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Allergic to petroleum jelly?
Hello Doctor,

I am 19 years old and have had eczema my entire life. I've used a lot of different medications-- topical steroids seem to work best, but I am concerned about long term damage to my skin. At this moment, I seem to have had an allergic reaction to petroleum jelly. I used it as a moisturizer for several months because it really helped control my eczema. my skin felt great for about 6months. However, after applying the Vaseline to my face a few nights ago i noticed that my eczema was actually worse in the morning. I believe the vaseline caused the redness and inflammation because I did not apply any other product to my face-- no makeup or lotions and I didn't eat anything out of the ordinary. Also, I've had multiple allergy tests done in the past, and although i am highly allergic to dust, mold, pollen, cockroaches, I am not allergic to any type of food. Could it be possible that I might develop a food allergy at this point in my life? (Please note, I did not eat any spicy food or anything I don't normally eat). Also, is it possible that after several months of using petroleum jelly (and attaining great results) I am now allergic to the substance?

My skin was so irritated that I decided to purchase "Alba un-petroleum jelly," This does not irritate my facial skin, but it doesnt help either. I have also used "Eucerin--original cream" and I think this also makes it a lot worse. My becomes red and itchy after I apply this cream. And finally, I've tried Cetaphil--again, no improvement. I am concerned because I seem to be allergic to the ingredients in these supposedly "hypoallergenic" moisturizers. My lips feel very dry and there is nothing I can apply without having an allergic reaction. Is desonide safe for my lips? I am afraid that I might have perioral dermatitis--given I have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis already. Also, if I have perioral dermatitis is it safe to use a steroid cream-- I've read oral antibiotics (such as tetracycline) can cure the rash.

I know this is a lot of information, but I am very concerned--especially because petroleum jelly seemed to be the best moisturizer I've tried. If I am allergic to that, what other options do I have?

Thanks for your time and help!
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3 Answers
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1355118 tn?1298568479
Hi, welcome to the forum, sorry to hear about that. There are possibilities that your body is not allergic to petroleum jelly initially but it can turn into an allergen esp. when ingredients have been altered. How the body responds to environment (air, dust, pollen, cosmetics) is quite complex.

You need to try following measures-
- Avoid trigger factors such as heat, perspiration, low humidity
- Treat bacterial colonization with washing and selected antibiotic use, esp. staph skin infection.
- Use antihistamines to control of itching
- Treat stress and anxiety
- Try other creams or ointment like neutraderm or aquaphor.
- Use of low potent steroids during exacerbation of symptoms.
- Topical calcineurin inhibitors against prescription will be better agent than steroids for face application.

More important avoid further exposure to petroleum jelly and other skin products you are allergic to.

Take care and regards.
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I was trying to leave a comment but cant see so just in case in going to say it again. My son has really bad eczema all over the body since 2 years old, and I found something that takes care of all of it for up to a year. Desitin , the ointment for babies, if you put it on the areas wherever you got eczema rash. And keep putting it for few days. It white paste type so I will get messy, but trust me it will take care of the problem. I found this by accident and I kept using it and my son whole body was clear after 1-2 week use of it . And its was clear of it for about a year then when I see the redness and itching come back, I reapply and its gone evn quicker. I wish u good luck. And keep updated , let me know how u doing with it. Ps: Desitin paste is made for babies so ita super easy on the skin.
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I'm 15 and have acd to petroleum jelly. I don't have an eczema problem, but while i was loooking for a product to relieve my chapped lips (many lip products/balms contain petrolatum/petroluem, and any form can cause a breakout on my face) I used different oils- coconut oil works the best. If you're allergic to coconut, then I suggest flax seed oil or just reguar vegetable oil. That's all I can reccomend.
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