Petroleum jelly was once thought to be a cure-all, and was marketed as a remedy for all sorts of things like foot fungus, nosebleeds, and even chest colds. Although many of these early uses were misguided, petroleum jelly is a super useful product for a wide variety of skin ailments.
What is Petroleum Jelly?
The first oil riggers at Titusville, Pennsylvania discovered the properties of petroleum jelly in 1859.
They quickly found that the thick and viscous jelly caused much of their machinery to malfunction and seize up. Originally called ‘rod wax’, a chemist named Robert Chesebrough set off for Titusville to analyze this new found substance.
Chesebrough refined the heavy, black rod wax into a lighter-colored gel, and patented the process in 1872.
He quickly began promoting his new product in New York, and excited the audience by intentionally burning himself with acid and fire. He showed how his past injuries had healed well with the gel, and it started to sell like hot cakes.
His first factory began production of this gel in 1870, branded as the now-familiar Vaseline.
Here’s five ways that you can use this fabulous product more than 140 years later.
1. Shorten Healing Time
Application of petroleum jelly to minor cuts and scrapes will help the injured ares heal more quickly. Contrary to popular belief, the jelly isn’t absorbed by the skin, and studies have demonstrated that it doesn’t actually change how the body heals.
What it does do is seal the affected area, preventing germs from getting into the injured site and moisture from getting out.
Petroleum jelly is even used in hospitals right after laser skin removal procedures.
2. Soften Your Nails and Make Them Shine
By applying a bit of petroleum jelly to your nails you’ll have shiny, ‘scratch-free’ natural nails in just a few hours.
The jelly fills in the small cracks and imperfections in the surface of the nails and leaves them looking glossy and fresh looking.
3. Supple Up Your Feet with Petroleum Jelly and a Sock
With summer time fast approaching, chances are you’ll be showing your feet off a bit more than during the winter months.
What you’ll need to do is rub a thin layer of petroleum jelly on your feet and then pull some thick socks gently over them. It’s best to do this right before you go to bed or take a nap.
This will do a couple of things:
- Soften the skin on your feet
- Eliminate cracks and those ugly, dry white patches
After you’ve worn the socks for a few hours, make sure to give your feet a good scrub in the shower to rinse the jelly and scrape off dead skin cells.
4. Heal Your Hands in No Time
The same principle applies when you’ve got tough, calloused dry hands. But this time, instead of using a sock to keep the petroleum jelly in, use a cheap set of latex exam gloves.
You can buy these latex exam gloves at most stores, or you can pick some up online.
Gently apply the jelly to your hands in much the same fashion as lathering up with hand soap.
Then slip on a pair of exam gloves, and you’re ready to go. You’ll be looking (and feeling) like a hand model in no time.
5. Fix Patches of Dry Skin Quickly
The outer layer of skin provides its own shield against the harsh effects of weather and daily life.
But when this shield is compromised, cracked skin can increase the chances of getting sick, because skin that isn’t intact provides another pathway for germs to enter into the body.
Petroleum jelly will help beef up the skin’s natural physical shield against germs and external pathogens.
You can apply it locally or liberally depending on your taste and activities!