Spotlight: Ingredients of cosmetic products based on mineral oil are criticised with a view to so-called saturated hydrocarbons (“MOSH”) and aromatic hydrocarbon compounds (“MOAH”).
What are mineral oils in cosmetics?
- Different raw materials with different consistency, e.g., liquid oils or solid waxes
- Saturated, branched or non-branched hydrocarbons recovered from petroleum or produced synthetically
- Prior to their use in cosmetics, they are intensely purified
- Application for decades in cosmetic products such as creams, lotions, lipsticks, etc.
What are the properties of mineral oils?
- Lipophilic (fat loving), hydrophobic (water repellent) as well as high stability
- Insoluble in water, difficultly soluble in 100% alcohol, mixable with fats, fatty oils and waxes
- Referred to as “paraffin oil”
- Clear, colourless, odourless and tasteless, viscous liquids
What are the functions of mineral oils in cosmetics?
- Film forming and water repellent
- Support gloss formation on the skin (e.g., in lipsticks)
- Provide creams with a certain stability
- Protect skin from the loss of moisture
What are MOSH and MOAH?
- MOSH (Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbons): so-called saturated hydrocarbons, which include all mineral oils used in cosmetic products
- MOAH (Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons): so-called aromatic hydrocarbon compounds, which can still be included even after maximum purification
What are the concerns?
- MOSH could penetrate through the skin. It is known from part of the MOSH that they can be absorbed more easily through food and can accumulate in the body.
- Some components of MOAH can have a mutagenic and carcinogenic effect.
What do the experts say?
- German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
- No health risks from the application of cosmetics containing mineral oil on skin
- The use of lipsticks that contain mineral oils and that could get into the body through the mouth is safe
- MOAH that occur in cosmetic mineral oil grades are safe
- Paraffinum Liquidum, Paraffin, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Cera Microcristallina
- Most frequently used in cosmetics: paraffin oil (INCI: Paraffinum Liquidum) and Vaseline (INCI: Petrolatum)