What is mineral oil?
Mineral oil is a petroleum product, to be more specific, it’s a byproduct of refining the crude oils used to make things like gasoline. Crude oil is a naturally occurring oil that usually contains deposits of hydrocarbon and as other organic materials. Crude oil is refined and purified from its original state to create the mineral oil that is often used in cosmetics. Crude oil itself contains a plethora of toxins that can have immediate and long-term effects. However, if refined properly (and for cosmetic use) many of these risk factors be mitigated.
What will mineral oil do for my hair?
While mineral oil does come from questionable origins when refined for cosmetics, it is unlikely that it will harm your hair, but it may not do as much for your hair as other oils. Mineral oil coats the hair, so the hair will look shiny and the oil can help to increase volume and aid in hair elasticity.
Unlike other oils, Mineral oil does not penetrate the hair’s epidermis, so while it’s alright for external benefits (like controlling frizz and preventing flyways), mineral oil won’t do as much as other oils for the internal structure of one’s hair or scalp. This makes mineral oil alright for short them uses and it can act as a protective barrier for the scalp (this is great if you are doing things like relaxing your hair as the oil can protect the scalp from chemical burns). Simply put, the oil sits on top of the skin or hair but doesn’t penetrate it. Mineral oil is also hydrophobic, so water can neither enter or escape, over time it can lead to actually causing dry hair and skin if used in excess. If you do want to use mineral oil, it’s not something that you need to use often, nor should it replace a natural more penetrative oil
What are some side effects of using mineral oil?
Mineral oil can cause skin or scalp irritation. Additionally, using mineral oil too often can actually lead to the hair becoming dry. If you do notice scalp irritation or have any negative reactions to mineral oil, then stop using it. Mineral oil is a cheap lubricant that might not be awful to use, but if you are trying to grow your hair and keep your skin healthy, there are far better options available.
If you want to learn about some fantastic oils for your hair, then check out our previous blog The Benefits of Hair Oil.