Did you hear? Mineral oil is banned in Europe! So what about the mineral oil that’s in so many of your skincare products? Toss’em or use’em? Stay tuned!
There's a lot of unnecessary confusion about mineral oil. Bottom line: it's safe and not "banned in Europe"... but I’ll come back to “banned” later.
So first, what is mineral oil?
Mineral oil is derived from petroleum and is an important ingredient in baby lotions, ointments and a whole range of skincare products and cosmetics. It’s lightweight, odorless and tasteless. It’s in cold creams, and it’s so often used to remove oil based make-up and even temporary tattoos, mom!
Here’s the catch that causes the confusion:
There are different grades of mineral oil: Cosmetic grade, veterinarian, biomedical, industrial, etc.
Cosmetics-grade mineral oil is the mineral oil used in skin care products and is certified as and approved by either USP, which is the United States Pharmacopeia, or BP, the British Pharmacopeia. It’s COMPLETELY safe, soothing, non-irritating, and perfectly healthy for skin as determined by the regulating pharmaceutical agencies in the US and UK.
In the US, mineral oil is considered by the FDA to be safe topically and orally at specified concentrations and has been approved by the FDA in personal care and cosmetic products, as well as for an additive for food. So mineral oil is not an ingredient to avoid unless you have oily or acne prone skin, in which case the somewhat greasy texture of mineral oil will obviously feel noxious, but even so… studies have suggested that mineral oil is non comedogenic and probably doesn't clog pores. That being said, I still suggest that anyone with oily or acne prone skin avoid products with mineral oil.
Now last, the statement, “Banned in Europe!” is attention grabbing but a meaningless statement. First, is this supposed to mean the EU? And suffice it to say, as you now know, cosmetic grade mineral oil is approved for use in skin care products in the EU and especially Great Britain, and also the US.
So what is “banned” all about? That refers to industrial grade mineral oils for certain non-skincare uses, and has nothing to do with skincare products.