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When you think of petroleum jelly products, two names instantly spring to mind: Aquaphor and Vaseline. Famed for their best-selling skin protectants (among other products, of course), both brands are more than worthy of occupying some shelf space in your bathroom.

Come with us as we compare the two side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you and your skincare routine. Enjoy!

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Aquaphor vs Vaseline

Beyond the obvious differences between the containers, we're going to have to dive straight into their formulas to start seeing any differences of note.

Comparison

Petrolatum, more commonly referred to as Petroleum Jelly, is a hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, jelly-like ingredient that helps to protect and hydrate skin, fight free radical damage, and reduce wrinkles. It isn't absorbed by the skin, so it sits on top acting as a barrier to keep dirt out and more importantly keep moisture in.

The Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly formula consists of 100% petrolatum and doesn't contain any other ingredients—not even water. Aquaphor's Healing Ointment, on the other hand, only contains around 41% petrolatum, with the remaining 59% being made up of: mineral oil (smooths and softens skin), ceresin (improves texture), lanolin alcohol (helps defend against moisture loss), panthenol (skin protectant with anti-inflammatory properties), glycerin (relieves skin dryness), and bisabolol (soothes).

This distinction in formulas drastically changes what each product can be used for, and what they are best at:

  • Skin protectant: a thin barrier or layer of either product can be applied to damaged skin or to skin which is at risk of damage.
  • Occlusive moisturizer: both products form a film or barrier to prevent water loss - perfect for those with dry/dehydrated skin.
  • Regular moisturizer: because Aquaphor contains humectant ingredients like glycerin, it can also pull moisture in from the environment, rather than just trapping existing moisture like Vaseline.
  • Lip care: both products are good at treating the thin skin of our lips, however, Aquaphor can restore moisture to lips that are already dry, whereas Vaseline can only prevent dry lips.
  • Wound healing: a 2013 study found that wounds treated with Vaseline had a lower incidence of redness when compared to wounds treated with Aquaphor.
  • Tattoos: Aquaphor is recommended for tattoos because of its anti-inflammatory properties; Vaseline blocks air from getting to the tattoo (which is needed for healing).
  • Treat sunburns: neither Aquaphor nor Vaseline should be used to treat sunburns as they actually trap heat.

It's worth noting that the additional benefits granted by Aquaphor's Healing Ointment comes with a price tag which is around double that of Vaseline's per ounce. It's also worth noting that because Aquaphor contains lanolin, you must ensure that you do not have a lanolin allergy before using it.

Summary

All in all, we love them both, but clearly they both have their pros and cons:

Because Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly contains 100% petroleum jelly, it is super cheap and is best suited for lip care, healing wounds, softening cuticles, and as an occlusive to prevent moisture loss (popularly known as slugging).

Since the Aquaphor Healing Ointment contains ingredients other than just petroleum jelly (such as glycerin, panthenol and bisabolol) it boasts humectant properties, making it a better moisturizer than Vaseline. It is also better suited for treating tattoos, and marginally better for lip care. However, you should steer clear if you have a lanolin allergy.

Healing Ointment by Aquaphor, skin protectant ointment with Panthenol and Glycerin.

Healing Ointment by Aquaphor

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Skin protectant ointment with Panthenol and Glycerin.

What makes it special? One essential solution for many skincare needs: Aquaphor Healing Ointment is uniquely formulated to restore smooth, healthy skin. Different from a lotion or cream, this multi-purpose ointment protects and soothes extremely dry skin, chapped lips, cracked hands and feet, minor cuts and burns, and many other skin irritations, so you can get on with your day comfortably.

Which skin types? For dry, cracked skin, chapped lips, cracked cuticles and dry feet and heels.

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Pure Petroleum Jelly by Vaseline, the original skin protectant that's been used to protect and help heal dry skin since 1870.

Pure Petroleum Jelly by Vaseline

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

The original skin protectant that's been used to protect and help heal dry skin since 1870.

What makes it special? The original petroleum jelly from Vaseline is triple-purified, hypoallergenic and dermatologically tested, and is ideal for a multitude of uses, including as a moisturiser for sensitive skin or as a lip balm.

Which skin types? All skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Other Aquaphor Products

For babies:
Try the Baby Healing Ointment


For lips:
Try the Lip Repair


For body:
Try the Body Spray

Other Vaseline Products

For lips:
Try the Lip Therapy


For tinted lips:
Try the Rosy Lips


For body:
Try the Body Lotion

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