February 2, 2009

What About Petroleum Jelly?

Over the past few weeks I've been to a number of blogs, forums and Fotki sites that question the negatives of petroleum jelly. Some reason that their mothers and grandmothers used it, it was used on their hair as a child along with a bowl of warm water and a comb and brush and that these things encompassed their styling routine. They reason that their hair grew and was healthy, so why give it up? LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
I think many of us can relate to this hair care routine, mine was DAX. I had the choice of the blue one or the green one and other than drug store shampoo and conditioner that was it. We have come a long way in understanding how petroleum jelly reacts on our hair and skin. Petroleum jelly acts as a barrier or sealant and is not a moisturizer. It assist in the absorption of moisturizers or topical aides since it creates a barrier that doesn't allow external elements in and stops topical aides from dissipating off the skin or hair.
The negatives is that it a synthetic jelly that causes build up after a while and prevents the hair and scalp from absorbing beneficial nutrients in hair care products that assist in maintaining healthy hair and scalp. It also prevents the release of natural toxins found in skin/scalp. This is true if the hair and scalp are not being thoroughly cleansed after using petroleum jelly and the only way to cleanse it is by using harsh detergents. As you can see an unhealthy cycle begins concerning hair care that only dries out our hair and creates a synthetic barrier preventing our hair's natural beauty from being shown.
Some people enjoy petroleum jelly and if that's your choice and your hair is thriving than don't stop. Many natural and relaxed hair care routines incorporate petroleum jelly as a sealant to their hair length or ends after they have applied their moisturizer and they swear by it since it delivers buttery soft hair. Again, that is because the petroleum jelly acts a barrier sealing in moisture. If you use petroleum jelly or its present in your products use them sparingly especially if you don't shampoo regularly.
A great alternative is Alba Un-Petroleum Multi-Purpose Jelly which uses castor seed oil as a base.

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