What Happens If... I Use Petroleum Jelly As Lube?

It's definitely not a good idea.
Towfiqu Barbhuiya / EyeEm via Getty Images

No, petroleum jelly is absolutely not worth putting anywhere near your bits to use as lube – no matter how short you might be on other potential lubricants.

Petroleum jelly may be known as a comforting kind of gel which moisturises and heals your skin. But please, please do not let it get inside your body through any means.

And that applies to Vaseline, too. Although it claims to be triple-filtered to remove the impurities, potentially making it lower risk than other jellies, it is still made from crude oil – and your genitals will likely not appreciate that.

Why is it a bad idea to use petroleum jelly as lube?

As Women’s Health Interactive pointed out in March, petroleum jelly is meant to stay on the skin for longer periods of time, meaning it increases your risk of infection.

It all comes down to its ingredients. Most petroleum jellies contain mineral oil which can cause irritation, burning or rashes to break out on the vulva, vagina or anus.

It can increase your chances of developing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, too – two pretty uncomfortable things for your genitals to go through.

A US study published in the National Library of Medicines back in 2013 found that women using petroleum jelly were 2.2 times more likely to test positive for bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Mineral oil can also break down latex or polisoprene condoms and diaphragms, increasing your chances of getting pregnant or developing an STI, within just one minute.

It’s not ideal for sex toy materials either, again, because it could degrade latex, jelly rubber and even silicone.

Petroleum jellies can damage dental dams too and could become a choking hazard if used orally due to its thick texture.

Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital in Mumbai, told HealthShots the jelly can damage your chances of conception, too.

“If you are trying to conceive then you should definitely avoid using petroleum jellies since they act as a spermicidal,” he said.

And even if you’re willing to risk all of that, remember: it’s going to mess up your washing too. It can stain all kinds of fabrics, while also being difficult to remove from the skin.

What else can’t you use as lube?

Here are just a few other household beauty products you should not be using as lube: liquid soap, washes, sanitiser, douches or facial cleanser.

So please, stay away from the petroleum jelly, and just use lubes which are water-based, silicone-based or oil-based (depending on what kind of sex you’re planning to have) instead.

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