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Lip Balm Ingredients To Avoid

Dry and chapped lips are a pain and your lip balm may not be helping. Check for these ingredients that may be making things worse for your lips.
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Chapped lips drying up your summer fun? Your lip balm could be the reason.

Lip health is important to your overall wellbeing and your lips need sun protection just like the rest of your skin. The balm you reach for may have ingredients that irritate your mouth and cause problems. If you've got a history of lip-discomfort, it's time to look at the labels.

Individual Allergies

Irritation can happen without people understanding what it is or why. Chapped lips are common and can be a symptom of multiple things. Many don't know allergies and skin irritation can exasperate those symptoms. If you've been having trouble calming your lips, it might be time to see a dermatologist. They can determine if it's an allergic reaction, irritation or something worse. 

They'll most likely have you change the products you use on your lips. We've got a list of some ingredients they might ask you to look out for.

Fragrance

When I was little, we used to trade flavored lip balm like currency at school. Hygiene eventually caught up to us but scented and flavored lip balm is still common. Some of these flavors irritate more than others.

Keep an eye out for cinnamon flavors, sometimes listed as cinnamaldehyde on the label, used for taste and sun-blocking properties. It can irritate skin easily and is one of the biggest causes of inflamed and reddened lips.

Another is citronella or citronellol which has a citrus flavor and antibacterial properties. Peppermint oil, while delicious, can be irritating to the skin when used in topical balms. Other oils to look out for include eucalyptus, limonene and camphor. They all smell great and have wonderful essential oil benefits but rank high on the list of oils that may cause skin reactions.

Castor Oil

This oil can be amazing for hair, skin and nails but for some Castor oil should be avoided. It's made from the Ricinus communis plant and is composed of ricinoleic acid. This is one of the top skin irritants and can dry lips quickly, leading to chapping. For those with sensitive skin, or those sensitive specifically to this oil, it can cause a lot of problems like acne and even infection.

Not all lip balms use castor oil. Other oils, like coconut, olive or almond oil, are capable of similar drying effects depending on your sensitivity. They are far less likely to cause a reaction, however, so if you want to switch, try a brand that uses one of these instead.

These popular lip balm ingredients may be causing chapping and dryness instead of healing your lips. Check your labels and shop evitamins for a healthier solution!

Beeswax

Beeswax is a great natural sealant that traps moisture against your lips. The problems start with the propolis that gets mixed in with the wax. Propolis is a sort of plant resin bees use to make their hives. It has its own homeopathic reputation and health benefits but it could be spiking your allergies if used topically.

Around 5% of the general population is allergic to bee stings so there's no surprise there would be sensitivity issues with bee products. While bee venom isn't present in beeswax, you may still be sensitive to it. And even if you're not allergic to bee venom, the wax and the propolis may still trigger a different allergy. Either way, if you've been using Burt's Bees non-stop and haven't defeated the chapped lips, you may want to try a different brand.

Menthol and Phenol

That cooling sensation may feel great on your lips but it could be drying them out too. Menthol and phenol - the ingredients that give you that refreshed feeling in cosmetics - are alcohols. Some people are more sensitive to their drying effects than others. The Beauty Brains explain how menthol may also be a carrier agent for other ingredients to penetrate skin deeper and cause a bigger reaction than you would normally have. 

Dermatologist will probably recommend you steer clear of menthol-containing products, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Sunscreen

We went over how sunscreen works before. You may find yourself more prone to redness or breakouts using one sun-blocking ingredient than another. The same thought can be applied to your lip balm. We recommend finding a balm that uses the same sunscreen ingredient you use on the rest of your body to avoid any uncomfortable burning, itching or irritation. 

Vitamin E

This allergy is rare but it does exist and it's on every list so we'll give you the rundown. Vitamin E can have skin irritation properties when applied topically - like in lip balm - but the percentage of people with this allergy is low. It's added to balms as an antioxidant and anti-aging agent. It may help reduce deep lines lips and repair cracked skin. While it's not a common allergy to have, dermatology often recommend avoiding lip balms with added vitamin E just to be safe. 


Hopefully you've learned a thing or two about what goes into lip balms and how to help yourself keep your lips healthy. Check out our blog on Lip Health for more tips about lip care and if you're looking for a new brand, try shopping the hundred of products we offer. Share what you find with us on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and check back soon for more tips and living a healthy lifestyle!

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