Alternative MedicineCryptozoologyDear Sasquatch

Dear Sasquatch: OMG, Vaseline Cancer!

Dear Sasquatch:

I have been using Vaseline on my lips and skin for years. I’m a student, and it’s so much cheaper than all the expensive products out there. But a few people have told me it causes cancer. Are they right?

—Jen K.

Dear Jen:

Short answer: No. No studies link petroleum jelly to cancer.

I think part of the appeal of this myth is that petroleum these days has such evil connotations that it feels almost instinctual that anything with that word in it would cause something equally horrendous—cancer. I mean, OMG, you’re practically putting gasoline on your skin, right?! And when you have two things that are ubiquitous, cancer and petroleum jelly, it’s easy to believe there’s a cause-and-effect relationship.

But in this case, there isn’t.

Your friend may say that no studies proving a link doesn’t mean the link doesn’t exist. It might just mean studies need to be done. Of course, this also means that there isn’t reason to believe there is a connection between petroleum jelly and cancer.

Beyond the issue of evidence is also the issue of chemistry. You may have noticed that petroleum jelly doesn’t get soaked into the skin like other moisturizers. This is because its constituent molecules are too big to pass that barrier. So the jelly isn’t even getting into your body to cause cancer in the first place.

Which is a good thing for me considering how much I use for my greaser look at ‘50s car shows.

Do you have a question for Sasquatch? Need advice? An answer to a question that’s been puzzling you? Beauty tips? Ask in the comments section or send an email to [email protected]. Skeptical Sasquatch is now on Twitter (@skeptisquatch) and Facebook.

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Skeptical Sasquatch is an amateur tabloid photographer and filmmaker, beauty expert, and jetsetter (for security purposes). Tired of all the lies spread about him by cryptoloonologists and various crackpots, he joined Teen Skepchick to speak for himself about the skeptical issues of the day and to add species diversity.

You can find him on Twitter at (@skeptisquatch) and on Facebook (


  1. August 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm —

    I know a lot of people get their information for what cosmetics are safe from the environmental working group particularly Skin deep database. I can’t help but wonder how reliable this source is. They have things rated as 0 which is considered the safest rating. But then they sometimes claim to have limited data on some of the ingredients. How can they call the ingredient completely safe if they have insufficient data? And some of their items seem out dated. Can anyone clear up the reliability of this source and whether or not cosmetic companies are secretly trying to kill us? I’ve noticed that certain ingredients are maligned such as SLS, parabens, triclosan, aluminum, synthetic fragrences, but I usually see these on forums by people who do not have a science background.

  2. August 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm —

    As for the Environmental Working Group, you might find this interesting:

    For you other questions, I highly recommend checking out

    If they haven’t already answered any of your questions (I’m pretty sure they’ve discussed at least a few of these ingredients), just ask them.

    • August 24, 2012 at 11:49 pm —

      Thank you for this! I feel much better after that article and I will check out the beauty brains. I think the entire scaremongering was making me a little mentally ill! It doesn’t help that I’m pregnant and getting a bit over protective! And pregnancy boards do not help as many people are very outspoken about this and it did nothing but made me paranoid and feeling guilty for using my soap and shampoo lol. Unfortunantly and regrettably, the stress over this has probably hurt my child more than any of the cosmetics I’ve used.

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