more mineral-oil madness!

I’m toying with bringing in a new policy: if/when anything silly happens over on the MUA Skin Care Board (and, from time to time, the Green one), I’ll file it for reference, and collect any more that turn up, but won’t necessarily publish straight away. Well, I have been so far; but I’m hoping that once schools, colleges, and universities start their new terms, a lot of the Midsummer Madness will trickle then dry up.


That is, I’m assuming a lot of our more, errm, intellectually creative MUAers are teenagers, students, or stay-at-home mothers.

I’d imagine that being tied to the kitchen sink and spending one’s life wiping infantile posteriors is a reason for being ill-informed and not having the time or energy to inform oneself. Some of these ladies would have become somewhat liberated over the summer–kids at summer camp, kids running wild out of the house–and are enjoying a welcome chance to let their hair down and vent their spleen. Releasing all the built-up tensions, not in the causally relevant direction–because in most places it’s taboo to murder one’s family, employer, colleagues, neighbours, and everyone who’s ever annoyed you–but translated, sublimated, into the sorts of behaviour we’ve seen recently on MUA (and the para-MUA that is the BB board).

So: assuming that’s going to happen, expect a shift to weekly round-up Greatest Hit Parades. Mainly because I find writing posts about things like chocolate packaging or deodorant much more important, exciting, relevant and useful for everyday life; and way more fun to write. Don’t get me wrong: writing in a state of being impassioned is great, the words flow fast and free. Which is where–even if I cannot agree with what they are expressing— I understand and empathize with how and why certain over-enthusiastic MUAers are writing what they’re writing.

But still, the teeth are gritted, ears eventually ache a bit from all that steam puffing out, and who knows what it does to one’s blood pressure and general health. Though, as all good doctors from Rabelais onwards have said: “better out than in.”

PFFF… (raspberry optional, may be substituted for current olive)

Treat this as one form of recording some of the more exuberant MUA activities–a counterpoint to all the useful informative stuff going on there; an archive of comment and commentary, criticism and meta-criticism.


The mineral oil bandwagon continues to roll. Identities in all that follows have been disguised.

We start with a question and some perfectly sensible normal chat:

R2D2 8/13/2011 12:43PM
Does anyone manually exfoliate with a washcloth while using a retinoid. The reason I’m asking is that I have tried to use a washcloth once a week to remove minimal flakies from using a retinoid. My skin feels great afterwards, but the next day I have that orange peel texture. I’m assuming that the thinned skin from a retinoid does not like any additional manual exfoliation. Any comments/suggestions would be welcomed! I currently cleanse with mineral oil and PC skin balancing cleanser.

Cassandra 8/13/2011 12:48PM
I do with no problems. I kinda have to to remove flakies.

Amanda 8/13/2011 12:55PM
My skin is too sensitive and it gets irritated if I use a washcloth.

All well and good so far. But then this happens–edited to highlighted errors of fact:

Lamia 8/13/2011 1:34PM
Mineral oil ++
Used in many personal-care products (baby oil is 100% mineral oil), this ingredient actually coats the skin just like a plastic wrap, disrupting the skin’s natural immune barrier and inhibiting its ability to breathe and absorb the Natural Moisture Factor (moisture and nutrition). As the body’s largest organ of elimination, it is vital that the skin be free to release toxins. But the mineral oil impedes this process, allowing toxins to accumulate, which can promote acne and other disorders. It also slows down skin function and normal cell development, resulting in premature aging of the skin.


Gabriella 8/13/2011 1:54PM
Do you have a link to a study that shows this? Would like to read more.

Lamia 8/13/2011 2:59PM
There’s studies either way. But basically mineral oil creates a film preventing cell turnover. I talked to a dermatologist and he said that unless you have intensely lipid deficient skin you shouldn’t use it.

Hortensia  8/13/2011 4:04PM
That’s cool. That’s anecdotal, and professional opinions are the weakest level of evidence.

Note the MO-basher missing the point about Hortensia’s answer.


Bathsheba 8/13/2011 2:07PM
This is just propaganda perpetuated by so-called “natural” co’s with an agenda to sell their wares.

Lamia 8/13/2011 2:44PM
It’s not, mineral oil is the cheapest oil available and a by product of’s waste oil.

Note: comparative uses of “is.” Being unclear–to be fair, in both cases–does not help disambiguation but the opposite, leading to crossed wires. At this point, Bathsheba should have used a preamble along the lines of “it is a fact that / as a matter of fact / this is not factually correct / this is not factually true.” The statement would have worked even better backed up by evidence.

