NATURAL vs PETROLEUM-BASED MOISTURISERS


Moisturisers are often split into either natural moisturisers or more traditional petroleum-based moisturisers. So, what is the difference between a natural moisturiser and a petroleum-based moisturiser? We look at both to help you decide what is the best option for you and your skin.


As an ingredient, petrochemicals (petroleum-derived ingredients), are an inexpensive alternative for moisturisers, however, without other nourishing ingredients to help repair skin, all it does is stop progression of damage and dryness already there.


Petroleum based ingredients create a barrier between your skin and the environment. This is not a bad thing as it helps prevent water loss through the skin, however there are downfalls of using petroleum-based products and a lot of positives for going with a naturally based moisturiser. The downfalls of petroleum-based moisturisers include:

  • Leaving a greasy, heavy feeling on the skin

  • It can sometimes dry out skin when there is not a regular exchange of air and outside moisture with skin

  • There is the potential for the increase of acne if you already have oil skin

  • There is the potential for these ingredients to stain clothing (depending on formulation and how much petroleum-based ingredients are used)

Petroleum based ingredients can be listed in skincare ingredient lists as one of the following:


Mineral oil, Petrolatum, Petroleum jelly, Liquid paraffin, Paraffin oil, white petrolatum, etc

And while petroleum-based moisturisers are a cheap alternative, they come with another cost. That is that they are not a renewably sourced ingredient and are not a great alternative when it comes to the environment.


Petroleum-based moisturisers are effective as a barrier, however, that is like being really hungry, and eating junk food. You are not going to get any nutritional value or benefit to your body by doing that.


In comparison, natural moisturisers are well known to assist skin moisturisation by keeping environmental irritants out AND support the protective barrier’s repair. Natural Moisturisers will often combine ingredients that moisturise cells and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier.

Another thing that makes natural moisturisers stand apart from petroleum-based moisturisers is their inclusion of Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) such as urea, sodium PCA and Glycerin, which are only found in natural moisturisers. These NMF’s mimic the natural moisturisers in the skin and are key in the maintenance of adequate skin hydration.

Natural moisturisers are also superior to petroleum-based moisturisers mainly because they feel better on the skin (they will absorb quickly) and therefore you are more likely to use them and have skin repair itself in a faster time frame because of the more likely people are to continue using it.


Lymphology patients need to use natural moisturisers as the petroleum-based moisturisers interfere with the compression bandages.


Plunkett’s Nutri-Synergy brand uses many natural active ingredients in a way that will moisturise and nourish skin while at the same time protect the skin from external irritants. The products have been formulated for minimal irritant potential to ensure your skin repairs to its healthy state quickly.


The NS Dry Skin Moisturiser is formulated with many anti-inflammatory ingredients like Aloe Vera, allantoin and calendula to help ease itching and irritated skin. It also uses glycerin and sodium PCA which are natural moisturising factors to help bind water to the skin cells, and dimethicone is included to protect the skins barrier.


The Extra Dry Skin Moisturiser is formulated with lactic acid (an AHA) to help remove the flaky dried skin, allantoin and aloe vera to help soothe itching and irritated skin. Grape seed oil is included and is a great emollient (these soften dry, rough and flaky skin), caprylic/capric triglycerides (from coconut) is one of the natural moisturising factors in this product which helps bind water to the cells to hydrate them. Dimethicone is used in this product too as a great barrier for the skin, plus this product has a heap of nourishing ingredients like vitamin B5, honey and zinc which are great for the skin’s repair.


So to help repair skin, what you want to look for is a moisturiser that can do many things to help your skin (not just stop the water loss), and repair it back to the healthy functioning organ it can be!