Coconut oil vs petroleum jelly: Know which one is better for dry skin

Coconut oil is often the preferred choice of women with dry skin or hair. Giving it a tough competition is petroleum jelly, which also helps moisturise the skin. It’s a good solution to problems like chapped lips and dry skin that need moisture and nourishment. So clearly, it’s difficult to choose between coconut oil and petroleum jelly. Don’t worry, as a dermatologist shares which one is better for your skin, especially your face. Find out who wins in this coconut oil vs petroleum jelly debate.

HealthShots consulted Dr. Kuna Ramdas, Senior Dermatologist, Kamineni Hospitals, Hyderabad, to find out if you should go for coconut oil or petroleum jelly.

coconut oil vs petroleum jelly
Coconut oil or petroleum jelly? Find out which one works better on the face. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Coconut oil vs petroleum jelly

When we touch petroleum jelly, it feels like a gel. That’s because it is a byproduct of oil refinement and it might not be environment-friendly, says Dr. Ramdas. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is a natural oil that’s made from dried coconut meat. You can either go for refined or unrefined coconut oil, depending on how the oil is processed. Applying coconut oil all over your body will naturally moisturise your skin and also boost your metabolism. So, he says that coconut oil is preferable for the face.

Benefits of coconut oil and petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly is frequently applied topically to assist in the treatment of anything that is dehydrated, including:

• Chapped lips
• Flaky skin
• Diaper rash

Petroleum jelly can help to add moisture to areas like elbows and knees as well. But the expert says that mineral oil and petroleum jelly are not really moisturisers. They only serve as a barrier to keep moisture from escaping the skin.

Coconut oil is a non-fragrant plant oil that is rich in fatty acids like linoleic acid and lauric acid. It has anti-bacterial properties and acts as a moisturiser to soften the skin (how to use coconut oil for skin). Coconut oil contains a wealth of vitamins, proteins, and minerals that are great for your skin.

Potential health problems you can face after using petroleum jelly for long

Even though petroleum jelly has many advantages, it shouldn’t be used for every problem. It might cause wrinkles on your face (anti-ageing foods to avoid wrinkles). If you are prone to breakouts from acne, stay away from applying petroleum jelly on your face. It also has the potential to clog pores. While some brands claim not to clog pores, it does form a barrier that can cause skin breakouts, especially when used frequently. So, women with acne problems and those with sensitive skin should avoid using petroleum jelly on acne-prone areas such as the face.

coconut oil vs petroleum jelly
Using petroleum jelly for long can lead to wrinkles. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Natural alternatives to petroleum jelly for face

Avoid petroleum byproducts such as mineral oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum, naphtha, and formaldehyde. Look for products that use environment-friendly substitutes for petroleum jelly. Your skin can get naturally moisturised and hydrated by using products made with cocoa, shea butter, and coconut oil (benefits of shea butter).

So, if you begin your day with petroleum jelly or slather it on your face before sleeping, you need to quit doing it. Try to use coconut oil if your face needs moisture!

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