Lip balm is a staple in the purses and pockets of many people. After all, there is nothing as irritating as dry, cracked lips that are begging for moisture. What’s in your lip balm, however, can be even more irritating than the dryness itself.
Why use lip balm
Lip balm has many functions. It can:
- Lock in moisture
- Protect from sun damage
- Heal damage and chapping
- Prevent dryness
- Keep your lips kissable
Let’s face it, that last point is all that we’re really looking for in a good lip balm. In order to keep the lips in pucker-perfect condition, there are several chemical additives commonly found in lip balm that should be avoided. Some of these ingredients can actually draw the moisture away from the lips, creating a desert-like dryness that no lip should ever feel. Other ingredients, however, can create problems that are much more concerning.
Stay away from the fearsome five
Many of the lip balms on the market, including the so-called big name balms, contain one or more of these five ingredients that should be avoided whenever possible:
- Paraben (methylparaben, butylparaben). This can interfere with hormonal function in both men and women. It can increase toxicity, causing a risk of breast cancer and lowering male reproductive function.
- Synthetic Colors (Blue 1, Yellow 5 & 6, Green 3, Red 33). Artificially created colors can cause skin irritation and sensitivity. These color pigments come from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts and potential carcinogens.
- BHT. This is a possible carcinogen that can cause problems in the endocrine system. It’s been associated with developmental toxicity.
- Chemical Sunscreen (Oxybenzone, etc.) Chemical sunscreens can get into your bloodstream from the thin skin of your lips and wreak havoc on your hormonal system.
- Petroleum oil. Petroleum must be highly refined using toxic chemicals. Though the chemicals are supposed to be removed at the end of processing, any traces that remain can get into your body.
The bottom line on lips is stick with all natural lip balms like cocoa, peppermint, and tangerine that contain pure and natural ingredients like coconut oil, mint leaf oil, and beeswax to provide everything your lips need to stay protected, hydrated, and super-soft.