Mineral oil is a widely used controversial ingredient that has been around in the cosmetics market for over 100 years. Since it is hailed as useless and carcinogenic, whether you want to use mineral oil for hair or skin, you will undeniably come across negative information about it. Now, with so many conflicting opinions about this specific oil, you can never be sure whether mineral oil is good or bad for your hair. Hence, we're here to give you some much-needed information on the same. But, before that, you need to know what mineral oil actually is.
What is Mineral Oil?
Mineral oil is a colourless and odourless liquid that is created as a by-product of making gasoline. It also goes by the name of liquid petroleum or paraffin oil for hair. It is commonly added to skincare and hair care products as a moisturising agent because it's quite cheap to manufacture.
Why is Mineral Oil Added to Hair Care Products?
There are several reasons why mineral oil for hair is considered to be a good option and we're going to mention a few below:
It Traps Moisture:
If you are someone with dry and frizzy hair, mineral oil is a great ingredient to lock in hydration. This liquid paraffin for hair forms a barrier over hair cuticles to trap moisture and protect the hair from environmental aggressors.
It is Lightweight and Gets Easily Absorbed:
Mineral oil for hair seems like a good option as it leaves your hair feeling less weighed down than other heavy oils like castor, coconut and olive oil.
It Shields Your Hair From Water Damage:
Water penetrates the hair shafts and causes swelling, which makes your hair vulnerable to damage. This paraffin oil for hair naturally repels water, protecting your hair from damage caused due to swelling and drying.
It is a Remedy for Head Lice:
Is mineral oil good for hair? Well, it might be for people who struggle with head lice. Mineral oil can constructively disrupt the normal water and gas exchange of adult lice and their eggs, which ultimately eliminates them altogether. Mineral oil for hair is considered a cheap, safe and non-toxic treatment for head lice.
While mineral oil might have a few good things about it, there are some side effects that you need to keep an eye out for.
Side Effects of Mineral Oil:
Effects of mineral oil on hair can also be negative, depending on its use. Here are some physical side effects that you need to watch out for -
It can Cause an Allergic Reaction:Mineral oil for hair can sometimes irritate the skin on your scalp and induce allergic reactions like itching, swelling, red spots or rashes.
It can Lead to Scalp Irritation:Long-term use of liquid paraffin on hair can be bad for your hair as it can lead to scalp buildup and cause itching or eczema flares. When you get scalp buildup due to mineral oil, it can clog your pores and cause rapid hair loss.
It can Give Rise to Redness or Eye Irritation:Mineral oil for hair can cause temporary irritation and redness if it somehow comes in contact with your eyes. If this happens, try splashing cold water in your eyes to soothe the irritation.
It can Cause Acne:One of the mineral oil side effects for hair is linked with acne. Sometimes, when you rinse your hair, the oil can run down your face, back and chest. The residue that this oil leaves behind can irritate the skin and cause breakouts.
It can be a Risk of Toxicity:If mineral oil is accidentally swallowed or ingested, it may accumulate in your organs and contaminate your body. It is particularly dangerous as it can cause pneumonia if it enters your lungs by accident.
Alternatives of Mineral Oil:
You don't have to worry as there are many other oils that you can use in place of mineral oil for hair. Here are some that we'd recommend:
Coconut Oil:Most people have had a bad experience with using Paraffin oil for hair. But you can pick a safer option and go for coconut oil instead. It contains a type of medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid, which benefits your hair by preventing protein loss. It is also commonly used to moisturise hair.
Argan Oil:Argan oil is extracted from the argan tree that is native to Morocco. As it contains antioxidants and vitamin E, it is linked to improving hair health. Uses of mineral oil for your hair might be limited to a few, but you can use argan oil to repair and nourish your hair without worry. Argan oil can also protect your hair against sun damage. Mineral oil in hair oil might still be a tad bit worrisome, but argan oil is quite an easy choice to make.
Olive Oil:Effects of mineral oil on hair might not be all that great, but you can always switch it with olive oil as it is commonly used in several hair care products for more reasons than one. It contains three chemicals to soften your hair, namely, oleic acid, palmitic acid and squalene. Many people claim that olive oil helps them prevent dry hair and give their hair a natural shine.
Hair Care Products Without Mineral Oil :
Grapefruit Revitalising Hair Care Combo:Grapefruit Revitalising Hair Care Combo comes with Grapefruit Revitalising Hair Cleanser & Hair Conditioner.
The hair cleanser removes impurities and combats excess oil production in your scalp.
The hair conditioner leaves your locks smoother, shinier and bouncier.
Macadamia Deep Nourish Hair Care Combo:The Deep Nourish Hair Care Combo is encased with Two Macadamia-infused hair cleansers
The hair cleanser gently cleans and nourishes the scalp while leaving your hair frizz-free.
Mineral oil is commonly included in skin and hair products as a moisturiser, as you already know by now. It is used in cosmetics after it undergoes refinement and purification so that it is safe for human use. There might be some mineral oil side effects for hair, but they're rare. If you wish to try mineral oil on your hair, start by applying it to a small section of your skin and wait for 24 hours to see if it causes any reaction before using it on your hair.
Frequently Asked Questions On Mineral Oil for Hair (FAQs):
Can Mineral Oil Cause Cancer?There is no research suggesting that mineral oil found in cosmetics can cause cancer. It undergoes rigorous refining and purification before it is used in any of the hair care or skin care products. However, mineral oil exposure in the workplace is linked to developing nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Is Mineral Oil Bad for Low Porosity Hair?Products that contain mineral oil are a big no for low porosity hair as it blocks moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. People with dry hair should avoid using liquid paraffin for hair as it can dry out the tresses even more.
Is Baby Oil Mineral Oil?Baby oil is petroleum-based mineral oil. It is considered a by-product of the process of refined crude oil. Baby oil is further refined and used in skin care and hair care products and is safe to use externally.