What is Petroleum Jelly, and What is It Used For?

Find out all you need to know about petroleum jelly here, including its uses and what it is made of.

Take a peek inside any medicine cabinet and you’re sure to find a little jar of petroleum jelly. Usually nestled inside those classic blue containers, Vaseline® Jelly has become a household staple over the years – but how much do you really know about it? 

what is petroleum jelly
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    What is Petroleum Jelly?

    The history of Vaseline® Jelly starts in 1859, when Robert Chesebrough travelled to Titusville, a small town in Pennsylvania. That’s where oil workers had been using rod wax, an unrefined form of petroleum jelly – then just a simple by-product of the drilling they were working on – to heal wounded or burnt skin.


    Curious about its healing benefits, young chemist Robert Chesebrough began to study the substance then known as ‘rod wax’. Through various processes of refinement and purification, he distilled a lighter and transparent gel, which he then patented in 1865 and is the Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly we know today. 

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    What is Vaseline® Jelly?

    When people talk about petroleum jelly, they’re usually referring to Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly – the product originally refined by Chesebrough. 


    It was originally called ‘Wonder Jelly’, and Chesebrough decided to rebrand the product as Vaseline® Jelly – a combination of the German word for water (wasser) and the Greek word for oil (oleon). And so in 1872 the brand Vaseline® Jelly was born. 


    Vaseline® Jelly has been making it easy for people of all ages to take advantage of the benefits of petroleum jelly for more than 140 years. Even with the change of name, Vaseline® Jelly is still a true ‘Wonder Jelly’ that tackles dryness from the inside out, providing deep healing moisture and leaving your skin feeling soft and supple. 

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    What is Petroleum Jelly Made of?

    Petroleum jelly is a mixture of natural waxes and mineral oils that together lock moisture in skin, moisturizing it to repair and relieve dryness.   


    If petroleum jelly is made of waxes and oils, what is Vaseline® Jelly made of? The original ‘Wonder Jelly’ is made from 100 percent triple-purified petroleum jelly, while Vaseline® Intensive Care™ Lotions contain micro-droplets of Vaseline® Jelly and other effective moisturizers that target natural moisture loss throughout the day.

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    What is Petroleum Jelly Used For?

    Petroleum jelly is hugely versatile, and it’s used all over the world to protect and heal dry skin, from dry, cracked hands to hard skin on heels, as well as for beauty purposes, like softening the lips or highlighting the cheekbones!

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    How About the Original 'Wonder Jelly'? What is Vaseline® Jelly used for?

    Vaseline® Jelly is triple-filtered, ensuring it is truly free from impurities. This means that is often used to protect and repair the skin. Moms love it for preventing diaper rash, but it can also be used to protect minor cuts and burns, to soften skin, and to lock in moisture in dry, cracked skin. Vaseline® Jelly works from the inside out, repairing and protecting dry skin and locking in moisture, making your skin feel and look good!

Find more healthy skin tips and facts on the Skin Health page. >


The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely available for information purposes.

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