Q&A: Petroleum jelly risks?

Consumer Reports News: May 26, 2010 10:04 AM

Are there any risks to using petroleum jelly? —K.K., Dallas

Not unless you use it excessively, and as long as it doesn’t get into your lungs. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline and other brands) is used to retain moisture and prevent dryness in healing burns and wounds. It’s also used inside the nose to help ward off nosebleeds and irritation due to low humidity, colds, sinus infections, and other conditions.

In rare cases, long-term use of petroleum jelly in the nose can lead to a condition called exogenous lipoid pneumonia, which stems from the inhalation of fat molecules over time. But that problem appears to be more commonly a result of using products that contain mineral oil, including laxatives and possibly some lotions and lip balms. As an alternative to using petroleum jelly in your nose, you could use a water-based lubricant such as Ayr Gel or K-Y Jelly instead.

Learn more about petroleum jelly for stopping nosebleeds  and for reducing your risk of ear infections .

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