Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Is Vaseline a good face cream?

Q. I know someone who swears by Vaseline as a face cream. What do you think?

A. There are two important differences between the skin on your face and the skin on the rest of your body. First, the skin on the face heals much faster. Cosmetic surgery is possible because facial skin heals so well and so fast, even in older people. Second, facial skin has more pores than skin elsewhere. Pores allow sebum, the oily substance produced by sebaceous glands, to reach the surface.

Vaseline is 100% white petrolatum, an ingredient in many skin moisturizers. White petrolatum is a very effective occlusive, a substance that blocks evaporation and can help keep skin moist and supple. But I wouldn't recommend using it as face cream because it might clog up pores and perhaps make the skin look shiny.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »