Petrolatum is in more products than you'd think. There are some chamois cream brands who use it (the names will be withheld to protect the innocent). There are also many chamois cream "substitutes" like diaper rash ointment and "barnyard animal" balms that use it too (again, brand names will be withheld). It's also in many lotions, lip balms, and other cosmetics.
Here are just a few reasons we feel petroleum jelly/petrolatum has no place in a chamois cream:
- Petrolatum does not let your skin breathe. It's an occlusive agent which means it seals off the skin...meaning nothing, air or water, penetrates its barrier. This means it also traps dirt, oil, and bacteria on your skin.
- Petrolatum can break down your the chamois in your shorts. At up to $200 a pop, why shorten the lifespan of such an important investment? Petroleum jelly dissolves rubber...and since the inside of your chamois is made out of foam rubber, you run the risk of ruining it. And if you've ever used a chamois cream or substitute which contains petroleum jelly, you know it can be really hard to wash out of your chamois and off your skin.
- Petrolatum can discolor or stain your clothing and/or saddle. There are some "home remedies" to help get it out of fabric, but you'll be hard pressed to get a petroleum jelly stain out of your saddle.
- Petrolatum does nothing to actually nourish your skin. Due to its occlusive property as noted above, petroleum jelly has the potential to age skin prematurely since it can suffocate the cells. Since it does not allow moisture to penetrate the surface, dry skin can become even more so. A good chamois cream should not only help fight friction, but it should also help repair your skin.
- Petrolatum can cause skin irritation. If combined with skin irritants such as lanolin, squalene, mineral oil, or anything else you might be sensitive to, it can cause further irritation since it traps the irritant on the skin.
- There have been studies linking petroleum products to cancer. A study conducted at Columbia University linked an impurity found in petrolatum called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to breast cancer. A similar study conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences discovered that lab animals with mammary gland cancer had PAHs in their mutated genes. In fact, the European Union has banned many petroleum jelly products for this reason.
And FYI...mineral oil, paraffin wax, and paraffin oil ALL go by the name petrolatum and are ALL petroleum derivatives, so read your ingredients labels carefully!
At Petal Power, we strive to use the very best natural and plant-based ingredients in our products to help protect and nourish your delicate skin. For a full list of our ingredients and how they are derived, click here!