Mineral oil is a transparent, colorless oil composed mainly of alkanes (typically 15 to 40 carbons) and cyclic paraffins, and is related to petroleum jelly (also known as “white petrolatum”). It has a density of around 0.8 g/cm3.
Mineral oil with added fragrance is marketed as “baby oil” in the US, UK and Canada.
In personal care products, mineral oil is a common ingredient in baby lotions, cold creams, ointments and cosmetics. It is a lightweight oil that is odorless and tasteless. It can be used on eyelashes to prevent brittleness and breaking and, in cold cream, it is also used to remove make-up and temporary tattoos. Highly refined mineral oil is noncomedogenic (does not cause acne).
Since it does not absorb atmospheric moisture, mineral oil is useful in industry as a protective coating or bath for water-sensitive materials. Mineral oil is also often used as a coating on metal tools and weapons, knives in particular, as a way to inhibit oxidation.
It is occasionally used in the food industry, particularly for candy. In this application, it is typically used for the glossy effect it produces, and to prevent the candy pieces from adhering to each other.