Q. What’s the story on petroleum jelly? I have used it for years to soothe dry cracked skin, split finger tips and chapped lips. Why do some people badmouth this cheap moisturizer?
A. People seem to either love or hate petrolatum (petroleum jelly). One visitor to our website offered the following:
“For years I tried just about every lotion or cream on the market. Nothing worked for my cracked fingers and hands. A nurse told me about Vaseline (petroleum jelly). It worked both for me and for my husband. Several times a day and especially at night I rub some on my knees, elbows, knuckles and anywhere skin tends to crack. I love my petroleum jelly.” L.
Others are not so happy with this approach. Some complain that petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the oil-refining process and is not environmentally friendly. Others find it is not all that effective:
“I have tried petroleum jelly. I put tons on and rub it in and sleep with gloves. Nothing works. This morning I woke up with another crack.” Cheryl
“My thumbs and two fingertips on both hands crack and are very sore. I have gotten several different creams from doctors and nothing works. I have been dealing with it for a couple of years now. I have tried all the lotions and petroleum jelly. I have to type at my job and my fingers are always bandaged. Unsightly to say the least. HELP!” Dee
“I am constantly using my smart phone, iPad and computer throughout the day. Petroleum jelly is just too greasy. I hate smearing up my phone and keyboard. Trying to wipe this stuff off is a constant hassle. Surely there is something that will work for my dry skin that won’t make everything I touch feel slippery.” J.
We are not impartial observers to the moisturizer controversy. One of the underwriters of our radio show is Redex Industries, makers of Udderly Smooth skin moisturizing lotions and creams to relieve dry skin. We are especially fond of their urea-containing products. That’s because dermatologists report that urea protects the barrier function of the skin. Here is just one recent message from a visitor:
“I have dry skin and for years suffered with sore cracks on my thumbs.
“I read about Udderly Smooth Moo Cream in your newspaper column, searched for it and finally found it at a CVS store and bought the only two jars they had left.
“I gave one to my daughter-in-law who is a nurse who has to wash and disinfect her hands frequently. Within a short time my sore cracks healed as did hers and with regular use have not reappeared.”
“I now carry a tube with me as does my daughter-in-law. Another plus, the price is affordable. Thank you.” EL
People with diabetes are especially vulnerable to skin problems. Quite often their skin becomes dehydrated and dry, despite drinking lots of water during the day. The barrier function of the skin becomes especially vulnerable when air is dry during the winter. A report in the Journal of Cosmetic Science (Sept-Oct, 2013) reports that urea helps hydrate and protect the outer layer of the skin.
Anyone who would like Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 Cream with 20% urea may be interested in our large size 8 oz tub of Udderly Smooth Extra Care 20 an attractive bargain.