It’s still quite fashionable to hate on the Mean ‘Ole Mineral. Though, I will admit it, too, made me think twice about one, commonly hated ingredient – mineral oil. “Research matters” is what a sci-fi freak would mutter under the breath. Yes and no is what I would counter with. Before oil trend really took off in a big (ahem…I’ll take the shameless credit for that hot skin trend), we all, at some point or another, disparaged the Mean ‘Ole Mineral – a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. Mineral oil is leftover liquid, and because it is abundant, it is very inexpensive. Allegedly, it is more expensive to dispose of mineral oil, than to purchase it.

Inevitably, I’m faced with that usually polarizing conundrum – when science says otherwise, how bad can it be? I mean, every child in America has been slathered head to toe with the Johnson & Johnson variety during their first two years. And, nowhere do I see most of today’s adults walking the streets with large, bulbous tumours sprouting from their foreheads or limbs. Perhaps, willfully naïve, I’ll say this – anyone has the predisposition to be allergic to any one ingredient. Mean ‘Ole Mineral or not. After all, not all face creams or serums are one size or one skin fits all.

“Mineral oils can irritate some people,” says Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist with practices in New York City and Miami. “Mineral oil has also always been thought to be comedogenic, or pore-clogging.”

But, this isn’t different from any abstract ingredient or essence that can irritate. Researchers say the type of mineral oil used in skin care products does not cause pimples, as previously thought. Researchers say marketing claims may have already convinced many people that mineral oil causes pimples. But studies in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology show that people concerned about pimples shouldn't be concerned about seeing mineral oil in the ingredient list. Instead, they should look for products that are labeled "noncomedogenic." Mineral oil is recognized by dermatologists as extremely effective for wound healing specifically because it protects the skin while allowing it to heal. (Source: Cosmetics & Toiletries, February 1998, pages 33-40). And, it doesn’t go rancid. Dr. Brandt further adds vegetal and essential oils also help.

“A lot of botanical oils help reduce inflammation. Oils do hydrate and help increase the lipid content of the skin. Also, since dryness makes the skin more susceptible to free-radical formation, which can lead to collagen breakdown and DNA changes, oils have an indirect benefit in reducing or even preventing the aging of the skin.”

Which is why Bio-Oil ($19.99) may be actually be the realistic alternative to people who may experience skin sensitivities to purely organic body oils. Bio Oil was formulated by the German cosmetic scientist Dieter Beier, who came across some pretty potent duck juice that helps to heal dermal scarring. yes, ducks. More on that later. But, yes, it’s got Mineral Oil at its core. But, the scientists behind the Beauty Brains debunk some of the more popular yet demonized myths. In fact, today’s cosmetics-grade mineral oil is considered the safest, most nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found.

After you’ve also made your peace Mineral Oil, Bio-Oil gets serious with Vitamin A & E to help cells turnover quicker and deliver some antioxidant action. And, what’s new here is the PurCellin Oil; a non-greasy delivery system that is actually recreated from the concept of preening ducks. Not, this isn't any marketing or medical quakery. During preening, a duck secretes an oil from its preen gland and distributes it over its entire plumage in the familiar twisted-neck action that one often associates with ducks. The PurCellin Oil creates a thin, non-shiny layer on the surface of a duck’s feathers without which water would not pearl off leaving the poor bird struggling to get its swim on. In Bio-Oil, the lab created system improves spreadability and allows for targeted deeper absorption of the vital essences.

Layered throughout the lightly viscous oil are true-to-form essentials: Chamomile, Rosemary, Calendula and Lavender oils which bring highly therapeutic effects to drier skin. Sunflower and Soybean carriers round out the formula, which leaves a flirty but prim Rose scent on skin. With a lightweight viscosity, I’ll have to say though the bland Mineral Oil is the main base of moisture, you do get your dose of EFAs and antioxidants from the added natural carriers and essentials, which are aplenty and what skin covets most. In addition to surplus moisture for skin, stretch marks & scars on joints and tummies can be healed, though only if you religiously stick with a daily/nightly slather for at least 3 months.

Though the oil has procured some major awards (over 80) from InStyle, Shecky’s, Cosmetic Executive Women and a host of other beauty books, some readers may still shy away from a mineral-based treatment. But, know this - the breezy Bio‐Oil has undergone safety assessments in accordance with the Council on Cosmetic Products and has been tested to be non‐acnegenic and non‐irritating to people with sensitive skin. Its toxicological profile, chemical structure, level of inclusion and total level of daily exposure of each ingredient used has been assessed and deemed safe for use (including for use by pregnant women). And, with the affordably tag that comes with the scientific backing, it just might be worth your while to try a quick slather in pursuit of a pragmatic option to a wholly organic oil, which might just tickle any unknown sensitivities of yours.