Comparison of Hydrocarbons

I'm comparing three hydrocarbon substances, and can't find the basis for some of the scientific (and aesthetic) differences.

1) Mineral Oil

2) Petrolatum (a.k.a., petroleum jelly)

3) Squalane

First Inquiry - if mineral oil and petrolatum or both 100% saturated hydrocarbons (pure alkanes, no alkenes), and assuming they are USP grade (99%+ purity), then why is mineral oil a LIQUID and petrolatum is a SOLID (below approximately 99 degrees Fahrenheit)?  I believe those two are "paraffinic" meaning straight or branched (noncyclic) alkanes.  I don't know what an example of an "naphthenic" (cycloalkane) would be, and how that compares.

Second Inquiry - if squalane (not squalene), is just longer chain hydrocarbons at around the same length as the petroleum based hydrocarbons mentioned above, then what is the fundamental difference?  Why is squalane considered superior in the cosmetic industry?  I suppose I should qualify that by saying it seems to be the "ECO" conscious and "greenwashing" people; but I really do want to know if there is a fundamental, reasonable difference that would make it more "desirable" as a cosmetic ingredient.

Some of the more advanced cosmetic chemists would probably know the answers to those questions.


  • Mineral oil is a compound and petroleum jelly is a mixture.
    yes squalene/ane is considered a natural substance in cosmetics. Its all about  'Where it comes from' not how chemically similar they are. Squalene/ane comes from sources like olives and wheatgerm.
    Happy Studies....
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • Squalane is chemically more stable than squalene

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