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Does Vaseline Help Acne?

Let’s be real – we’ve all dealt with some type of acne at one point or another. For some of us, it’s just a passing phase that comes and goes with puberty. And even after that, it may come back sporadically as a random pimple here and there. But for others, it’s a daily battle that seems like it will never end. No matter what skincare products pop up on the market or what home remedies we try, those pesky blemishes just won’t budge. So, when something as seemingly simple as Vaseline is touted as a possible cure-all, it’s no wonder that people are willing to give it a shot. Does Vaseline help acne, though? Let’s take a closer look.

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Vaseline: a General Overview

You probably have a tub of Vaseline somewhere in your house right now. Its uses seem endless – from chapped lips to minor cuts and burns. It’s inexpensive and easy to find, partly why it’s so popular.

But what exactly is it? Vaseline is a petroleum jelly-based product that was first patented back in the 1860s. Robert Chesebrough, a chemist from Brooklyn, New York, first noticed the potential while working in the oil fields.

He noticed that workmen often get cuts and burns, but the jelly-like substance that coated their skin would heal the wounds almost immediately. Not one to miss an opportunity, Chesebrough bottled the stuff and started selling it as a healing ointment.

In the years that followed, the general public started to catch on, and people also started using petroleum jelly for acne. It’s still used much in the same way even today, but its benefits have expanded far beyond that. 

Petroleum Jelly Vs. Vaseline

The main difference between Vaseline and petroleum jelly is that Vaseline is a smooth mixture of petroleum jelly and mineral oils. On the other hand, petroleum jelly is a rough semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons. Vaseline is a well-known petroleum jelly brand that moisturizes and protects skin. Petroleum jelly is a semi-solid mixture of carbon and hydrogen. It has different uses in hair care products and cosmetics. 

Vaseline as Acne Treatment

Sure, all that sounds great. But can this Petroleum Jelly help heal acne? Is this the miracle cure we’ve all been searching for? Well, the answer is yes, but only to a certain extent. 

Remember that what works for one person might not work for another. We all have unique physiology, which inherently means that our skin will react differently to various treatments.

That said, there are certainly plenty of people who will attest to the fact that this product has helped clear up their acne. Here are some of the ways it might benefit you.

Boosts Other Acne Products

Here’s the deal – Vaseline in itself isn’t a direct acne fighter but it can be used in conjunction with other, more powerful treatments to help heal the skin barrier. You know what they say – two is better than one, right?

The science behind it is pretty simple. Acne treatments usually work by drying out your skin, which can lead to irritation, redness, and flakiness. Applying a layer of Vaseline before your treatment can help create a barrier between your skin and the product, preventing potential irritation.

In addition, when used as a spot treatment before bed, Vaseline can help create a base that allows other acne-fighting products, like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, to penetrate deeper into the skin and work more effectively. It essentially acts as a delivery system, allowing your skin to reap the maximum benefits of each product.

Helps Heal Scarring and Cuts

Once you’ve minimized and cleared up your acne, it’s time to focus on the damage that’s been done. And we’re not just talking about the emotional scars – though those are valid, too. We’re talking about the physical ones.

This skin condition can often leave behind dark spots and discoloration, as well as raised scars known as keloids. These reddish-brown marks result from excess collagen production, and they can be pretty difficult to get rid of. 

If you’re wondering does Vaseline help with acne scars, you’ll be happy to hear that it can help with that, too. While it won’t completely erase them, it can help fade their appearance and make them less noticeable over time. Simply apply a small amount to the affected area once or twice a day, and you should start to see results in as little as four weeks. Additionally, you should use an acne scar-safe facial cleanser to help clear your skin.

Does Vaseline cocoa butter help clear acne scars? Luckily, yes! This deep conditioning lotion penetrates deeply into the skin to smooth away roughness, restoring the skin’s natural glow.

Locks In Moisture and Protects the Skin

If you suffer from dry, flaky skin, you know how frustrating it can be to find a product that does the trick. Using spot treatments and other acne products can only worsen the problem, as they tend to dry out your skin even further. 

