Chapped lips happen to the best of us, especially when we approach a change in the weather or when your lips become dried out. The precise reason your lips become chapped can vary; however, wind, sun, cold air, medication, or just plain lip smacking can all be the cause. When chapped lips hit, most of us reach for a trusted product… lip balm.
Whether we use Blistex, Burt’s Bees, Chapstick, or a tube of Nivea, we are all looking for the same form of relief. Did you know that many of the lip balm manufacturers use ingredients that are not eco-friendly and may even be harmful to you? If not, consider this, most manufacturers instruct you to not apply their product on cracked lips. Why do you think this is?
Look At One of the Most Popular Lip Balms (Blistex).
Blistex manufactures an assortment of lip balms. Many of those products include artificial flavoring, so for comparison, we’ll stick with their basic medicated product. Each tube contains over 20 ingredients. Just a few of these ingredients are:
- Phenol: While considered toxic, phenol is used in a wide range of application that also includes disinfectants, mouthwashes, and throat lozenges according to the CDC.
- Saccharin: Artificial sweetener.
- Parabens: A preservative that receives a tremendous amount of negative press. While many sources will claim parabens act as a carcinogen, there are an equal number of peer reviewed studies expressing that the chemicals did not have an effect.
- Fragrance: The description is protected by law, but contains potential phthalates.
- Oxybenzone: A natural sunscreen found in many plants. Many sources claim this chemical is a carcinogen; however, the CDC reports there are no known ill health issues tied to the chemical. Additionally, WebMD interviewed Dr. Kate Puttgen, a pediatric physician at John Hopkins Children’s Center. Dr. Puttgen is one of several physicians that wholly support the use of products including Oxybenzone along with many of her peers. You will need to determine for yourself what your comfort is.
- Mineral oil, Parrafin, and Petrolatum: Petroleum products designed to seal moisture in the skin.
Moisturizing ingredients such as beeswax and lanolin are included in most of the Blistex products to help moisturize while the skin heals.
Using Blistex products bring relief because it includes ingredients that deal with the discomfort while disinfecting and killing anything that may be on the surface of your skin. At the same time, this lip balm is providing a protective layer to seal moisture in the skin and prevent any additional loss.
Review of a Proclaimed Eco-Friendly Lip Balm (Burt’s Bees).
You can see right away that there is a difference in the ingredients used:
- Beeswax: natural wax used in place of petroleum products.
- Coconut Oil: Provides emollient properties to the skin.
- Sunflower Seed Oil: Aids in retaining moisture in skin.
- Peppermint Oil: Provides anti-inflammation and eases respiratory problems.
- Lanolin: A natural skin moisturizer.
- Tocopherol: Vitamin E extract – acts as a natural preservative.
- Rosemary Leaf Extract: Provides antimicrobial properties.
- Soybean Oil: A natural moisturizer that includes amino acids, protein, vitamins.
- Canola Oil: made from crushed rapeseeds (a form of mustard plant). The biggest concern with this product is that over 90% of canola oil is produced from GMOs created in the last 20-years, so the long-term effects are unknown.
- Limonene: Natural product in the rind of citrus and used for fragrance and flavoring.
As you can see, the ingredients in this lip balm are more likely to come from a kitchen than a chemist’s lab.,
Our Choice for Eco-Friendly Lip Balm (Big Dipper Wax Works).
Our favorite lip balm comes from a company in Seattle called Big Dipper Wax Works. Their product is made with beeswax, moisturizing Cocoa Butter, vitamin E, along with natural oils from coconut and apricot. They include several products with flavors made from essential oils (if you really have to have the flavoring).They don’t pay us to tell people about them; we do it because we are big fans of their natural beeswax products!
Best Way to Avoid Chapped Lips?
- Use beeswax based products versus petroleum.
- Get plenty of Vitamin A – this will help keep skin cells fresh.
- Increase your water intake.
- Vitamin B-3: Helps lips stay moist.
- Vitamin B-12: Helps heal chapped lips.
- Zinc: Aids your immune system.
- Use a humidifier.
- Use antibiotic ointment instead of lip balm if lips are already chapped or skin is damaged.
- Avoid flavored lip balm – they cause you to lick your lips more frequently and actually exacerbate the problem.
Lip Balm Conclusions.
Study after study demonstrates that normal usage of these products is not likely to cause cancer, so stories selling that headline tend to pray on fears. Here’s a dose of reality; however. Your body is taking in these toxins through not only the use of products like Blistex and the 150 competitors; but the ingredients are also included in everyday cosmetics, lotions, body washes, and shampoos. Exposure from lip balm alone is not going to give you cancer; however, your risks may increase as you compound your exposure to all the other personal care products you use.
Avoid any product that includes artificial flavors or colors. Your body just doesn’t need them and many lip balms like to offer that luxurious cherry flavor to keep you using their product.
Petroleum products will provide a best seal to allow the skin to heal. If you are not comfortable with that (and we understand why), then go with a beeswax product like you find in Burt’s Bees or our favorite the natural beeswax product from Big Dipper Wax Works. If you do use a petroleum-based product, be sure to use it for a limited amount of time as they can cause irritation problems with prolonged use.