Lamia commits a poor step in argument by countering an “it is” with an “it’s not”: the kind of infantilism that cannot ever be resolved, but can potentially bounce back and forth for ever. Until someone runs away. Or someone changes the rules, or ups the ante, ex. by punching the other in the face. I’m trying to think of a good MUA equivalent to the traditional pantomime exchange and its different resolution:

1st: Oh yes it is.
2nd: Oh no it isn’t.
1st: Oh yes, it IS!
2nd: Oh no: it ISN’T!!
[continue in similar fashion for a while…]
AUDIENCE: It’s behind you!!!

appeal to better standard of information–but spot the fatal flaw:

Tricia McMillan 8/13/2011 2:40PM
I still really like this guy’s write-up that someone posted:

Melissa Scott 8/13/2011 4:23PM
Thanks for posting this.

That’s right: failure to emphasize that this isn’t a matter of “liking” and “thanks” (a sort of liking): it’s A MATTER OF FACT, TRUTH, AND RIGHT AND WRONG. Both posters’ MUA-names suggest an interest in sci-fi, astronomy, astrophysics, feminism, and wit. I’m keeping an eye out for them–not in a stalkerish way, but these, and what they say above, all point to being Jolly Good Eggs.

by which I mean “idiotic behaviour” i.e. “acting, speaking, and generally behaving like an idiot.” Obviously, as I have never met this person, I have no idea whether they actually are an idiot or not. That’s way beyond my scope.

Quick off the draw–maybe too fast?–but at least I didn’t flag immediately, cos no matter what state or mood I’m in it’s, you know, a responsibility that should be treated seriously, with consideration and deliberation. Phew. And this is why I never post on discussion boards or blog when drunk. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, t-shirt disintegrated in the wash years ago.

gingerrama 8/13/2011 2:54PM
troll alert? given how often this topic’s come up & been discussed to death?

Lamia 8/13/2011 3:00PM
rabid veteran alert? I’ve only been on here for the last few weeks

gingerrama8/13/2011 3:04PM
“Member since 12/6/2009 9:01:26 AM” according to your profile?

Lamia 8/13/2011 3:07PM
Actively*. Just rediscovered it. rabid is right.

gingerrama8/13/2011 4:43PM
rabid is always right, it’s what makes her rabid & foam at the mouth; doesn’t bite much though

gingerrama8/13/2011 5:01PM
update (re “troll alert?” comment): I take back the t-word; The MO Epic *would* be unknown to s/o off-board for months

gingerrama8/13/2011 5:02PM
“actively” indeed–I understand–fair enough: I apologize, too quick off the gun. Sorry, L.

I’m cool with it–quite used, by now, to “opinion” being confused with “truth” (which, as we’ve seen before, some folks think can be voted on). And used to the confusion of “any old opinion” with  “expert advice.” No, not all views are equal. In both cases, “democracy, justice, fairness” ≠ mob rule. That’s idiocracy.

But back to our story.


From gingerrama
To Lamia
Subject sorry
8/13/2011 5:18:21 PM
I’m sorry–I was too quick to judge. Please accept my apology; I’ve also apologised publicly on the board.

Here’s why I jumped: this isn’t meant to exculpate me, as being hasty is still a wrong thing; just meant to explain why I was jumpy:

1. There’s been a lot of trolling recently; some of which is aimed at goading people into the kind of behaviour that gets them flagged and, eventually, risks getting them banned.

One tactic that’s now becoming classic is someone planting a comment or question that looks superficially innocent, and innocent of recent debates–then walking away to watch the fight from a safe distance.

Another is to pick fights then gang up, perverting the whole “2nd” “ITA” supportive response-system into, well, bullying.

2. Some people have left–been pushed, committed MUA-suicide, or gone to earth. When their notepads and reviews disappear, that’s a massive loss of knowledge to MUA as a whole. So all of MUA suffers for it.

3. Much of the trolling, bullying, and entrapment has centred on the topics of mineral oil and Crème de la Mer. These items alone are a red flag to a bull… I left the comment hoping it would help some of the, errm, “bulls” to think before charging in…

So I’m passing that on to you–do watch out too, yourself! It’s sad that we’re all having to tread carefully. So as to avoid unnecessary fights and unnecessary stress and unhappiness from them. And as one of the only ways the moderators have for dealing with MO-fights (and incitements to fight) is to take a hard line on anyone going off-topic. Which is also why I’m sending you this by personal message, rather than by continuing the discussion on the board.

On mineral oil itself: Basically, roughly speaking, I’m partly with you and partly not.
Here’s the recent board stuff

On the SCB: here

I’d bookmarked a bunch of it, on favourites on my profile (partly also cos recycled a bunch of what I’d written for blogging purposes): here.

I do hope that’s helpful and helps to clear things up and clear the air–I really didn’t mean to be smug or come across as some kind of authoritative / queen bee type. I’m also sorry if I did; it’s not what I’m about at all, quite the opposite. A geek, a nerd, yes. Unashamedly. And caring about stuff and people.

