What Is Mineral Oil Used For?

Mineral oil is used for curing constipation and other bowel-related complications, according to Drugs.com. It also finds use as a topical treatment measure for alleviating itchy, dry or rough skin, reports WebMD. Manufacturers use mineral oil in the production of hairsprays, insulators and solvents, notes Encyclopedia Britannica.

Mineral oil as a topical solution is a natural moisturizer, notes WebMD. It is helpful for such irritations as skin burns, diaper rash or burns from radiation therapy. Mineral oil helps dry skin by adding more moisture to the surface. Mineral oil is a natural lubricant when it is ingested, and it works by slowing down water absorption in the bowels, allowing fecal matter to pass through more easily, as explained by Drugs.com. Patients should always measure mineral oil with a special measuring device rather than a kitchen spoon to ensure they get the proper dose. Mineral oil typically takes six to eight hours to produce a bowel movement. It may cause side effects, such as leakage from the anus, especially at high doses.

The substance is useful when applying makeup or as a general personal care product, according to About.com. The oil is a common element in polishes and cleaning products and is sometimes an ingredient in wood treatment chemicals, polish, air fresheners and toilet bowl cleaners. Mineral oil is an ingredient in stainless steel cleaners and in certain pesticides. The oil is employed when making different lubricants for engines and various forms of equipment. It is a natural lubricant for human food, and it is a common ingredient in animal feed.