies
According to some people who suffer from allergies and hayfever, dabbing Vaseline under your nose or around your eyes creates a barrier and traps pollen before it reaches your eyes or you have the chance to breathe it in.
17) Nail and Cuticle Care:
Rubbing a little Vaseline on your cuticles helps lock in the moisture and keeps your cuticles softer and healthier.
According to WebMD, if you have hemorrhoids and it hurts to poop, put a little petroleum jelly just inside your anus. (Ask your doctor first, this sounds weird to me.)
VASELINE USES FOR PETS & INSECTS
19) Protect your dog’s paws from winter weather
Put a little Petroleum jelly on your dog’s paws to create a barrier that prevents snow, salt, and salt from getting between your dog’s toes. It also keeps their paw pads hydrated. Make sure to wipe them off before you let them run into the house.
20) Hairball remedy for cats
According to catdoctors, you can make a hairball remedy for your feline friends by mixing petroleum jelly and mineral oil. Together these two ingredients form an oily lubricant that helps hair pass through the digestive system. A proper dose for a cat is one finger length of the gooey substance given orally 2-3 times a week on an empty stomach.
21) Keep ants away from a pet’s food bowl
Rub petroleum jelly around the sides of your pet’s food bowl. The ants shouldn’t be able to pass the vaseline barrier without getting stuck.
22) Eliminate and kill head lice.
This really works. I’ve done it for my daughter twice already.
Apply a thick amount of petroleum jelly all over the scalp, then put on a plastic shower cap or garbage bag and leave overnight or for 8 hours. It may take a few washes to get the petroleum jelly out of your hair, but the lice should have all suffocated to death.
23) Prevent bedbugs from climbing into bed with you
Some websites suggest coating your bed frame with petroleum jelly. While this could stop the bed bugs from travelling up the bed to bite you, they can get at you in other ways. For instance, if they’re already in your mattress. Bed bugs can crawl on the ceiling and fall onto your bed. So call an exterminator.
VASELINE AS A MAKEUP & BEAUTY ENHANCER
24) Treat dry skin under the eyes and around the eyelids
According to the official Vaseline website, if you dab a little Vaseline around your eyes, it will seal in moisture.
25) Body scrub or hand scrub
Mix a little sea salt, or sugar in a bowl with some Vaseline, and you’ve got an instant body scrub.
I think olive oil is a better choice.
26) Thin out your favourite lotion
I add water to my lotion to thin it out, then shake it all up. This also works well when your lotion bottle is almost empty to get at the lotion that’s stuck to the inside of the bottle and won’t come out.
27) Eye Makeup remover:
Put vaseline onto a cotton pad or on your fingers and rub the vaseline around your eyes. I find vaseline too thick as a make-up remover, but in a pinch, it will work, but so will olive oil.
28) Eyelash glue remover
This method works better with your fingers rather than putting Vaseline onto a cotton pad. But it’s super gooey.
29) Mix with old lipstick to make coloured lip moisturizer
I’ve actually tried this, and I have to say it’s super quick and easy to do. Mix a spoon full of Vaseline into a small container with a sliver of old lipstick and melt everything in the microwave. Pour into a small container and let cool in the
30) Mix with eye shadow or powdered blush to make lip gloss and cream blush
Apply some to pulse points before spraying
32) Harsh weather skin Protection:
Put some on exposed skin before going out in harsh or windy weather—for example, on your hands and cheeks.
33) Seal in moisture after a hot shower:
Apply a thin layer of Vaseline to your skin after a shower to seal in the moisture. Even better, apply a moisturizer first, followed by Vaseline.
34) Prevent nail polish from staining your fingers
The secret to a cleaner, neater at-home manicure that rivals the salon is applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the skin that you don’t want to accidentally get polish on while you paint your nails. Wait for everything to dry, and then wash your hands.
VASELINE FOR HAIR
35) Protect skin from chemical dyes
When using hair dye, apply petroleum jelly along your hairline to prevent hair dye from staining your skin.
36) Hide Split Ends
Rub some vaseline on your hands and lightly apply to split ends.
37) After Shave balm:
MISCELLANEOUS VASELINE HACKS
38) Petroleum Jelly on a Golf Driver (to hit balls straighter)
The rumour is that if you put any kind of grease, chapstick, Vaseline or sunscreen on a driver’s face, it will reduce the sidespin and help you hit the ball further and straighter. Some say this is a myth.
39) Remove water stains from wood
According to Allrecipes, you can remove a water stain from wood by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly. Let it sit overnight and wipe away in the morning. The petroleum jelly should have penetrated the surface and replaced the trapped water with oil. Alternatively, I saw a similar solution using mayonnaise.
40) Detail your car’s dashboard
According to Flusterbuster, once you’ve cleaned your dashboard with a little water and cleaning solution, dry and apply a small amount of vaseline and wipe away any excess with a clean rag. You’ll have a shiny and conditioned dashboard.
41) DIY distressed or antiqued furniture
Dab vaseline haphazardly to your furniture before repainting it. The Vaseline acts as a non-stick barrier between the surface and the paint.
Once you’ve finished painting, take a rag or sponge and carefully begin rubbing, the paint will come off wherever you applied the vaseline giving you that desired rustic distressed look.
42) Protect Doorknobs While Painting
To prevent paint from adhering to wall socket plates or doorknobs, rub some vaseline on them. Once you’ve finished painting, wipe off all the vaseline. Voila, perfect paint job.
43) Prevent car battery corrosion
Vaseline can help clean up your corroded car battery. First, clean your car battery, then dab some petroleum jelly on the battery posts to lubricate them and help prevent further corrosion,
44) Clean your white leather running shoes
Forget about those expensive sneaker cleaners for sale at the footlocker. Take a little vaseline to clean debris, dirt and scuffs out of the leather while also conditioning the leather.
45) Remove scuffs from high heels
If you have some scuffs on your leather or patent leather high heels, dab a little vaseline on a cloth or cue tip and rub it away.
46) Fix squeaky doors:
No WD-40? Vaseline works great, but so does a soap bar.
47) Remove chewing gum from hair
Rub vaseline on chewing gum and surrounding area. Take a comb and gently start to comb out.
The petroleum jelly breaks down the gum in the same way it weakens and breaks down latex condoms. Alternatively, you can use other oils to remove gum from your hair.
48) Remove rings that are stuck on your finger.
If you don’t have any butter or oil laying around, vaseline does the trick.
49) Shine your shoes or leather bags
Dab and rub vigorously.
50) Remove lipstick / Make-up stains from clothing
This did not work. In fact, when I put vaseline on my psoriasis, I accidentally got some on my sheets. It was a bear to get the stains out.
51) Lubricate suitcase wheels and skateboard wheels too.
WANT TO AVOID VASELINE AND PARRAFIN PRODUCTS?
The fact that petroleum jelly (mineral oil and Parrafin) is derived from crude oil is off-putting. I get it.
For those that don’t want to use petroleum but want something similar to use in your skin, there are loads of DIY vaseline recipes out there.
Some common recipes use beeswax and oil, such as olive oil. The result is close to petroleum jelly consistency without the crude oil.
Also, give cocoa butter a try. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also an occlusive and works well as a substitute Vaseline replacement.