All the best, and welcome back to the board!



–and, back on the board–back to the topic at hand with

Leia 8/13/2011 2:37PM
Alternative might be dissolving enzyme exfoliant like Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Ruby 8/13/2011 2:57PM
2nd.. I personally can’t live without microfolliant (oily, acne-prone skin)


Griselda 8/13/2011 3:11PM
I use RAM and exfoliate every few days with a microfiber cloth (I bought the kind for car windows). I find when using a true washcloth I have to scrub a lot harder to get the flakes off which gives my skin the texture you mentioned a day or two later. With the microfiber cloth I VERY gently massage my face with it and that gets all the flakes off, and I don’t end up scaly a few days later. There are really good reviews on microfiber cloths on Productville–that’s how I got the idea.

R2D2 8/13/2011 3:37PM
Thanks for the info..I probably will try the microfiber cloth!


Selena 8/13/2011 3:13PM
I use a retinoid and can’t manually exfoliate at all. I don’t need to though so it’s fine.

Aaand… “Angelica,” one of The Usual Suspects, weighs in, in her infinite wisdom and compassion. You’ve met her on here before: her MUA name is


Calling a spade a spade, naming names, and naming and shaming when it comes to trolls, I’m afraid.

Again, playing that “wanna be in my gang?” card. But doing so in a manner that can best be described as regal. Oh, and patronizing. Remember what I said earlier, in “at it again“? Another case in point. She’s smart, though, I’ll give her that: see how she learns and uses the right sort of language and tone? Including adopting a “blessed be the peace-makers” stance–see how she turns “this board” to include an implication of “my board,” via the rapid pronoun shift, with a “you” in the middle to include? Nice. These manœuvres are a total conniving nasty piece of work, but I do admire the modus operandi.

Note: this will be one of the lessons of the day: it is vitally important to learn to distinguish, in discussion with another person, between the person and what they say. So that you can attack a view in a purely argumentative, reasoning way; without attacking the person. 

See more on the topic, in neat tidy video-form, back in “why arguing ‘properly’ matters.

Angelica 8/13/2011 11:47PM
Thanks for sharing Lamia. All opinions and experiences are welcome on this board and you shouldn’t be afraid to speak your mind as long as you aren’t being rude or hassling anyone for disagreeing with you. :

I can only speak from personal experience, but my moisturizer contains mineral oil and I’ve been using it for 4 years now. It’s quite hydrating and my skin loves it. I also try tried cleansing with baby oil a couple weeks ago and while it didn’t agree with my skin, again, it left my skin feeling quite soft. I genuinely hope that you are wrong…but only because I love my moisturizer and it works so well for me! 🙂

gingerrama 8/14/2011 12:31AM
2nd! never be afraid (still flagellating self for earlier)

grumpy bit about people not replying to personal messages [Edited: see NEWSFLASH UPDATE for why. I did receive an acknowledgement–and rather more than a one-word one. Yes, I was still grumpy. But Lamia did reply, sweetly too. Back to the story…]


I’ve been doing a lot of shrugging lately:

From Juno
To gingerrama
Subject someone care to tell this girl she is dead wrong?
8/14/2011 12:29:05 PM
re. Lamia 8/13/2011 1:34PM on mineral oil

From gingerrama
To Juno
8/14/2011 3:25:54 PM
[…] indeed, wrong. Misinformed, […] ignorant, […] believe anything.

I’m afraid all one can do is shrug and otherwise ignore.

If [there’s] another rabid knee-jerk (stress jerk) reaction when MO is mentioned, I’ll simply add [a] link to the posts I favourited on MO, accompanied by the comment


and, if more happens, link to science 101 articles with more shrugging.

But no more comment than that.

[…] small and simple mind, […] not competent to separate “fact” from “view/opinion” […] can’t distinguish amongst any of the following: journal article, reputable newspaper article, The Daily Mail/National Enquirer, newspaper op-ed column, informative website or wiki or blog, assorted other blog posts from the sublime to the ridiculous… and treats them all as “published article.”

There are limits to discourse; and one of them is trying to have a rational conversation with an irrational person. Like religious evangelists and others on missions. It’s impossible; well, if they’re intelligent, one can get slightly further–but then there’s an optimism that if you’re willing to talk to them, then you must be open to conversion.

I’m afraid I’ve met variations on this kind of thing a lot […]. The best I can do is try to gauge the best time at which to say, firmly but gently, “this isn’t going anywhere, and we’re just going to have to agree to disagree,” smile, and walk away. Then bitch my little heart out…


And, indeed. hope that helps someone else out there… this is one reason why blogging is goooood. Still: bitching, in any medium, is great. The talking cure and all that.

TROLLWATCH NOTE: the usual one


UPDATE: and we all get to live happily ever after, in the post after next!

Image at top: Shirtoid

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