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What is Paraffin & is it a healthy ingredient?

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Article by Amina Kitching

Safe Cosmetics Australia [SCA] Profile | Email | Website
Safe Cosmetics Australia [SCA] SCA is the first nontoxic certification program in Australia. We ensure that items used every day are MADE SAFE without ingredients that are known or suspected to cause harm to human health or the environment. Our mission is to raise chemical awareness, advocate for a pre-market regulatory scheme and verify products that are MADE SAFE Non-Toxic Certified for a sustainable & healthy future: see the TOXIC-FREE LIST
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 Average number of chemicals in a product toxic free chem free natural skin care organic

The cheapest way to produce a product is using paraffin oil as the base ingredient. Also known as ‘mineral oil’, paraffin oil is made from petroleum and is known to be contaminated with carcinogens, cancer-causing chemicals.

Paraffin oil is used in many products commonly available in Australia. It is found in sorboline, baby products including bath and body oils, body wash, sunscreen and medicinal creams to treat eczema. It is surprising how many products use paraffin oil in Australia when there are so many healthier alternatives available. This greasy film-forming chemical has a purpose. It is highly effective at treating dry cracked skin and is an affordable option for any cosmetic manufacturer.

Paraffin oil is predominantly used as a base to produce cheap products. Paraffin oil does not provide any nutritional benefit to the skin, rather it ‘coats’ the skin with a thick greasy texture that provides a barrier function that does not allow air to penetrate. Thus Paraffin oil acts as an ‘occlusive’ oil that benefits the skin when medical treatment is necessary, paraffin oil coats the skin serving to form a wound dressing.

In underdeveloped areas, paraffin oil is used to treat the feet of many people that cannot afford shoes. The constant over-use of bare feet can lead to infection caused by dry cracked skin. Therefore paraffin has a purpose where money is an issue and health is at risk. If you cannot walk due to dry cracked heels and are offered a paraffin cream to repair the skin, then this is a positive outcome. But, in developed countries paraffin oil only serves to increase the profits of cosmetic companies that produce cheap cosmetics.

There are many alternatives available. Natural oils are a closer match to the skin’s own natural sebum, compared to paraffin oil. Jojoba for instance, is a natural liquid wax that is almost identical to our skin’s own natural sebum. Jojoba won’t block the skin’s pores and it allow’s the skin to breathe making it an ideal ingredient for skin care. When using paraffin oil, the skin will feel well moisturised due to the thick greasy coating that sits on top of the skin and most people don’t like this. Paraffin oil blocks the skin’s pores and can lead to severe itching. By comparison, natural oils are available in many different textures from thin and lightweight to thick and greasy.

Alarmingly, paraffin oil is commonly found in medicinal creams and is often applied to the skin in products given to children suffering from eczema. A study in the UK applied a cream made from water and paraffin oil to the skin of over 100 children, more than half of them suffered skin irritation ranging from redness to itching, to burning and stinging. This reaction risks making eczema worse.

Natural oils provide nutritional benefit to the skin: read the full article here>>

For more information on cosmetic ingredients and toxicity, please see the links below:

Safe Cosmetics Australia ® The Toxic Free Campaign





Products carrying the Australian Certified Toxic-Free® logo or our new VERIFIED NONTOXIC™ seal, are MADE SAFE NonToxic Certified™

 "Nontoxic ingredients are by far the Healthier Choice for you & your family"

“Thanks to research organisations, writers, journalists, doctors, scientists, environmental advocates and the many people that make up the cosmetics industry, I am grateful to be part of a movement towards natural and organic products. There are so many inspiring brands that share this passion for raising chemical awareness, seeking to improve the cosmetics industry by formulating nontoxic, sustainable and healthy products. Support Safe Cosmetics Australia’s, Toxic Free Campaign and look for brands that carry the approved seals.” – Amina Kitching, FDR Safe Cosmetics Australia

Article/Information supplied by Amina Kitching. Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.


30 Mar 2017

Article/Information supplied by Amina Kitching

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.