That’s where Vaseline comes in. In contrast to standard moisturizers, which only lock in moisture for a few hours, this stuff forms an actual barrier on your skin and nourishes it from within. While superficial moisturizers just sit on top of the skin, Vaseline penetrates deep down to provide long-lasting hydration. 

Not only does it prevent water loss, but it also helps your skin cells regenerate and repair themselves. This is because it’s loaded with humectants like glycerin, which attract moisture to the skin and help keep it plump and fresh. Given the damaging effects that acne can have on the skin, this is certainly a welcome addition. 

Now, slathering a thick layer of Vaseline on your face might not sound like the most pleasant experience, especially for those with oily skin. But don’t worry – a little goes a long way. Just apply a small amount to the areas that tend to get dry, and you should see a noticeable difference in your skin’s texture and hydration levels.

Removes Makeup

This one might come as a surprise, but Vaseline can be used as a gentle and effective makeup remover. Unlike harsh cleansing agents that can strip your skin of its natural oils and disturb the delicate pH balance, this stuff is gentle enough to use daily. 

We all know that a face that hasn’t been properly cleansed before bed is just asking for a breakout. To remove your makeup, simply apply a small amount of Vaseline to a cotton pad and gently wipe it over your face. It’s the same as using micellar water, except without the potential irritation.

Just be careful around the eyes, since this is the most sensitive area on your face. Don’t tug or scrub too hard, as this can cause delicate skin to break and lead to fine lines and wrinkles.

Does Petroleum Jelly Clog Pores?

Given the thick consistency and occlusive nature of petroleum jelly, it’s no surprise that so many people are concerned about its ability to clog pores. After all, one of the cardinal skincare rules is to avoid products that can block your pores and cause breakouts.

But here’s the thing – petroleum jelly is non-comedogenic, which means it’s specifically designed not to block pores. It’s absorbed so quickly by the skin that it doesn’t even have time to sit on the surface and cause any problems.

While it may feel greasy when you first apply it, don’t worry – it won’t leave your face looking like an oil slick. Once it’s absorbed, you’ll be left with soft, nourished skin that’s free of any greasy residue. 

Plus, other products are more likely to block your pores, including heavy makeup, fragranced skincare products, and even some dietary habits such as drinking soda or smoking cigarettes. If you’re concerned about clogged pores, you should focus on avoiding these other potential culprits before you start worrying about petroleum jelly. 

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Decrease skin inflammation with 9 natural targeted ingredients

Most vitamins and supplements do more harm than good when it comes to clearing your skin. Learn about 9 targeted ingredients that actually help clear acne breakouts.

Finishing Thoughts

Vaseline can be beneficial for your skin – even if you don’t suffer from acne. Just remember to use it sparingly and only in the areas that need it, as too much of a good thing might become a problem. And if you’re looking for alternatives to vaseline for acne treatment, the most common ones are:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Retinoids
  • Azelaic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Topical antibiotics

If you’re wondering does Vaseline help with baby acne too, we’d suggest consulting with your pediatrician to ensure the product is safe for your little munchkin. And as with any new product, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test first to see how your skin reacts. Apply a pea-sized amount to a small area and wait 24 hours to see if there’s any irritation. If everything looks good, add Vaseline to your skincare routine.And if you’re looking to learn more about acne and what causes it, our easy-to-follow eBook provides an extensive insight into the matter and can help you clear your acne for good through certain lifestyle changes.

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Stephanie Nera (Pharmacist)
Analyzed by Stephanie Nera

I am a pharmacist who graduated cum laude in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of Santo Tomas. I have worked as a writer for over 5 years, handling small time and multinational clients alike. Most notably, I have worked as an in-house writer and medical reviewer for Hello Doctor. I’m an Arizona native who has spent a good number of years in the Philippines. With that said, my health journey has gone through many extremes throughout my entire life. As a former “fat kid”, stressed-out medical student, and current PCOS warrior, I am passionate about sharing my professional and personal insights with those struggling with these problems and more. (Spoiler alert: you’re probably using way too many medications and products right now). Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, anytime! Read more of Stephanie's articles.


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