Applying petroleum jelly to sensitive skin can help keep it moisturized while creating a protective barrier against irritants.

Petroleum jelly is often used as a first-line treatment ointment for mild to moderate symptoms of eczema, according to the National Eczema Association.

It may help treat eczema in several ways, such as hydrating and protecting the skin, while offering symptom relief.

Keep reading to learn more about how petroleum jelly may help treat eczema, how to use it, and the potential side effects.

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition that may cause itchy, dry, and scaly patches of skin.

These skin patches may sometimes break, making it easier for irritants, allergens, and microbes to penetrate your skin barrier. This leaves your skin vulnerable to irritation, allergic reactions, and infection.

Petroleum jelly is an oily ointment that is recommended by professionals to help moisturize skin affected by eczema. It’s a type of occlusive, which works by creating a protective barrier to help your skin retain moisture by sealing it in.

Petroleum, the main ingredient in petroleum jelly, contains a hydrocarbon called petrolatum. Research suggests that petrolatum is the most effective occlusive moisturizer to prevent water from leaving your skin, keeping it hydrated.

A 2017 study found that daily full-body use of a moisturizer like petroleum jelly can help prevent eczema flare-ups. It also proved to be the most cost-effective moisturizer of the seven products studied.

Petroleum jelly has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it a viable option to help manage eczema symptoms. It could also help promote skin regeneration.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests that you can use petroleum jelly to help relieve eczema symptoms like dry skin and to promote wound healing.

The best time to apply petroleum jelly is directly after a shower or bath while your skin is still damp, according to the National Eczema Association. This is to help lock in the water before it can leave your body.

The amount of petroleum jelly you apply may depend on several factors, such as:

  • the weather
  • whether you’re using it on its own
  • how much of your body is affected

The National Eczema Association recommends applying a thin layer to the affected area so that your skin is shiny.

You can use petroleum jelly on its own or with a moisturizer.

For example, if you use a moisturizer or topical ointment as part of your treatment plan, you can apply petroleum jelly over this to help lock it in.

Wet wrap therapy

Wet wrap therapy is another way to help seal in moisture and prevent irritants, allergens, and microbes from entering broken skin. It also helps prevent itching, scratching, and picking.

Here are the steps for wet wrap therapy:

  1. Moisten a gauze or cotton fabric with warm water until slightly damp.
  2. Cover the affected area with the dressing.
  3. Wrap a dry dressing over the wet dressing, such as gloves or socks for your hands and feet, or some type of cotton fabric, food-grade plastic wrap, or vinyl gloves.
  4. Leave the dressings on for a few hours or overnight.

Petroleum jelly is generally safe to use. However, there’s a small risk of side effects like allergic reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin.

The first time you use petroleum jelly to treat eczema, do a skin patch test to check for adverse reactions.

To do a skin patch test:

  1. Apply petroleum jelly to a small patch of skin.
  2. Cover the area with gauze and keep it dry.
  3. If you experience any rash, irritation, or discomfort, remove the gauze and wash your skin.
  4. If you don’t develop any negative reactions within 24 hours, it’s likely safe for you to use petroleum jelly.

Petroleum jelly creates a protective barrier that locks in moisture, but it can also trap microbes, oil, and irritants. This may lead to infection if you have broken skin patches.

To help prevent infection, clean and dry your hands and the skin where it’s going to be applied before using the ointment. You can also use a disposable or sanitized spatula to scoop the product from the container.

If you’re prone to acne, applying petroleum jelly on your face could also increase breakouts.

Other natural remedies may help you treat, manage, and prevent eczema flare-ups. According to a 2017 review, these may include:

  • acupuncture
  • aromatherapy
  • taking baths with other substances, such as colloidal oatmeal
  • relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques
  • massage therapy
  • homeotherapy
  • herbal remedies, such as sunflower oil, licorice, and tea tree oil

Some research also suggests that coconut oil may help with eczema treatment.

However, it’s important to note that research on these remedies is limited. Speak with a healthcare professional before trying these remedies. They may provide more effective alternatives and inform you of possible side effects.

Does petroleum jelly help eczema?

Research suggests that petroleum jelly may help treat eczema and prevent flare-ups.

Does petroleum jelly heal itching?

Petroleum jelly creates a protective barrier over the skin, which helps retain moisture. This could help prevent your skin from flaking and cracking, which could prevent itching.

Does vitamin A and D ointment help eczema?

A 2018 review found that vitamin A didn’t help improve eczema symptoms, while vitamin D made symptoms worse. That said, the National Eczema Association suggests that vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial during the winter.

Is slugging with Vaseline good for eczema?

Slugging with Vaseline, a popular brand name of petroleum jelly, can help keep your skin moisturized and prevent it from drying out, according to the National Eczema Association.

Petroleum jelly is an effective and cost-efficient treatment option to prevent and manage eczema flare-ups.

It offers healing benefits that protect, moisturize, and soothe irritated skin. When purchasing petroleum jelly, read the label carefully to make sure it’s free of additives.

Reach out to a healthcare professional if you experience any negative reactions after using petroleum jelly to treat eczema or if your condition does not improve or worsens over time.