Ways to Use Mineral Oil: for Hair, Skin, Feet, Ears, and More

1. Dry skin

Mineral oil can have positive effects on dry skin. When applied to the skin after a bath or shower, it keeps moisture from escaping. This can help you maintain soft and healthy skin, especially during the dry winter months.

Mineral oil is also commonly used in commercial moisturizing products. Looking for moisturizers with mineral oil in them can be beneficial to keeping your skin healthy.

Mild eczema

According to the National Eczema Association, 31.6 million (10.1 percent) of the U.S. population has some form of eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition characterized by dry, discolored, itchy, and inflamed skin.

Mineral oil can be applied to the affected area to provide relief from the symptoms of eczema. It can be an effective alternative if you want to avoid corticosteroid creams.


Radiation therapy can be harsh on the skin and lead to localized xerosis, which is a medical term for abnormally dry skin.

Applying mineral oil to the affected area has been shown to be an effective treatment in battling the effects of radiation therapy.

2. Dry, cracked feet

Dry and cracked feet can be hard to repair and prevent. Applying mineral oil to your feet before bed can help soothe them and keep them well moisturized. Wearing socks will protect your sheets from soaking in the oil as you sleep.

3. Earwax

Dealing with earwax can be difficult and require extra care. If your eardrum doesn’t have a tube or hole in it, mineral oil can help you draw out excess earwax.

According to Harvard Medical School, applying two to three drops of mineral oil into the ear can help soften the wax.

After a day or two, use a rubber bulb syringe to gently squirt warm water into your ear canal. Straighten the ear canal by tilting your head and pulling your outer ear up then back. This will allow the water with the softened wax to drain out.

You may need to repeat this process in order to remove all of the excess ear wax. If you’re still experiencing blockage due to earwax, you should see a medical professional for assistance.

4. Constipation

Mineral oil is a common treatment for constipation. If your stool feels stuck low in your bowels, mineral oil can be helpful in assisting bowel movements.

Mineral oil for constipation relief comes in a number of different forms. It can be taken orally, as an enema, and can be found as an active ingredient in many laxatives.

It works by lubricating the bowels and keeping moisture in the stool. This allows the stool to pass with less resistance. If you have an internal tear (fissure) or pain from hemorrhoids, mineral oil can be a good place to turn for occasional relief.

It can take up to 8 hours to take effect. Be sure to take it at bedtime to avoid having to get up in the middle of the night. If you choose to take mineral oil in the form of an enema, wear a protective pad to absorb leakage.

5. Infant care

There are a lot of reasons a baby can experience dry skin. Mineral oil can be a safe way to help your baby find relief from conditions like cradle cap and diaper rash. In fact, baby oil is mineral oil with added fragrance.

Diaper rash

Applying mineral or baby oil to your baby’s rash can provide relief from the inflammation that comes from diaper rash. You can also use mineral oil to prevent diaper rash in the first place.

Cradle cap

Mineral oil can be an effective home remedy for your baby’s dry, flaky skin.

The Mayo Clinic suggests applying a few drops of mineral oil to your baby’s scalp and letting it sit for a few minutes. Then, gently brush the scalp to loosen the scales and shampoo as you normally do. For very thick, dry skin, you may have to let the mineral oil sit for a few hours.

Be sure to get the mineral oil out with shampoo. If you leave the oil on without shampooing, the cradle cap may get worse.

If your baby’s condition doesn’t improve, seek help from a medical professional.

6. Dandruff

Flaking from dandruff can be embarrassing. Using mineral oil can help you get rid of dandruff.

The Mayo Clinic recommends applying the mineral oil to the scalp and leaving it in for an hour. Comb or brush your hair, then wash it out with shampoo. This should soften the flaky, dry skin and keep moisture in the scalp to provide relief.

Side effects and cautions

Although mineral oil can be helpful in a number of ways, using it improperly can have unwanted effects.

Here are some tips for proper use:

  • Avoid taking mineral oil within 2 hours of mealtime. It can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), when mineral oil is used during pregnancy, it can lead to hemorrhagic disease in newborns. Hemorrhagic disease is a rare bleeding problem that occurs in newborn babies.
  • If mineral oil is inhaled, it can lead to pneumonia. If you’re concerned that you have inhaled mineral oils, visit your doctor to get help.
  • People with problems swallowing shouldn’t be given oral mineral oils.
  • Mineral oil can aggravate the conditions of people with preexisting conditions or impaired respiratory function.
  • Don’t take mineral oil at the same time as a stool softener.
  • Oral mineral oil shouldn’t be given to children under the age of 6. They’re more likely to accidentally inhale the oil, which could lead to pneumonia.

The takeaway

Mineral oil can be helpful in a variety of different ways. When used safely and correctly, it can be a quick, inexpensive, and easy way to find relief for moisture-related conditions.

Home remedies can be helpful, but remember to consult a doctor if you’re concerned about a particular condition or if your symptoms worsen.

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