Is Vaseline a Good Moisturizer?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

In virtually any pharmacy or grocery store, you can find petroleum jelly, also called petrolatum, sold under the brand name Vaseline. Vaseline is a whitish- yellow mix of petroleum-based mineral oils and waxes.

The main ingredient in Vaseline is petroleum. Petroleum forms a tight waterproof barrier when applied to the skin. This can help the skin retain its moisture and act as an at-home treatment for dry skin.

While Vaseline can be helpful when used sparingly to treat dry skin, it's quite greasy and can feel heavy on the skin. So, it's not entirely practical to use as a daily, overall skin moisturizer.

Can you use Vaseline on your face?

Those with very dry skin on their faces may benefit from using Vaseline as a moisturizer. However, if you have acne-prone skin, you should avoid putting Vaseline on your faces. Doing so may trigger breakouts and can make acne worse.

Is Vaseline good for dry skin?

Vaseline is a very good moisturizer for dry skin. Applying a layer of Vaseline to dry skin helps lock in moisture. Vaseline is great for treating all the usual dry areas, such as the:

  • heels
  • elbows
  • knees
  • hands

The National Eczema Foundation recommends Vaseline as a moisturizer for people with eczema and other dry skin conditions. Research suggests that Vaseline is a safe and affordable at-home preventive treatment for infants showing signs of eczema. You can increase Vaseline's moisturizing effects by applying it immediately after you leave the shower or bath.

Will Vaseline work for oily skin?

Vaseline can be part of a regular skin care routine for people with oily skin.

It's important to keep your skin healthy instead of making it greasy. You can do this by using Vaseline after gently cleansing your skin. Doing so will keep your skin clean, moisturized, and less likely to produce excess oil.

Can you use Vaseline for dry skin around the eyes?

The makers of Vaseline assure customers that their product is safe to use on the eyelids and around the eyes. In fact, doctors use petroleum jelly as a part of giving eye ultrasounds.

Can you use Vaseline for wounds?

Vaseline can even help heal injured skin. You can apply Vaseline to small cuts, scrapes, and scratches. This helps keep your wounds moist, speeds healing, and prevents scarring and itching.

Clean the wound daily with mild soap and warm water, and then apply Vaseline. Vaseline is also good for treating mild cases of windburn. Don't apply Vaseline to deep wounds or burns, as this can cause discomfort and interfere with healing.


Some good reasons to use Vaseline as a moisturizer include its:

  • availability and low cost
  • power to retain lots of moisture in the skin
  • healing powers for dry, wounded skin
  • ability to be used all over the body, including the face
  • availability in versatile formulations, including: jelly, lotion, cream, oil, and serum


While Vaseline has been proven to be one of the most effective skin moisturizers available, experts acknowledge it has several limiting factors. Some drawbacks to using Vaseline as a moisturizer include:

  • odor, though you can try one of Vaseline's more diluted products, which often contain other scents
  • a greasy and heavy feel
  • potential to stain clothes
  • drying out skin when there's not a regular exchange of air and outside moisture with your skin
  • increased acne if you have oily skin
  • the use of petroleum ingredients when some people may prefer a plant product on their skin

Alternative moisturizers

If you're looking for some simple alternatives to Vaseline that also work wonders for dry skin, you may want to try products containing:

  • argan oil
  • coconut oil
  • cocoa butter
  • shea butter

The bottom line

Vaseline is an affordable and highly available product that works well at moisturizing most skin types, particularly dry skin. It's also useful for treating scrapes and scratches, and can speed healing and prevent scarring. If you have very oily skin, it's recommended not to use Vaseline unless you cleanse your skin first, as it may increase acne.

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