Vaseline /ˈvæsəln/[1][2][note 1] is an American brand of petroleum jelly-based products owned by British-Dutch company Unilever. Products include plain petroleum jelly and a selection of skin creams, soaps, lotions, cleansers, and deodorants.

Vaseline Logo.svg
Product typePetroleum jelly body lotion
CountryUnited States
Introduced1872; 148 years ago (1872)
TaglineThe Healing Power of Vaseline

In many languages, the word "Vaseline" is used as generic for petroleum jelly; in Portugal the Unilever products are called Vaselina, and in Brazil and some Spanish-speaking countries, the Unilever products are called Vasenol.

Vaseline in container. Produced in USSR.


An image from Vaseline company archives

In 1859, Robert Chesebrough went to the oil fields in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and learned of a residue called "rod wax" that had to be periodically removed from oil rig pumps. The oil workers had been using the substance to heal cuts and burns. Chesebrough took samples of the rod wax back to Brooklyn, extracted the usable petroleum jelly, and began manufacturing a medicinal product he called Vaseline.[3]

The first known reference to the name Vaseline was by Chesebrough in his U.S. patent (U.S. Patent 127,568) in 1872. "I, Robert Chesebrough, have invented a new and useful product from petroleum which I have named Vaseline..."

The name "vaseline" is said by the manufacturer to be derived from German Wasser "water" + Greek έλαιον (elaion) "olive oil".[4]

Vaseline was made by the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company until the company was purchased by Unilever in 1987.


Vaseline in its container

While Vaseline can be used as a lubricant, it can also be used as a moisture insulator for local skin conditions characterized by tissue dehydration.

Vaseline has been reported to be highly refined, triple-purified and regarded as non-carcinogenic.[5]


White petrolatum, the ingredient in petroleum jelly Vaseline, is refined from petroleum.



  1. ^ Also pronounced with the main stress on the last syllable /ˌvæsəˈln/.


  1. ^ "Definition of Vaseline". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Define Vaseline". Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  3. ^ The History of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly began in the Pennsylvania Oil Fields!, Drake Well Museum pamphlet, copyright 1996 by Holigan Group Ltd, Dallas, Texas
  4. ^ Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
  5. ^ Adams, Rebecca (21 October 2013). "Petroleum Jelly May Not Be As Harmless As You Think". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 March 2018.

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