Applying Vaseline alone: ​​Why is that not enough for your skin?

When visiting a dermatologist and asking for skin care advice, you often get the answer “just apply Vaseline.” Vaseline, also known as petrolatum, has long been valued for its ability to soothe dry and sensitive skin. It creates an occlusive barrier on the skin, which effectively retains moisture and prevents dehydration. Known for its hypoallergenic and safe nature, when pure and pure, petroleum jelly plays a crucial role in many skin care routines. In this blog we dive deeper into skin care that goes beyond the simple use of Vaseline.

Vaseline is a byproduct of the petroleum industry. It results from the distillation of crude oil, a process in which petroleum is heated to separate different fractions or mixtures of hydrocarbons based on their boiling points. During this refining process, a specific fraction, rich in saturated hydrocarbons, is isolated and further processed. This fraction undergoes a thorough purification process, during which it is filtered and sometimes treated with clay to remove all impurities and potentially harmful substances. The result of this careful purification process is a soft, translucent substance known as Vaseline.


Vaseline is known as an occlusive ingredient, meaning it forms a protective layer on the skin that prevents moisture loss. Instead of soaking into the skin, Vaseline literally sits on the surface. Vaseline is extremely effective at reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the measure of the amount of water that evaporates unnoticed from the skin. Studies have shown that petroleum jelly can reduce TEWL by more than 98%. This makes it one of the most effective occlusive ingredients for retaining skin moisture and protecting the skin barrier against dryness and harmful external factors. This is especially beneficial for dry and damaged skin

Due to its stability, it is widely used in both medical and cosmetic applications, ranging from skin care products to ointment bases.

While Vaseline offers moisturizing benefits, it also has its limitations; it can feel heavy on the skin and leave a shiny finish. These properties are not appreciated by everyone, especially in the summer months when it is hot and humid, where the product can feel uncomfortable. Moreover, not every skin reacts the same to Vaseline; people with dark skin often find that it absorbs quickly, similar to how water is absorbed by a sponge. In contrast, in people with white or Asian skin, it remains more on the surface, which is sometimes experienced as unpleasant.

Would you like to know more about: Cultural diversity in skin care, Asian, European and dark skins

Vaseline does not provide a solution for specific skin problems such as signs of aging – think of pigment spots, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. As you get older, you need a skincare routine that targets these points, with more than just moisturizing products. This way you ensure healthy and radiant skin in the long term.

Following a basic skin care routine is crucial to maintaining healthy skin. You don’t have to be a skin expert to know what a good skin routine is. This routine actually consists of three core elements: cleansing, protection, and correction, each of which plays a specific role in supporting skin health.

Basic skin care consists of 3 routines: Cleansing, Protecting and Correction

Daily cleaning is the first and most essential step. It ensures that dirt, excess oils (sebum) and impurities are removed from the skin. This process must be done carefully to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance without drying it out. Choosing a mild cleanser that is suitable for your skin type helps maintain the integrity of the skin barrier, which is essential for healthy skin.

Applying sunscreen is a non-negotiable step in any skin care routine. It provides protection against the harmful effects of UV rays, including UVA and UVB rays. This radiation is responsible for not only sunburn but also premature signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Regular use of sunscreen can significantly reduce these effects and contributes to the prevention of skin cancer. Do you want to know more about SPF, UVA and UVB rays?

Anti-Aging: In addition to cleansing and protection, addressing specific skin concerns through targeted products is an important part of a skincare routine. This can range from the use of anti-aging creams to serums rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, ferulic acid, astaxanthin. These products work to counteract the visible signs of skin aging, reduce skin damage from free radicals, and improve overall skin texture and tone. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, while ingredients like peptides and retinoids can boost collagen production, resulting in firmer, smoother skin.

Pigment spots: When correcting pigment spots, it is essential to use a combination of ingredients that can reduce pigmentation at different levels. Ingredients such as arbutin, niacinamide, resveratrol, aloe vera, licorice root extracts and emblica are effective in addressing these skin problems. These substances work together to inhibit the production of melanin, resulting in a more even skin tone and reducing the appearance of pigment spots. Combining these ingredients into your skincare routine can provide a more targeted approach to effectively correct pigmentation.

Dry, sensitive skin: When correcting dry, non-sticky skin, alternatives to Vaseline are an essential addition to the skin care routine. In addition to occlusive agents, which seal the skin to retain moisture, humectants and emollients play a crucial role.

Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and urea, attract water and help retain it in the skin, leaving the skin hydrated and supple without leaving a sticky feeling. Emollients, including oils, ceramides and squalane, work by softening and smoothing the skin, and help strengthen the skin barrier. This combination of hydrating and moisturizing ingredients provides deeper hydration and improves the skin’s texture, making it an excellent alternative for those who want to avoid the occlusive action of Vaseline but still need an effective solution for dry skin.

While petroleum jelly has its value in the world of skin care, it serves only as one element of a multi-faceted routine. By combining cleansing, protection and correction with the use of Vaseline, we create a holistic approach that is essential for promoting and maintaining healthy, radiant skin.

Iconic Elements, the skin care line conceived and developed by dermatologist Dr. Francis Wu, is the result of his dedication to promoting skin health and wellness. Driven by his desire to support individuals with skin problems, he drew on his deep dermatological expertise to create this unique line.

With a wealth of experience, Dr. Wu explains exactly which ingredients and compositions are most effective for different skin types and needs. Each product within the Iconic Elements collection is therefore formulated based on dermatological insights, enriched with carefully chosen natural ingredients. In collaboration with skin specialists, Dr. Wu has put together a range of top quality products that we would be proud to choose ourselves.

Vaseline, High-Quality Creams
Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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