Petroleum jelly: A comprehensive review of its history, uses, and safety

Payvand Kamrani, Jamie Hedrick, James G. Marks, Andrea L. Zaenglein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, is a widely used topical agent, with a variety of uses in dermatology. Despite its popularity, many myths surround this ubiquitous dermatologic staple. This review details the history of petrolatum and how it is manufactured as well as how its biologic properties make it a great moisturizer. Additionally, data on its potential for flammability, allergenicity, and comedogenicity are detailed, dispelling misconceptions about petrolatum use around oxygen and as a cause of acne. The uses and benefits of petrolatum in dermatology are wide-ranging—a patch test instrument, a vehicle for medicated ointments, and a wound care essential. Given its ubiquitous presence, it is important for dermatologists to understand the history, safety profile, and myths surrounding this humble skincare staple.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-813
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology

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