pet·​ro·​la·​tum | \ ˌpe-trə-ˈlā-təm How to pronounce petrolatum (audio) , -ˈlä- How to pronounce petrolatum (audio) \

Definition of petrolatum

Examples of petrolatum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

OCCLUSIVES Thick moisturizing ingredients, such as petrolatum, that slow the evaporation of water from the skin's surface. Allure, "The Skin-Care Glossary: A Comprehensive Guide to Everything You Need to Know," 17 Aug. 2018 According to Zeichner, petrolatum and petroleum jelly can interfere with the proper functioning of the skin, alter the vagina’s natural pH, and contribute to bacterial overgrowth. Sofia Barrett-ibarria, Allure, "Your Guide to Body-Safe Lubes and What They're Made Of," 21 Sep. 2018 My treatment of choice for sunburn (including blistering ones) is cold white petrolatum jelly. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Texas mom's viral sunburn hack works, but it's not 'magical cure,' dermatologists warn," 3 July 2018 Those with acne-prone skin should be especially careful not to use ingredients that might cause breakouts like alcohol, heavy oils, or petrolatum. Jenn Sinrich, SELF, "9 Mistakes You’re Making When You Moisturize Your Face," 14 Feb. 2018 Look for humectants that draw moisture to the top layer of your skin, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea, lanolin, dimethicone, and petrolatum, says Dr. Levin. Katie Becker, Cosmopolitan, "8 Things Women With Super-Soft Skin Always Do," 26 May 2017 Then, apply an ointment or cream that contains softening oils (like olive or jojoba), vitamin E, lactic acid, urea, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil, or petrolatum, advises the AAD. Amy Capetta, Woman's Day, "How to Solve Irritation from Head to Toe," 12 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'petrolatum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of petrolatum

1881, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for petrolatum

New Latin, from Medieval Latin petroleum

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about petrolatum

Share petrolatum

Dictionary Entries near petrolatum





petrol bomb



Statistics for petrolatum

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for petrolatum

The first known use of petrolatum was in 1881

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for petrolatum


pet·​ro·​la·​tum | \ ˌpe-trə-ˈlāt-əm How to pronounce petrolatum (audio) , -ˈlät- How to pronounce petrolatum (audio) \

Medical Definition of petrolatum

: a neutral unctuous substance that is practically odorless and tasteless and is insoluble in water, that is obtained from petroleum and differs chemically from paraffin wax in containing unsaturated hydrocarbons or naphthenes as well as alkanes, and that is produced in several forms: as
a : a yellowish to light amber semisolid mass used chiefly as a base for ointments and cosmetics, as a protective dressing, and in lubricating greases

called also petroleum jelly, yellow petrolatum

b : a white or faintly yellowish mass obtained by decolorizing yellow petrolatum and used similarly to it

called also petroleum jelly, white petrolatum, white petroleum jelly

More from Merriam-Webster on petrolatum Encyclopedia article about petrolatum

Comments on petrolatum

What made you want to look up petrolatum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!