A by-product of the petroleum distillation process, mineral oil is a common ingredient in lotions, sunscreens and other skin care products. In the United States, mineral oil with added fragrance is sold as baby oil. According to Drugs.com, some people are allergic to mineral oil and may develop a skin rash, itching, burning or swelling of the mouth, lips or tongue 1.
Once you’ve identified mineral oil as the cause of your rash, discontinue use immediately. Check any skin care products you frequently use for synonyms of mineral oil, such as liquidum paraffinum, paraffin oil, paraffin wax or petrolatum. If you have any mineral oil on your skin, wash using a mild soap free of mineral oil.
Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can help relieve redness and itching for mild rashes caused by mineral oil. Apply a thin layer and rub it in gently. Do not cover the area with a bandage unless your doctor instructs you otherwise. Avoid contact with the eyes and do not use creams on open cuts. Applying a cold compress may also help soothe the skin.
In the case of a severe rash, you may wish to take an over-the-counter antihistamine or a prescription corticosteroid for a few days. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and do not take corticosteroids for longer than necessary. Corticosteroids reduce swelling but can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. Notify your doctor if you experience symptoms such as a sore throat, fever or coughing.
- lid image by andrew chambers from Fotolia.com