First on our list of reviews of Eczema products is good old reliable Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. This product was patented in 1872 by chemist Robert Chesebrough. In 1859 he discovered that workers at oil rigs were placing unrefined “rod wax” (raw paraffin) that was stuck to rigs onto their wounds. Through a process called “Vacuum distillation” followed by a special filtration he created what we call today Petroleum Jelly and sold it by the name Vaseline (derived from German Wasser “water” + Greek έλαιον (elaion) “olive oil”).
Petroleum Jelly has been noted to have many beneficial properties; one of those being a strong lubricant for protecting the skin and that brings us to our discussion here.
As you probably already know one of the things that increases the possibility of an eczema outbreak and exacerbates inflammation of an eczema rash is “dry skin”! By keeping your skin moist, especially during the cold dry winters, you can prevent drying of the skin that often triggers eczema flareups.
HOWEVER, you must know that petroleum jelly does not keep the skin moist. Rather, it works as a sealant keeping the body’s nature moisturizers in, thus preventing drying of the skin. This is very important to know because Petroleum Jelly can only help if you apply it correctly. If you apply it straight to dry skin you will not get the maximum benefit from it. The best way to apply petroleum jelly is to apply a thin layer of it to the skin immediately after showering while the skin is still moist. This locks in the moisture enabling the skin to more easily heal itself.
Now for my review.
I’ve tried Petroleum Jelly on several occasions. One the one hand, it does help prevent drying of the skin which of course is beneficial for eczema sufferers. On the other hand, I personally have issues with Petroleum Jelly. For some reason at times it irritates my skin (especially on my hands) which causes me to scratch which in turn causes a rash to develop. Obviously, counter-productive to say the least. However, such reactions are rare (I guess I’m one of the lucky ones!). The main problem I find with petroleum jelly that you should consider is it’s greasy properties. Even if you put on a light layer you will feel a wet greasy feeling. For some, that is not a problem, bit for others (like myself), that is a drawback and with so many other options available, this may not be your best choice. Also to consider is concerns with staining clothing and furniture. If your eczema is located where you wear outer clothing directly on it, you may have to deal with possible staining
- Highly effective emollient
- 100% pure (less allergy concerns)
- Multipurpose (money will not be wasted if you don’t like it on your skin)
- Long lasting (will take time until you need to repurchase)
- Long shelf life (5 to 10 years)
- Shinny appearance
- Can stain clothing and furniture
- Possible allergic reactions (extremely rare)
Although there are drawbacks to using Petroleum Jelly, non-the-less, it’s positive points and relatively cheap price make it worth trying as there is nothing to lose. However, being that there is a concern for carcinogens and other impurities in it, it is highly recommended to buy Vaseline brand Petroleum Jelly as it is highly-refined, triple-purified and regarded as non-carcinogenic. I’d give this product a 3.5 out of 5 stars.