The Benefits and Limits of Using Vaseline on Your Face

Vaseline is the name of a popular brand of petroleum jelly. It’s a mixture of minerals and waxes that are easily spreadable. Vaseline has been used for more than 140 years as a healing balm and ointment for wounds, burns, and chafed skin.

Petroleum is the main ingredient of Vaseline. You may be more familiar with other petroleum byproducts, such as kerosene and gasoline. Just like those products, Vaseline has a slick and filmy consistency.

But unlike other forms of petroleum, Vaseline is safe to use on your skin and hands. It’s even a favorite for some as a moisturizer.

It’s safe to use Vaseline as a moisturizer for your face, but there are some things you should know if you’re doing this.

Vaseline and your skin

Vaseline works as an occlusiveTrusted Source ingredient. That means that, for the most part, it doesn’t actually add moisture to your face.

What Vaseline does is seal existing moisture into your skin. It also protects skin that’s been injured or irritated by forming a seal or barrier where it’s applied.

With this barrier, petroleum jelly effectively reduces how much moisture is lost from the skin. According to one review of studies, petroleum jelly is superiorTrusted Source at this compared to lanolin, olive, and mineral oils.

Vaseline keeps your skin from losing moisture, so certain blended petroleum jelly products may be more effective at actually moisturizing. Aquaphor, another petroleum jelly product, blends lanolin and ceresin to make the product moisturizing as well as occlusive.

To make the best use of Vaseline’s barrier effect, at least one renowned dermatologistTrusted Source recommends using it as a makeup remover every night and thoroughly wiping off the excess product. This will, in theory, lock moisture in your skin while you sleep.

Benefits for your face

Removes eye makeup

Since Vaseline is petroleum-based, it dissolves almost any kind of makeup gently and simply. And unlike some makeup removers, Vaseline is safe to use around your eye area. It’s especially good at removing waterproof mascara.

Locks in moisture

Vaseline locks in any moisture on your face without adding other ingredients that might irritate your skin. A layer of Vaseline applied before you sleep can help restore your face’s natural level of moisture and softness.

Heal minor cuts and scrapes

Vaseline forms a protective layer that seals the area of your skin where you apply it. This protective barrier facilitates healing and keeps bacteria from invading a wound that’s working to heal.

Protects chapped lips

Environmental factors like cold wind or hot sun can dry out your lips quickly. When Vaseline is applied to your lips, it protects the sensitive skin around your mouth. It’s also free of flavors and perfumes, so most people don’t need to worry about getting an allergic reaction from using it.

Grooms and styles eyebrows

You can use Vaseline on your face as a neat trick to style your eyebrows. Whether you prefer a high arch or a more natural, full look with your brows, you can apply a thin layer of Vaseline to smooth the hairs into place and make sure they stay put.

Vaseline for chronic skin conditions

Rosacea is a common inflammatory skin condition. The triggers and symptoms of rosacea vary widely from case to case, but research by dermatologists suggests that occlusives like petroleum jelly are safe and even beneficial for people who have rosacea. The “occlusive” property of Vaseline protects skin that is red and inflamed and may help it to heal.


Psoriasis outbreaks are more likely to happen if your skin is dry. Applying Vaseline in areas where you often see psoriasis symptoms is a good proactive measure. While it may not be practical for everyday use, you can seal moisture in using Vaseline on your face without irritating your skin.


When researchers looked into the microbial activity of petroleum jelly, they found that the substance increases the regulation of peptides on your skin’s surface. Peptides happen to be a popular ingredient in some of the more popular and proven beauty creams and firming products.

Vaseline itself won’t shrink your pores or treat wrinkles, but keeping your skin moisturized is an essential preventative measure to slow the signs of aging on your skin.

Not for after-sun care

Vaseline is not safe to use as an immediate measure to treat sunburn or sun damage on your face. Vaseline is oil-based, which means it can seal in heat and aggravate your symptoms further.

Even though the Vaseline labelTrusted Source clearly states it can be used to treat “minor burns,” you should only apply Vaseline to burns that are already healing, and several hours after the injury occurred. Try another natural remedy, such as aloe, instead.

Not for acne

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, Vaseline can trigger outbreaks if you have acne-prone skin. Don’t put petroleum jelly on your face if you’re having an active breakout. There are plenty of other moisturizing options if you have acne-prone skin.

Is Vaseline good for dry skin?

Vaseline is safe and even recommended for use on dry skin. Because of its occlusive properties, Vaseline can help soothe skin that’s chafed and dry. It’s especially handy for the thin skin on your eyelids. Unlike most products, Vaseline is safe to use in the area around your eyes.

Is Vaseline good for oily skin?

Vaseline is safe to use, even if you have oily skin. But the heavy, greasy feeling of Vaseline might not be what you’re aiming for with your skincare routine, especially if you have combination oily or extremely oily skin.

Vaseline will also seal in any oils or sebum that is on your skin when you apply it, so keep that in mind.

Vaseline for sensitive skin

The makers of Vaseline claim that their product is non-comedogenic, so you probably don’t have to worry about it aggravating your skin. Most people with sensitive skin can use Vaseline on their face without any issue.


Rarely, allergic reactions. There are some rare casesTrusted Source of allergic reactions when people use petroleum jelly on their face. If you’re sensitive to or allergic to petroleum products, avoid putting Vaseline on your face.
Not a moisturizer on its own. Another drawback is that Vaseline by itself doesn’t actually hydrate your skin.

Seals in anything else. Remember that Vaseline simply seals in the moisture (and even dirt) that you’ve got on your face. Make sure to apply it to clean skin.
Top layer of skin absorbs it slowly. It may feel soothing and look moisturizing, but petroleum jelly is really not infusing your skin with anything. Vaseline also takes some time to absorb, while a layer always remains on top of the skin.
Bulky or thick on skin. It can sometimes to be too thick to apply Vaseline underneath makeup — or too thick to have on for daily activities.

The takeaway

For most people, Vaseline is a safe and cost-effective way to lock moisture into skin. Even if you have skin conditions such as rosacea or psoriasis, it’s likely safe for you to use Vaseline.

Vaseline easily removes makeup, protects sensitive skin, and can even be used to help small cuts and bruises heal. While it doesn’t moisturize your skin by itself, chances are that trying Vaseline to lock in moisture is worth a shot for you.

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