image: PawPawShop London
Paw Paw Ointment has become a popular 'natural' alternative to petroleum jelly. People slather it on their lips, their baby's butt and use it on skin ailments such as wounds.
Would it shock you to know that a lot of Paw Paw balms are in fact, anything but 'natural'? Check the ingredients list and you'll find some, including the cult classic are actually made up of 96% Petroleum Jelly!
What is Petroleum Jelly?
We won't sugarcoat it. Petroleum Jelly is a by-product (technically from the sludge waste...eww) of turning oil into petrol. It is bleached and the smell is chemically removed. As a by product of oil refinery it is not a sustainable resource.
The Truth about Petroleum Jelly.
Now petroleum jelly is safe for use on your skin, we're not here to argue that. But here is the truth. It's just not all that good for it. Now before you started protesting, telling me 'my skin feels instantly soft when I use it' let me explain.
Your skin instantly feels smooth after you apply Petroleum Jelly (or petrolatum as it's sometimes listed) - because it's a slick product that forms an excellent barrier. It keeps moisture in and air out. But it doesn't add moisture. When you apply it, your dry, hard skin, feels instantly smooth but that's where the benefit stops. By keeping air and moisture out, you're actually drying out your skin and blocking your pores with a water resistant plug.
How to find a more natural Paw Paw Balm.
Now look. If you don't mind the fact that your Paw Paw isn't really a natural multi-tasking balm then that's all good.
But if you are a bit peeved to discover your natural choice isn't what it seems, then all you need to do is check the ingredients list before buying your next tube or tub Paw Paw Ointment. Look for high concentrates of Papaya Extract, at least 50mg/g. And of course look for non-petrochem carriers, such as shea butter, macadamia oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil etc.
Most truly natural balms will proudly proclaim they are free from petroleum jelly, petrolatum or petrochemicals.