Is Petroleum Jelly Good For You?

Is Petroleum Jelly Good For You?
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What can happen to those who rub petroleum jelly in their nostrils before going to bed.

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Petroleum jelly. Not to eat. People rub it inside their nostrils when their nasal membranes get dry. I know it has the dreaded “p” word in it, but is it harmful, harmless, or helpful? Harmful.

A report last year of lipoid pneumonia. And this is not the first case. Not surprising, perhaps, since the jelly liquefies at body temperature. Physicians and patients need to be aware of the hazards, and should try to stop this habit. But it’s not the petroleum itself; it’s the fact that you’re putting any kind of oily substance in your nose, particularly at bedtime—so even the non-petroleum products should not be used this way.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Petroleum jelly. Not to eat. People rub it inside their nostrils when their nasal membranes get dry. I know it has the dreaded “p” word in it, but is it harmful, harmless, or helpful? Harmful.

A report last year of lipoid pneumonia. And this is not the first case. Not surprising, perhaps, since the jelly liquefies at body temperature. Physicians and patients need to be aware of the hazards, and should try to stop this habit. But it’s not the petroleum itself; it’s the fact that you’re putting any kind of oily substance in your nose, particularly at bedtime—so even the non-petroleum products should not be used this way.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Also check out Hot Sauce in the Nose for Cluster Headaches?

And check out my other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?) – listed below the post.

For more context, see my associated blog posts: Soy milk: shake it up! and Vitamin B12: how much, how often?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

15 responses to “Is Petroleum Jelly Good For You?

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  1. I find that salt sprays for dry nostrils are just not enough.

    While reviewing the cited sources, I wondered if plant based oils such as olive oil would be a safe alternative to animal and mineral based oils?




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  2. I get really dry skin. What would you recommend? I have a strange habit to rub my fingers and use a lot of petroleum jelly. I can’t stop it and it wears out my finger pads. What would you suggest.




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  3. Yeahh, I’d like to know an alternative that works though Dr Greger… When I have cracked lips from the intense cold of northern UK I use this stuff to stop my lips cracking and bleeding.

    What would you recommend?

    Seb




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    1. Hi Seb, I also live in the UK and would recommend buying an organic unrefined shea butter from ebay. It’s great, melts inbetween your fingers and works so much better than petroleum jelly!




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  4. I live in Canada with very cold winters. Recently my nostrils have been so dry that they started bleeding. Vaseline helps a bit, but the problem doesn’t go away. I’ve tried Rhinaris nasal gel as well with the same result. One of my nostrils has scabs and does not seem like it’s going to heal any time soon. Help!




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    1. Hi, J.

      Ugh — how frustrating! I wish I had a solution! Please ask your doctor for a solution, perhaps she or he has more info? Some folks use avocado oil and coconut oil on their skin, not sure about in nostrils, as Dr. Greger pointed out it may be any oily substance in the notice that could be problematic. Sorry I cannot help more!

      Joseph




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  5. I also have had chronic dry nose for over a year. An ENT referred me to a rheumatologist who ruled out Sjogren’s. I don’t experience dryness elsewhere. I use Secaris gel every few hours and use humidifiers. It is worse at night or when I lay down. I am trying to maintain a plant-based diet but haven’t noticed a significant change. ENT referred me for a CAT scan but as I have no blockage or sinus pain I don’t see the point. I wish I could have more nasal mucus. My nose usually feels cold. I haven’t had any nasal surgery. Does anyone have any suggestions? It has me worried and I wake through the night needing to reapply the Secaris gel. I am in my early 40’s.




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