Friday, April 15, 2011

The skin care product no athlete should ever own

I frequently read fitness magazines where the skin care editor suggests using a certain product or products with this ingredient to protect the skin or moisturize it.

The product/ingredient?

Mineral Oil or Petroleum Jelly. Here's the definition of mineral oil: A distillation product of petroleum ( a liquid by product of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum based product from crude oil.) esp. one used as a lubricant, moisturizer or laxative.

Mineral oil is a substance of relatively low value, and it is produced in very high amounts. Refine mineral oils are aromatic oils (commonly used in candles), based on aromatic hydrocarbons-not to be confused with essential oils. Essential oils is a concentrate from plants and use a cold pressed method for extraction, not alcohol.

Although the skin care editors are only trying to be helpful, they may not realize what mineral oil/petroleum jelly actually does to your skin. In brief:

Mineral oil and other petroleum products coat the skin with a slick film that makes your skin feel soft and supple. But, it's not your skin you're feeling, it's the mineral oil. Underneath that slick surface, you have clogged pores that can't release toxins from perspiration, reduces dead skin cell turnover rate (trapping dirt and sweat), and can't naturally absorb moisture from the air. This is what mineral oil is ultimately doing to your skin.

Mineral oil fools the skin that it has adequate moisture from the air and your body naturally stops producing its own natural safe oils. This can lead to pre-mature aging of the skin and a dry weathered appearance.

Your skin basically become dysfunctional and can't do its job properly as the body's largest organ.

Why do some people suggest petroleum based products? Mainly to protect skin in cold, dry weather and as a moisturizer. The two main products usually containing mineral oil are sunscreens and moisturizers.

You don't have to use a sunscreen or moisturizer with mineral oil-even if suggested in a credible magazine. Take the time and read the ingredients. Mineral oil is usually listed in the top of ingredients.

Good advice? Avoid products with this in it and you are sure to discover a long term benefit to your skin. Remember-mineral oil does not moisturize or protect your skin in any way. And sunscreens containing mineral oil actually attract sun's harmful rays.

By Sandy Alcide, founder Motion Medica fitness skin care.Copyright 2011.