The Dangers of Cheap Chapstick and how to Avoid Them

Written by Harry Kipper

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Lip balm is one of those products that is essential during the winter months or in dry climates. I bet you didn't know that cheap varieties of lip balm can contain harmful toxins which eventually leave your lips in worse shape than they were to begin with! I am an avid consumer of lip balm, which makes the hunt for a natural product that much more important.

Most lip balms on store shelves are full of chemicals like Petroleum and parabens linked to endocrine system disruption.  Even worse are the lip balms with other added chemicals like oxybenzone for added SPF protection. The problem with these Petroleum based balms is that they merely serve as a temporary fix to the dryness you are experiencing. They leave a glossy coating on your lips which gives you the feeling that your lips are moisturized, while in reality your lips are becoming more dried out with each use, further exacerbating the issue. Since these balms are applied to our lips, we are often ingesting these adverse chemicals found within them. The EU and Canada have successfully banned certain ingredients for use in cosmetics including petroleum, numerous parabens, and artificial fragrances. Unfortunately, in the US, the FDA hasn't banned any of these chemicals, and the adverse health effects resulting from contact with these suspect chapstick ingredients on a daily basis is still unknown. So the question becomes how can we avoid them?

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The best way to avoid these harsh chemicals is to check the ingredient list first! If you notice any Petroleum or other chemicals such as Octinoxate, Propylparaben, artificial flavoring, Methylparaben, Padimate O (Ethylhexyl Dimethyl PABA), or white Petrolatum you should rule that brand out of your selection. The most important component of a good lip balm is its ability to provide real moisture to heal your lips. These cheap brands act almost as a temporary band aid rather than an effective treatment for your dry lips. Look for a natural lip balm that not only doesn’t use added chemicals but has actual healing properties. So which ingredients are best, and which are not?

Specifically, look for ingredients such as organic shea butter and pure essential oils for scent. These essential oils are all natural and much healthier for your skin than other artificial flavorings. The healing properties of these natural balms will ensure that your lips are being restored rather than simply hiding the problem. The shea/cocoa butter provides a great deal of hydration that not only soothes your lips, but restores them to their natural state. The beeswax is used as a way to lock in this moisture provided by these natural ingredients. Macadamia oil, Sweet Almond oil, and Jojoba oil condition and reinvigorate the lips, as well as providing Vitamin A, D, and E - essential for smooth lips. On the other hand, it’s important to know which ingredients in particular are going to negatively affect your lips.

As mentioned before, petroleum products used in balms do not allow your lips to breathe, effectively chapping them further. Lanolin - an oil derived from sheep’s wool that can be toxic to some people when ingested is often used in commercial balms. The last ingredient that you should always be weary of is the use of Phenol. This ingredient is a good preservative, but it’s known to cause skin irritation, so opt for natural preservatives, like vitamin E, instead. Now that it is known which ingredients are good and which are bad, which brands should you trust?

We recommend any brands that are made with all natural ingredients, and whenever possible choose organic. This includes everything from the wax to the flavoring that is used in production. Brands that have these qualities include: Ora’s Amazing Herbal Lip Balm, Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm, Beauty By Earth Beeswax Lip Balm, Beessential All Natural Beeswax Lip Balm, and Badger Lip Balm with zinc oxide for natural SPF protection. Next time you are seeking a remedy for dry and chapped lips, keep this information in mind.


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