What to watch for when buying lip balm
* Perfumes & fragrances: Top allergens in cosmetics. Fragrances are "trade secrets" so companies don´t have to list the what goes into them. Things like Phthalates. More on fragrances.
* Sweeteners (flavours): these are actually scents (see above), not flavours. Often harmless (like Stevia), they might cause you to lick your lips, a lot. And that will make them dryer.
* Menthol, camphor, peppermint and phenol: faker ingredients that make your lips feel cool, while simultaneously drying them. Menthol is an alcohol, and apparently it canpenetrate the skin & carry other chemicals with it. Phenol is a harsh disinfectant and should not be used often. Camphor and peppermint are gentler, but still drying.
* Silicones: Again, faker ingredients. They make the lips smooth, and they also lock out moisture.
* Salicylic acid: I have no idea what this is doing in lip balms. It´s basically a chemical acid peel, certainly not something that helps dry chapped lips.
* Red D & C coal tar dyes: these cause blackheads around the lips
* Parabens: major hormone disruptors.
* Coconut oil: sorry, but this sucker clogs pores and can be drying.
* Mineral oil & Petroleum: Cheap by-products of petroleum. They are neither good for you or the planet. They inhibit the skin´s own oil production and they clog pores.
Look instead for plant oils, beeswax or lanolin.
So, what to use ?
Not petroleum jelly, please (see above). If nipple balm is too basic for you, or a quick search for non toxic lip balms. There´s lots to choose from !
Or try making a DIY lip balm, more recipes here. Recipes are based on beeswax, oils or cocoa butter. Feel free to skip the essential oils or flavours if you feel it will make you lick your lips.
Skin Deep: Hazard rating of hundreds of lip balms. Carmex rated pretty badly.
Also read Confessions of a former Carmex Junkie
Photo by KamaSitra