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Aquaphor and Vaseline are two brand names for petroleum jelly-based products. Both brands offer a myriad of products, from Aquaphor’s baby creams and ointments to Vaseline’s body lotions.

For the sake of this article, we’ll be talking about their signature products, Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Vaseline Jelly Original. These two products have similar uses and can help lock-in moisture for dry skin, but they’re not identical. Here, we’ll talk about their similarities and differences.

Vaseline Jelly Original ingredients

Vaseline‘s original formula product is made of 100 percent petroleum jelly and includes no water.

About petroleum jelly

Petroleum jelly, also called petrolatum, creates a barrier on the skin to help prevent moisture loss. It can temporarily protect wounded, scratched, burned, or otherwise injured skin from outside germs and irritants.

Healthline

Aquaphor Healing Ointment ingredients

Aquaphor, on the other hand, contains about 41 percent petroleum jelly and other ingredients, including:

Caution

If you have a lanolin allergy, steer clear of Aquaphor.

Both Aquaphor and Vaseline are skin protectants and occlusive moisturizers. They can help lock moisture into the skin, act as wound healers, and even work well as gentle makeup removers.

Both Aquaphor and Vaseline help moisturizers work better

An occlusive moisturizer blocks water loss from the skin by creating a barrier. Both Aquaphor and Vaseline can help trap existing moisture into the skin, but Vaseline is best used over a humectant moisturizer, which pulls moisture in from the environment, to keep the moisture locked into the skin.

Aquaphor contains other ingredients like glycerin, which acts as a humectant to keep skin moisturized from the outside in.

Both Aquaphor and Vaseline work for lips

Both Aquaphor and Vaseline can be used on lips. Aquaphor can restore moisture to lips that are already dry.

Vaseline is best used to prevent dry or chapped lips. The Vaseline brand does have other products that are formulated specifically for lips, with additional moisturizing ingredients like aloe and cocoa butter.

Vaseline might be better for wound healing

Aquaphor and Vaseline both create a thick barrier on the skin, which prevents injured skin from becoming irritated.

A 2013 study found that surgical wounds treated with Aquaphor had a higher incidence of redness at the wound site when compared with surgical wounds treated with Vaseline. So, if you’re healing after surgery, you may want to reach for Vaseline.

Aquaphor is recommended for tattoos

In the first few days after getting a tattoo, you’ll need to keep it moisturized and bandaged. Aquaphor is recommended for tattoos because of its anti-inflammatory properties, while Vaseline is not, as it can block air from getting to the tattoo, which is needed for healing.

After the tattoo has healed, it’s a good idea to switch to a water-based, fragrance-free lotion like Lubriderm or Eucerin

We spoke with Dr. Hadley King, board certified dermatologist in New York City and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

While Vaseline and Aquaphor have similar benefits, King says she tends “to find Aquaphor to be a better moisturizer, which is probably because of the humectant properties of glycerin and additional occlusive properties of lanolin.” It also includes bisabolol, which has “antioxidant, soothing, and anti-irritant properties,” she adds.

Lanolin has benefits for those who are not allergic, and King says it “has long been used in skin care because it’s an effective occlusive, commonly used in body creams and lotions to lock in much-needed moisture and prevent water loss.”

What does a lanolin allergy look like?

Lanolin is a wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals, most commonly sheep. A lanolin skin reaction can look like mild allergic contact dermatitis.

“This will show up as a scaly patch of skin or small, red itchy bumps. If the face is involved there can be swelling of the lips and face. In more severe cases, blisters may develop in addition to itching and burning. If you are allergic to lanolin, there are many other ingredients that prevent transepidermal water loss, including petrolatum, mineral oil, beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter, or cocoa butter,” King told Healthline.

Aquaphor and Vaseline are generally safe for use. But if you have an allergy to lanolin, then you should not use Aquaphor. Vaseline is still safe for use because it contains nothing other than petroleum jelly.

Vaseline is better than Aquaphor for burns, as lanolin may cause further irritation.

Neither Aquaphor nor Vaseline should be used to treat sunburns, as these products can actually trap in heat.

The side effects of Aquaphor and Vaseline are generally mild, with one of the most common being clogged pores.

Call your doctor immediately if you think you may be experiencing any of the following:

  • An allergy to petroleum jelly. This is rare, but it may include redness, itchiness, or burning at the site of application.
  • An infection. This can happen if Aquaphor and Vaseline are applied over cuts that haven’t been cleaned properly, as the occlusive nature of the two products can trap dirt and germs.
  • Aspiration pneumonia, in rare cases. This can occur if either product is applied to the nose area and inhaled into the lungs. For this reason, always help children with applying Aquaphor and Vaseline.

Aquaphor and Vaseline are both brand names synonymous with petroleum jelly products. Two of their most widely known products are Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Vaseline Jelly Original.

Vaseline contains 100 percent petroleum jelly, while Aquaphor includes other ingredients like mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, and bisabolol. Both can be used on lips and skin, as wound healers, and as makeup removers or cuticle softeners.

Aquaphor tends to be a better moisturizer because it contains humectant ingredients and is occlusive, while Vaseline is only occlusive. When used for wound healing after surgery, Vaseline has shown to cause less redness at the wound site than Aquaphor. If you have a lanolin allergy, opt for Vaseline over Aquaphor.