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The Lip Balm Business is Lying to Us

Kassidy Barber

Posted on September 2, 2019 17:52

0 user

Chapstick isn't so innocent when you look at your own life-long experiment and dig deeper into the facts.

Chances are, you or someone you know is an obsessive user of ChapStick, Carmex, or some other big brand of miracle lip balm.

For literally as long as I can remember, I had been addicted to ChapStick, too. I couldn't go out of the house unless I triple-checked that my tube was in my right front pocket. When I went on vacation, I made sure to pack extras in my bag. If I ever did forget any, I would drop everything until I could find some to tide me over.

Many times in my life I realized this was an addiction (and not just for me). It wasn't until very recently where I had a string of horrid lip issues -- dry, cracked lips and angular cheilitis-like symptoms that began plaguing me daily -- that I decided to finally do some real research into the matter.

There are several ingredients in some of the most popular and widely-used lip balms that really just aren't good for your lips. Here are a few of them, explanations of why they're bad, and what popular balms include them.

Isopropyl Myristate: This is a "moisturizer" that leads to dry skin and skin fissures; it has been officially classified as a human skin irritant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Included in: ChapStick, ChapIce, Maybeline Baby Lips

Mineral Oil: In short, these are hydrocarbons sourced from petroleum; some evidence suggest a link between mineral oil and cancer, and it may be toxic to your organs and immune system. Included in: ChapStick, ChapIce, Carmex

Parabens: Anything that ends with paraben (including methylparaben and propylparaben) disrupts hormone function and contains a link to increased chances of breast cancer. Included in: ChapStick, ChapIce

Camphor and Menthol: These are the ingredients that will leave a cool, tingly feeling on your lips. This sensation can make you (wrongly) believe you've successfully moisturized by covering up the issue for a short amount of time. Included in: (some) ChapStick, (some) ChapIce, Carmex, Blistex Lip MedEx

Phenol: A "mildly acidic crystalline solid obtained from coal tar" that is used as an exfoliant in lip balms. While this isn't inherently bad, if you're looking for a product that actually cures chapped lips, it can be very dangerous. Lauren Ploch, an MD from MedGeorgia Dermatology, says that what dry, chapped lips need is repair, not exfoliation, so phenol can cause severe irritation and excessive damage if applied incorrectly to chapped lips. Included in: (some) ChapStick, Blistex Lip MedEx, Carmex

There are more dangerous lip balm ingredients out there, but these are some of the most widely-included to watch out for. Keep in mind, some of these ingredients are included in a much smaller quantity than others, so always check the percentages of these ingredients used in your lip balms as well.

The lip balms I've started using that seem to work SO. MUCH. BETTER. are Eos Organic (stick) and Aquaphor (ointment).

Moral of the story: maybe don't use ChapStick anymore. 

Kassidy Barber

Posted on September 2, 2019 17:52

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