Technological and chemical advances continue to bring new dermatological products to market, promising healthy, moisturized skin. But a product discovered in the 19th century still tops dermatologists’ recommendations for healing and keeping skin healthy: petroleum jelly.
You may have an old jar of petroleum jelly collecting dust in the back of your medicine cabinet, but did you know just how versatile that petroleum jelly can be? We’ve rounded up 10 ways you can use petroleum jelly today.
- Heals minor skin scrapes and bruises – Petroleum jelly keeps the area moist, preventing the wound from drying out and forming an ugly scab. It can also keep the scrape or bruise from getting worse. Remember to clean the area first before applying the jelly.
- Relieves dry skin – Dry skin can appear dull and rough, with fine scales that flake off easily. It can be itchy and sometimes even crack and bleed. Rub petroleum jelly on dry patches including your eyelids and lips to relieve itch and stop the flaking. Apply to dry chapped noses during cold and allergy season.
- Moisturizes – Step out of the shower and apply the jelly (like you would with lotion) to lock in moisture to the skin. For lips, use just like Chapstick.
- Saves your hair – Swimming in pool water, the summer sun, and wind can all dry your hair out. Petroleum jelly can lessen the appearance of split ends and add luster. Just rub a small amount in your palms and apply to the ends of your hair.
- Treats diaper rash – If your baby has a diaper rash, apply the jelly during each diaper change. If applied properly, the rash should clear up within a few days. If the rash does not go away, seek help from your child’s pediatrician or a dermatologist.
- Prevents chafing – Chafing happens when body parts rub together or against clothing, causing a painful skin irritation. Apply petroleum jelly to problem areas like the inner thighs, underarms, or nipples to prevent the irritation.
- Prevents skin stains – Looking to dye your hair or get a spray tan? Apply the jelly around your hair line or on your cuticles so the dye or spray tan doesn’t stain your skin or accumulate in your nail beds.
- Rehydrates your nails – If you treat yourself to mani-pedis, apply petroleum jelly to your nails and cuticles in between polishes. This hydrates your nails, cutting down on potential breakage and chipping. It’s best if you apply it when your nails are damp.
- Saves your pet’s paws – After you’ve gone for a stroll with your pet, clean his or her paws with gauze, dry, then apply the jelly.
- Helps remove stuck objects – Stubborn ring won’t come off? Apply a little around the stuck object to safely remove.
Written by Dr. David Harker