Meaning and Concept of Mineral Oil
Mineral oil is a transparent, colorless and odorless petroleum derivative. It is chemically. similar to petroleum jelly and is produced in heavy and light grades, or viscosities
There are three further classifications: paraffinic, aromatic, and naphthenic, based on the type of alkanes the oil is made from, and have slightly different chemical properties and compositions.
Inexpensive and easy to make, it is used in many different products, including cooling systems, lubricants, cosmetics, and medications.
A bottle of mineral oil, which can be used to remove make-up and to clean the home.
A variety of cosmetics contain mineral oil, including popular skin care products such as cold creams and medical ointments for adults, children, and babies. In a purified semisolid form called liquid petroleum jelly, it is often used as a base for ointments, protective dressings, and skin softeners. It is widely believed to be one of the most effective moisturizers available.
Mineral oils can be used to moisturize and protect the skin.
Many people have raised concerns about the role of this oil in cosmetics, particularly as it can “lock” the skin and prevent toxins from escaping.
However, most researchers believe that very few toxins are expressed from the body through the skin. Unlike other skin care additives, research suggests that the type of refined oil used in cosmetics does not clog pores and is generally considered safe for all skin types.
People who have naturally oily skin may want to avoid items that contain it, as it can make skin feel even oilier.
Mineral oil is very common in skin care products.
There are also concerns that this oil may contain harmful impurities. However, the highly refined oil used in personal products is not the same as that used for industrial purposes, and does not contain the same impurities.
There may be some legitimate concern that petrolatum (another name for mineral oil gelatin) and liquid paraffin can make skin more sensitive to the sun, so people using products containing it should be careful to monitor your exposure to the sun.
Cold cream containing mineral oil.
Industrial and scientific uses
Two properties of mineral oil make it popular for use with industrial and electrical components: it does not conduct electricity and is a poor conductor of heat, and it replaces air and water where it is applied, so it can prevent parts from corroding.
As such, some varieties are used in tools, machines, and even on the metal surface and components of ships to prevent rust. It also resists compression, which is why it is commonly used to provide strength in hydraulic assemblies.
In addition to its industrial uses, mineral oil prevents the absorption of moisture from the atmosphere, so it works well as a preservative for lithium and other alkali metals.
These elements react when exposed to the atmosphere, quickly tarnish, or even catch fire or explode, depending on the metal. Some labs also use this substance to overlay cultures in petri dishes.
Culinary Uses of Mineral Oil
Wooden utensils, cookware, and food preparation tools like cutting boards can also benefit from the oil’s water-repellent properties.
Since it is nearly odorless and tasteless, highly refined food-grade oils can be used to prevent wood from cracking and bacteria build-up without imparting an unwanted taste or odor to food.
Some people also use it to grease pans before baking or frying. Because industrial-grade oil can contain toxic impurities, cooks should only use oil that is clearly labeled safe for use in cooking.
Medical Uses of Mineral Oil
Marketed as early as the 19th century under the trade name Nujol, mineral oil has a long history as a treatment for constipation. When ingested in small amounts, it acts as an internal lubricant and prevents the large intestine from absorbing water.
This also prevents the absorption of some types of nutrients, so it can cause nutritional problems if they are abused.
A few drops of warm, not hot, oil can also be used to help soften ear wax. When gently irrigated with water or hydrogen peroxide, it can help remove any excess wax buildup in the ear canal.
While most people can use mineral oil without any harmful effects, some people have allergic reactions, including hives, difficulty breathing, facial swelling, and chest tightness. Anyone with these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately as they can be dangerous.
Although there have been concerns about the use of high-viscosity oils as food additives, they are generally considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts by government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority. (EFSA).
Exposure to aerosol forms of this substance is an occupational hazard for some workers. It is a respiratory irritant when in mist form, and people who have impaired lung function may be worsened when exposed to it.
Similarly, people with pre-existing skin disorders are more likely to develop inflammation on contact.
The risk of exposure to high concentration mists is a regulated occupational hazard that is subject to workplace monitoring in many countries.