Skip to main content
Friday FeatureHealthMUSINGS

Friday Feature: Good and Bad Oils

By May 13, 2011June 20th, 20222 Comments

I was glistening, a shiny sheen rescued from ash and scaliness and shelling out more money than I cared to. I had baby oil and decided to use that until I could get the money to replenish my favorite body butter. But when I noticed that baby oil is mineral oil and mineral oil is petroleum (or petrolatum) which comes from crude oil (as in the BP oil spill oil) I decided I didn’t want to put car fuel on my skin. This is not just car fuel, which sounds bad enough, but a substance that doesn’t allow the skin to breathe and traps toxins in the body. What, then, would I do without making myself broke?

The Good

Extra Virgin Olive Oil—As you know, I use this in my cooking all the time. I love EVOO (as Rachael Ray likes to say). When in a pinch, I use this on my hair and skin. For it to be emollient, I have to make sure to spritz my hair and dampen my skin. EVOO is known for its health properties, including increasing good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. This oil contains the fat that your body needs.

Shea Butter—Made from the nuts of the African shea tree, this cream had been one of my standards for about 20 years. I stopped using it when I couldn’t find a reputable vendor but searched it out again about two years ago when I threw away every product that contained mineral oil. Shea butter has worked wonders on my children’s eczema outbreaks. I use this daily to moisturize my entire body, including my lips, which don’t get dry if I fail to put on lipstick. It is also known to relieve sinus congestion and skin inflammation.

Don’t be fooled. Many products will tout that they contain shea butter, but when you look at ALL the ingredients you may find they also have mineral oil and/or petroleum. Look for 100 percent pure shea butter that you can buy from independent vendors, especially getting good deals online. The product I buy from my health food store costs $8 but from the manufacturer’s website I can get it for half the price. With shipping, I still pay less than what I do in the store.

Grape seed, cherry kernel, hazel nut oil—I found a botanical face moisturizer that I absolutely loved that contained these three ingredients. Each of these oils has medicinal properties, though some greater than others. What a great benefit I didn’t know about when I bought the moisturizer from this organic products company. Perhaps the healing properties caused my skin to feel elastic and to glow without feeling greasy. You know I was disappointed to find that the company went out of business. I plan to try to recreate my own and I’ll let you know how it works.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil—I know of a few people who swear by extra virgin coconut oil. They eat it, using it in smoothies, and moisturize their skin and hair with it. My research shows that extra virgin coconut oil can withstand high heat (not going rancid) better than extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin coconut oil is high in saturated fat though this doesn’t seem to negate its health benefits. It has healing properties, which includes being anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Even with all the good reports about this oil, I have yet to try it. If it’s better than my beloved EVOO then I’m sure I’ll love it.

Other notes:

  • Use the above products or other essential oils directly or products that contain them (without mineral oil and petroleum).
  • Stay away from hydrogenated oils. Unsaturated oils go through hydrogenation, a chemical process that alters the oil from its natural state to preserve foods (like many brands of peanut butter and snack foods) and cosmetic products—and then become saturated fats (AKA trans-fats or trans fatty acids).
    Saturated fats have been associated with high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. You may not be eating hydrogenated oils, but your skin can still absorb them from the products you use, including lotions and deodorants. So even though the product may advertise that it contains olive oil, if olive oil has hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated before it, don’t use it.
  • Extra virgin means that the oil was extracted by physical, not chemical, means and is in its most pure state.
  • What products do you use that don’t contain mineral or petroleum? What products do you plan to replace?

    Copyright 2011 by Rhonda J. Smith


    Close Menu