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What is Petrolatum and Is It Good For Hair?

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After seeing jelly-like ingredient as an active component of some personal care products you found at your local store, you’re probably wondering, what is petrolatum? After all, it is important to know what you are putting on (or inside) your body. A lot of old and harmful ingredients (like formaldehyde) have been phased out of products over the years. However, it is still important to know the benefits of certain ingredients. It’s also important to know, when applied to your hair or skin, if ingredients can cause an health problems. 

What is Petrolatum? 

Petrolatum is another word for a more well-known name petroleum. It is a thick jelly material that acts as a protective against the loss of natural moisture in the skin when applied. It is found in personal care products. Whenever skin, for example, doesn’t receive the proper care, can turn dry and lead to skin irritation. There is one signature product people are familiar with called Vaseline. When this product is applied onto the irritated area, it can help to moisturize the skin and reduce irritation. 

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Where is Petrolatum Found? 

Petrolatum can be found in ointments, lotions and creams. So it is an active ingredient used for adding moisture and protection for the skin. However, this thick jelly can also be found in balms, which means you can find petrolatum in hair products as well. 

Is Petrolatum Good For Hair? 

There can be a misconception on if this ingredient is good for the hair and body. If properly refined, petrolatum has no health concerns. So the quality has to be there. But that hasn’t stopped some companies from shying away from adding this ingredient into their product lines. 

One health concern is the possibility of cancer, mainly in women. However, that could be due to the substance becoming contaminated from a chemical called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). However, petrolatum is a non-toxic, non odor substance. So if it goes through the proper refining process, then it should become more universally safe to use on hair and skin. 

Petrolatum is good for penetrating into the hair, providing the moisture and protection for every strand. It’s also effective in adding moisture to the scalp. This is good for preventing a dry itchy scalp, while also increasing natural oils from the scalp. 


If you were asking yourself what is petrolatum, now you know it’s another word for petroleum. It’s the jelly that you may have used for rashes and dry, itchy skin. It is an ingredient found in personal care products as well as hair products. Petrolatum penetrates into the hair and scalp, and provides the moisture needed. 

Though this thick jelly can be found in hair balms, you will need to shop around to find one that works well for you. Click here to review one product on the market, A&A Strengthening Hair Balm, that contains this jelly substance. It is a key ingredient for repairing hair from damage or breakage, promoting a smooth, healthy scalp. 

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