This Healing Jelly is 150 Years-Old

It’s no secret that I love to cook.

Soups on the stove. Steaks on the barbecue. Salmon in the oven. You name it.

But every once in a while, I get lazy. I don’t follow the proper safety precautions. And I pay the price.

Like a few weeks ago.

I was grabbing a pan out of the oven. And in a rush, only put an oven mitt on one hand. Huge mistake.

The pan started to slip. And BAM… hit my unprotected hand.

The result? A burn on the lower part of my middle finger.

Despite the pain – and boy was there pain – I knew exactly what to do.

After rinsing the finger under cool water, I applied a light coat of petroleum jelly and wrapped it in a bandage.

For burns like mine (relatively minor with skin still intact) petroleum jelly is a Godsend, helping to keep the affected skin moist while it heals.

Dry skin slows the natural healing process, so you want to keep injured areas moist.

Within a week, my finger was nearly healed, thanks to proper cleaning and the gel.

But helping to heal minor burns is just one of petroleum jelly’s many uses.

It’s a fantastic moisturizer for cracked hands, feet, and lips.

It can even help your pup’s irritated paws.

For babies, it can be used to prevent diaper rash by forming a protective barrier.

And if you wear eye makeup, petroleum jelly can be an effective eye makeup remover. Just be sure to close your eyes as you wipe to avoid getting the gel in your eyes.

You can even use the stuff to shine shoes and lubricate stuck or rusty hinges.

Petroleum jelly (also called petrolatum) is really a marvelous ointment.

And you might be surprised to know this mixture of mineral oils and waxes has been around for over 150 years!

You see, back in 1859, a chemist by the name of Robert Chesebrough was visiting the oil fields of Titusville, PA when he noticed the oil workers were using a substance to heal their cuts and burns.

It was a residue that was removed from oil rig pumps called rod wax.

Chesebrough collected samples of this wax and took them home with him.

Over the next 15 years, he worked on refining and perfecting the substance, eventually developing a light-colored healing gel.

To demonstrate its effectiveness, Chesebrough traveled around New York, burning his own skin on an open flame and then using the gel on his injuries.

He also handed samples out to Brooklyn construction workers to treat their minor cuts and scrapes.

By 1870, Chesebrough opened his first factory to produce his gel. And two years later, named his product Vaseline. 

To say that Vaseline became a popular product in the U.S. would be an understatement.

By 1875, Americans were getting it at a rate of a jar per minute.

Today’s petroleum jelly is nearly identical to the Vaseline Chesebrough developed all those years ago.

I mean, why mess with a good thing?

Most homes probably have a jar sitting around.

But if you don’t, I recommend you pick one up.

You never know when it might come in handy… whether you have a ring stuck on your finger, or a burn like mine.

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Deanne - February 19, 2021

I am a nurse , you should always cool a burn first -to stop the burning process . Before you use Vaseline or any kind of ointment . Your article makes it sound like you put it on right away – I did note that you put your finger under water but you do have to do it long enough to stop any burn process because if you put Vaseline on too soon – the Vaseline can keep the heat in and extend the burn . Always cool -running it under cool water will work . Make sure the burning process is stopped

Gary Grasser - February 19, 2021

Hey Jeff, The history lesson on Vaseline was cool, thanks. I will add one more use for it if it’s ok. I love my black powder pistols and use Vaseline to plug the chambers to prevent misfires or multi-ignition. It works great!

Mary Bennett-Ceja - February 19, 2021

Thanks Jeff for the info on p. jelly. Some of the ideas were new to me. I just wanted to mention that I am in the ending stage of the C-19 virus. I got hit pretty hard with a cough & heavy chest congestion among other things. I just wanted to say that I’m a person that likes to heal naturally so I usually only have baby aspirin in my home except I recalled I still had some old p. jelly. I applied it to my chest day/night & also around my nose (which I had read somewhere that you should never do). I did this for 5 days. It really worked. I had originally been in pretty bad shape. Also, I’m not a smoker so I was surprised I had gotten so ill. Anyway, the p.j. was a life saver for me! Oh, I also gargled with very warm, salty water. Another life saver! Thanks for all your very informative post.

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