If you’ve ever spent time on Reddit’s Skincare Addiction forum, you may have come across the theory that a $3 tub of Vaseline could be the answer to all skin woes-especially acne.
Claims about Vaseline’s pimple-fighting powers tend to pop up every so often on the Internet. Last year, a Reddit user suffering from cystic acne named raw_m raved that petroleum jelly was “a dream” that helped heal their persistent breakouts.
“Besides being smooth and less red my favorite thing about the Vaseline is that it keeps the skin so soft that whiteheads rise to the top of the skin and after a while can literally be wiped or washed off,” raw_m wrote, adding that the formula also seemed to help new breakouts heal faster.
[Acne] Rave of vaseline for cystic hormonal acne from SkincareAddiction
There are many similar testimonials on Reddit, but many other users ask the same question we have in the comment section: Can something so thick and goopy actually get rid of pimples?
We love Vaseline as much as anyone; petroleum jelly is incredible for softening rough cuticles, taming unruly brows, and soothing cracked winter skin. Plus, dermatologists often recommend Vaseline for people with eczema. But should those with acne-prone complexions really be applying it to their faces? We asked Ted Lain, MD, a board-certified dermatologist from Austin, Texas, to weigh in.
“Petrolatum is inherently comedogenic, which means it will clog the pores,” he says. “It won’t heal acne-it will literally cause it.”
Since petroleum jelly does have some anti-inflammatory effects that can help diminish the look of redness, Dr. Lain says. But he insists that there are “so many better ways” to treat acne.
His number-one pick? The acne-zapping ingredient benzoyl peroxide. Dr. Lain likes La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment ($37, dermstore.com) since it boasts a powerful combination of benzoyl peroxide and LHA to exfoliate. For a more affordable option, try drugstore favorite Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 ($7, walgreens.com), which contains 10% benzoyl peroxide.
The Internet may be freaking out about this acne “fix,” but we think we’ll listen to the pros.