Because of their ability to reduce friction between surfaces, substances such as baby oil and petroleum jelly are often used as sexual lubricants. Though these products may be effective for their intended purpose, they may also have unwanted adverse side effects.

Possible Side Effects of Common Oil-based Lubricants

For instance, these oil-based lubricants eat away at rubber and can therefore drastically minimize the effectiveness of condoms.{1} Those using condoms to protect against disease or pregnancy are thus at risk while using baby oil and petroleum jellies like Vaseline.

Perhaps more troubling, researchers have also begun linking petroleum byproducts to breast cancer. Scientists at Columbia University have found more than twice as much of a petroleum impurity called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) on the DNA of women with breast cancer than in those without the disease.{2} 

What is the answer for people who want an effective sexual lubricant that is also safe?

Water-based lubricants like Velvet Rose do not contain the harmful chemicals that can be found in oil-based lubricants. They do not contain the petroleum that has been linked to cancer, nor do they contain harsh ingredients that are likely to irritate the skin.

In addition, because they are natural and gentle, these lubricants do not interfere with the integrity of latex condoms.

While Europe has banned 1372 self-care products and cosmetics due to safety concerns, the United States has only banned 10. The European Union has listed petroleum jelly as a carcinogen and therefore does not permit its use.

The United States, though, is much more lenient about the chemicals included in United States products and still allows petroleum in their products. As a result, there are a significant number of lip glosses, lotions, and lubricants on the market in the United States that contain petroleum.

A 2011 study identified cosmetics as a source of mineral oil contamination in women, identifying the toxins in fat tissue and even breast milk,{3} but consumers are often unaware of the risks these products pose to their health.

Educating Yourself on Personal Lubricants That Are Safe

It is important that women educate themselves on the specific substances they put on and in their bodies. There is a strong misconception that if products are on the market, they have been deemed safe by the United States’ government. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

Visit Intimate Rose for valuable information on women’s health products, including our water-based personal lubricant, Velvet Rose.

1.} Voeller, B., Coulson, A. H., Bernstein, G. S. & Nakamura, R. M. Mineral oil lubricants cause rapid deterioration of latex condoms. Contraception 39, 95-102 (1989).

2.} Dunnick J. Elwell M, Huff J, Barrett J. Chemically induced mammary gland cancer in the National Toxicology Program’s carcinogenesis essay. Carcinogenesis. 1995;16(2):173-179.

3.} Concin N. et. al. Evidence for cosmetics as a source for mineral oil contamination in women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Nov;20(11):1713-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2011.2829. Epub 2011 Oct 4.

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