Vaseline (//)[note 1] is an American brand of petroleum jelly-based products owned by transnational company Unilever. Products include plain petroleum jelly and a selection of skin creams, soaps, lotions, cleansers, and deodorants.
|Product type||Petroleum jelly body lotion|
|Tagline||The Healing Power of Vaseline|
In many languages, the word "Vaseline" is used as generic for petroleum jelly; in Portugal, the Unilever products are called Vaselina, and in Brazil and some Spanish-speaking countries, the Unilever products are called Vasenol.
In 1859, Robert Chesebrough, a chemist who formerly clarified kerosene from the oil of sperm whales, traveled to the oil fields in Titusville, Pennsylvania to research what new materials might be created from this new fuel. There he learned of a residue called rod wax that had to be periodically removed from oil rig pumps. The oil workers had been using the substance to heal cuts and burns. Chesebrough took samples of the rod wax back to Brooklyn, extracted the usable petroleum jelly, and began manufacturing a medicinal product he called Vaseline.
The first known reference to the name Vaseline was by Chesebrough in his U.S. patent (U.S. Patent 127,568) in 1872. "I, Robert Chesebrough, have invented a new and useful product from petroleum which I have named Vaseline..."
While Vaseline can be used as a lubricant, it can also be used as a moisture insulator for local skin conditions characterized by tissue dehydration.
In 2015, German consumer watchdog Stiftung Warentest analyzed cosmetics containing mineral oils. After developing a new detection method, they found high concentrations of Mineral Oil Aromatic Hydrocarbons (MOAH) and even polyaromatics in products containing mineral oils. Vaseline products contained the most MOAH of all tested cosmetics (up to 9%). The European Food Safety Authority sees MOAH and polyaromatics as possibly carcinogenic. Based on the results, Stiftung Warentest warns not to use Vaseline or any other products containing mineral oils.