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Aquaphor may help moisturize chapped lips and rashes. However, it’s not recommended to put it on your face if you have acne because it can trigger more acne.

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Credit Image: Andrew Toth/Stringer/Getty Images

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is one of the most popular and widely available skin products on the market. Unlike most skin products, which are sold as creams or lotions, Aquaphor is formulated as a thick ointment.

Aquaphor is effective at healing and protecting dry or cracked skin, chapped lips, minor cuts and burns, and other skin irritations.

That’s largely because its main ingredient is petrolatum, a mix of mineral oils and waxes, better known as petroleum jelly. It’s safe to apply to the body and helps retain water on the surface of the skin.

Many people use Aquaphor as a regular part of their skin care regimen to help maintain smooth, healthy skin — whether they have dry skin or not.

Clinical research funded by Aquaphor’s parent company, Eucerin, found that people using Aquaphor Healing Ointment had softer, smoother hands after just one use.

Eucerin also suggests using Aquaphor for 10 days can speed up your skin’s healing abilities.

There are many stories out there about the benefits of Aquaphor, yet there’s a limited amount of research that looks into its benefits. Here’s a closer look at the science behind the claims.

Some people swear by applying Aquaphor to their faces as a way to keep their skin healthy and moisturized. While not explicitly a facial moisturizer, Aquaphor’s makers do recommend it for use on chapped lips.

Aquaphor doesn’t moisturize your skin in the same way a typical cream or lotion does. Instead of adding water, it helps retain the water already on the surface of your skin and draw in extra moisture from the surrounding air.

Aquaphor can also protect broken, irritated, or injured skin by forming a somewhat breathable barrier over it. This cuts down on the amount of water that escapes from your skin into the air, keeping wounds moisturized as they heal. This can minimize scarring and discomfort.

Generally, it’s safe to use Aquaphor on any area of skin on your body, even to protect mild scrapes or burns.

Everyone’s skin wrinkles in time, and the face is particularly prone to growing fine lines. While Aquaphor can hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it cannot actually treat or prevent them.

One of the most highly recommended ways to prevent wrinkles is to use retinoids, which are chemicals made from vitamin A.

Retinoids, sometimes called retinol, can boost your skin’s production of collagen, a substance that keeps your skin firm. Using retinoid products is one of the most effective ways to prevent fine lines on your face.

There’s no research studying whether Aquaphor is a treatment for acne.

A few case studies suggest that people prone to acne should avoid applying Aquaphor to their faces, as it might trigger more acne. For example, in an early study, a young woman used petroleum jelly to massage her face and had blackheads and pimples where she’d applied it.

The makers of Aquaphor claim that their product does not clog pores (it’s noncomedogenic), and so it shouldn’t cause acne in people with dry to normal skin.

But if you have naturally oily skin, using Aquaphor on your face may cause excessive moisture. The pores in your face may not be able to breathe properly. Also, if you do not wash your face before applying Aquaphor, you could trap dirt on your skin.

These factors could trigger a breakout.

For dry rashes that occur on the face, such as those eczema and certain kinds of psoriasis cause, including during pregnancy, Aquaphor may provide some moisturizing relief.

It can also help heal other types of rashes, such as those caused by poison ivy or insect bites.

Doctors often recommend using Aquaphor to boost rash healing and to minimize discomfort. You can also treat rashes by taking antihistamines, using gentle cleansers, and applying hydrocortisone cream to the rash.

There’s no proof that Aquaphor is an effective treatment for acne and might actually worsen acne in people prone to it.

However, according to the makers, Aquaphor is an effective treatment for drool rash. You can apply a small amount of Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment to soothe irritated skin on your baby’s face.

This cream can also be used to relieve diaper rash in infants.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, petroleum jelly products like Aquaphor can help boost skin health, including on the face.

Aquaphor has two main health benefits when used on the face and the rest of the body:

Easing dry skin

Aquaphor can moisturize dry skin on your face, including on your lips and eyelids.

If you apply it while your skin is still damp from washing, you can maximize its moisturizing effects.

Applying a small amount of Aquaphor to dry skin can minimize discomfort and irritation. It can also protect dry skin from further damage from wind and cold by creating a barrier over it.

Keratosis pilaris is a condition associated with dry skin that causes bumps. Research suggests that applying Aquaphor to affected skin can minimize the symptoms and appearance of this condition.

Healing injured skin

Aquaphor is a proven remedy for speeding the healing time of injured skin, including skin that’s been recently tattooed.

You should only apply Aquaphor to minor wounds like shallow cuts and mild burns (more serious wounds require medical attention).

Aquaphor helps heal wounds by preventing them from drying out and scabbing, minimizing healing time. It can also prevent extensive scarring when applied to a minor wound.

If using Aquaphor for a wound on your face, be sure to also clean the wound daily.

It’s uncommon for people to experience negative reactions to Aquaphor and other petrolatum products. But in rare cases, Aquaphor is known to cause an allergic reaction that can cause a rash.

If you plan to use Aquaphor on your face, you may want to first apply a small amount to another part of your body and wait 24 hours to see if you have a reaction. If your skin looks clear and feels fine after a day, it’s fine to use on your face.

See a dermatologist if you experience a negative skin reaction after using Aquaphor or other skin care products.

Other considerations:

  • In those prone to acne, Aquaphor could prevent pores from breathing and cause breakouts.
  • Because Aquaphor creates a barrier over the skin, it’s important to wash your skin before applying it to prevent trapping in dirt or bacteria.
  • Aquaphor is not technically a moisturizer. It will only trap the water already on the surface of your skin. You may need to wash or dampen your skin before using it.

Aquaphor is best applied to wounded, tattooed, or dry areas of skin on the face. It’s safe for most people to apply to their entire face one to a few times a day to help seal in moisture; however, there are no clear benefits to doing so.

For best results, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and then pat dry, leaving a bit of moisture on your skin. Then apply a small amount of Aquaphor with your fingers. Gently massage the ointment onto your skin.

You can find Aquaphor in most drugstores, supermarkets, and online. Aquaphor comes in several different formulations.

Eucerin, the company that makes Aquaphor, sells its namesake healing ointment in several different styles. It comes as a regular ointment in a tube, body spray, or roll-on applicator.

Eucerin also sells a line of skin care products gently formulated for babies. All contain petroleum jelly, the key ingredient in Aquaphor.

Shop for Aquaphor online.

A number of celebrities and beauty bloggers say that regular or daily use of Aquaphor has boosted their skin’s appearance. But there’s little research into any general benefits of applying Aquaphor to the face every day.

In fact, if you have oily skin, Aquaphor could possibly worsen the likelihood that you’ll experience a breakout.

However, there is proof that this ointment can moisturize dry skin. It can also speed the healing of wounds, rashes, and new tattoos while minimizing scarring.

Because negative reactions to Aquaphor are very rare, it’s safe for most people to use.