Guide to Petrochemicals in Skincare Products


We believe in integrity and that means being clear about ingredients and where our products are made. Our guide to petrochemicals in skincare products will give you introduction to what they are, why we don’t use them and common examples.

What Are Petrochemicals Anyway?

Crude oil or petroleum is the culmination of millions of years of fossils, plants, bacteria and animal decay into a thick sludge. It’s a mixture of thousands of different compounds with many different properties.

To make this sludge useful, a process called fractional distillation is used to extract compounds with similar properties to form individual chemicals, such as petrol, diesel or gas.

Despite estimations that the world’s supply of crude oil could end as soon as 2050, 84 million barrels are extracted from the ground every day. This rate of production is risking the joyous sound of a naturally-aspirated Ferrari V12 for future generations.


What Does Crude Oil Have to Do With Skincare Products?

As well as the fuels mentioned above, hundreds of petrochemicals are used to produce everything from polystyrene to household cleaning products and even shaving cream.

Typical examples of petrochemicals used in cosmetic products include mineral oils (the bulk of many cosmetics), sodium laureth sulphate (chemical cleansing agent), parabens (preservatives), formaldehyde (used for embalming and cosmetics) and hundreds of others. 

Our Skin Absorbs 60% of What You Apply to it

Many well-meaning bloggers will tell you that our skin absorbs 60pc of what you put on it, which isn’t strictly true. Essentially your skin is made up of three layers, the outer most layer, the epidermis creates a waterproof barrier for our body.

This is a debated topic which extends further than the scope of this post, but there are scientific studies available online for the scholars among you. There is evident to suggest that low level but daily use of petrochemicals can be detrimental to your health.

Petrochemicals in Men’s Skincare Products

What we do know is that these ingredients are not beneficial to your skin or well-being. And what is proven is some chemicals are known to be carcinogens and do cause irritation, eczema, dermatitis and even links to cancer.

A common example is petroleum jelly - that old jar that you might have in your cupboard. Originally designed to protect minor wounds by preventing moisture loss and commonly used as a lip balm.

Have you ever used a tube and thought this is great, only to realise that once you stop using it, your lips are dry? That’s because it doesn’t actually provide any moisture to your skin, instead, it creates a waterproof barrier, giving the illusion that your lips aren’t dry, when in fact you feel the barrier rather than your skin.

Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Men's Skincare Products

There are literally hundreds of petrochemicals but common ingredients to look include, petrolatum, mineral oil, toluene, benzene, diethanolamine, ethanolamine, alcohol, butylparaben, butylene glycol. If in doubt, take a look at the EWG database.

Natural Skin Care Products for Men

Therefore we do not use any petrochemicals in our skin and hair care products. Where ingredients such as preservatives or cleansing agents are not available directly from a natural source, we use gentle versions that are not derived from petrochemicals.

Our common sense approach to developing products of integrity extends to not using any products which may affect your health, including parabens, silicon, alcohol, sulphates any petrochemicals. Our chemical-free men’s skincare products are designed around naturally high-performance ingredients.

Petrochemicals in Skincare Products - The Bottom Line

It’s important to note that not all natural ingredients are good and not all man-made are bad for your well-being. While technically crude oil is natural, the processing of this complex is not and the effects on health are widely documented by healthcare professionals.

In contrast, even excessive amounts of pure essential oils, such as the oil extracted from a lemon, can cause skin irritation if used incorrectly.

Our policy is to use carefully chosen natural botanical extracts that are supported by scientific research for safety and performance.

Take a look at our ingredients page and glossary to learn about about our ingredients.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.