Currently, the worldwide market for petrolatum, also known as petroleum jelly, is estimated to grow at a steady rate over the next few years to $339.2m by the year 2015, according to market researchers Global Industry Analysts.
The product was originally marketed for cosmetics purposes as a topical ointment used for both its protective and medicinal qualities, but has since been developed for a wide number of personal care and other applications.
Petrolatum globally used in personal care products
In the US petrolatum is approved by the FDA as an OTC (over-the-counter) skin protectant and it has a similar status in other international markets, which makes it available for use in personal care products worldwide
Global Industry Analysts’ report on the worldwide petrolatum market underlines that Europe is currently the biggest market for petrolatum, but this status is likely to be soon overtaken by the Asia-Pacific region, due to significant market growth in this area.
Currently petrolatum is most commonly used as an ingredient in skin care lotions, but is generally not used in premium products because of its greasy feel. However, a shift towards mass market products during the economic crisis has helped to drive further demand.
It is also used as a key ingredient in lip balms, hair styling waxes and pomades, as well as products marketed for the treatment of minor ailments such as chapped hands, nappy rash and chest coughs.
Market growth triggers
The researchers point out that continued market growth is likely to be triggered by an aging population in developed markets, combined with increasing affluence, growing use of UV filters, increasing popularity of private label products and the fact that the OTC market is continuing to open up.
However, the researchers also point out that growing awareness of the environmental threat petrol-based products pose could also hinder future growth for petrolatum.
The market report asserts that this environmental awareness is completely eliminating the use of petrolatum wax in some markets, while the growth of greener natural and organic personal care products also poses a big threat.