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Another old-fashioned product vindicates itself.

The plain old petroleum jelly (petrolatum) that Grandma used to put on her roughened or irritated skin has now been found to have remarkable healing properties. Previously, most doctors thought that petrolatum did nothing more than coat the skin with a barrier that kept out infection. Although it does provide an immediate barrier, California researchers have discovered that the entire upper layer of the skin also absorbs it. This is where the stuff takes an active role in the healing process.

Many plants and insects produce the fatty hydrocarbons that make up petrolatum, to protect their outer surfaces. Fortunately, animals and humans do not-otherwise we'd be a rather greasy lot! This does leave us vulnerable to skin abrasions and irritations, however.

Leaving injured skin exposed to air or covering it with so-called "breathable" wraps avoids the use of air-tight dressings that promote the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Now we find that one of our oldest and most inexpensive skin care preparations doubles as a skin protector and healer of skin cells.
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Title Annotation:healing properties of petroleum jelly
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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