Grey background with image of Vaseline with the title "Does Vaseline Cause the Skin to Get Darker?"

Does Vaseline Cause the Skin to Get Darker? 

For many households, Vaseline is a staple ingredient. It’s the go-to for dry and flaky skin.

It is widely available and very affordable, which makes it a great item to keep in times of need for your skin.

Not only is it soothing, but also has many unexpected skin benefits that you may have not been aware of.

However, there is always a looming question – what are the side effects of Vaseline usage, and can it cause the skin to get darker?

While there may not be large amounts of targeted research for this particular inquiry, it is worth noting that there could be some possibility that Vaseline could make the skin darker.

However, it is easily preventable and should not be an issue, especially with all of the benefits that outweigh the cons of Vaseline.

Does Vaseline Brighten Skin?

As mentioned earlier, Vaseline has a multitude of skin benefits. While it may not directly contribute to the brightening of the skin, it can definitely be used to make the skin more plump and appear more even and brighter. When used topically, Vaseline creates a thin barrier on the top layer of the skin.

This keeps moisture in the skin, promoting the look of hydrated and healthy skin.

This can make the skin look brighter and more youthful. Some have used Vaseline in their makeup routines to make the skin appear brighter.

Highlighters are used to accentuate certain points of the face, including cheekbones, center of the nose and forehead, as well as the chin.

Highlighting these sections of the face make them appear glossy, youthful, and healthy.

When completing your morning skincare routine, you can follow these same steps with Vaseline to give yourself a healthy and natural looking glow to the skin.

Since it has no colour or light reflecting pigments, it will look natural. When it catches the light, the slight shine will be sure to make your complexion look brightened. 

Is Vaseline Good For Face At Night?

Nighttime is the best time to use Vaseline on the face because it is not very wearable, and can be uncomfortable to put on the skin during the daytime.

In addition, heavier products are best suited for nighttime skin care because that is when your skin actually rejuvenates itself.

A topical application of Vaseline to the skin creates a barrier on the surface of the skin. Therefore, all of the skin care products that you are using prior to applying Vaseline on the surface of the skin will penetrate more deeply.

This will allow moisturizers, serums, and other moisturizing ingredients to hydrate the skin even more than it would normally.

This is because they are being held in place by the thin barrier created by the Vaseline. Due to the occlusiveness of the Vaseline, it prevents water loss from the skin and also increases hydration. 

Can Vaseline Cause the Skin to Get Darker?

Vaseline can heavily influence the way your skin works. Topical application of Vaseline can increase hydration, prevent transepidermal water loss, and provide a soothing barrier to the skin.

It is especially soothing for those that suffer from redness, post inflammatory erythema, and scarring. When it comes to changing the pigmentation of your skin, Vaseline does not directly influence the melanin production of the skin.

However, since Vaseline creates a thin barrier over the surface of the skin, all of the skin care products underneath will become more potent.

This also means that any dirt, oils, or harsh skin care products that are left on the surface of the skin will become more potent as well.

Dirt and oil can become trapped underneath the Vaseline barrier if your skin is not properly cleaned before application. Depending on your skin sensitivity and harshness of the products underneath, your skin can experience a greater amount of scarring or irritation since it is now “trapped” underneath the Vaseline.

For example, using a high percentage of an alpha hydroxy acid like glycolic acid underneath Vaseline can cause your skin to become irritated, flaky, and red and may leave some pigmentation behind. This is due to the acid being “trapped”, which enhances skin penetration. 

How To Properly Apply Vaseline To Prevent Skin Darkening

A very easy fix to ensure that applying Vaseline does not induce negative changes to the skin involves keeping the skin clean and clear of pollutants, dirt, and oils.

Prior to application, ensure that the skin is properly cleansed with a gentle cleanser. It is also equally important to ensure that this cleanser is completely washed off the surface of the skin before applying any other skin care products.

In addition, ensure to double cleanse if you are wearing makeup and/or sunscreen to properly remove all traces of residual product.

These steps will avoid any harsh ingredients penetrating the skin more deeply when Vaseline is applied over top.


Effects of petrolatum on stratum corneum structure and function – PubMed (

Petrolatum: Barrier repair and antimicrobial responses underlying this “inert” moisturizer – PubMed (

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