Is your Lip Balm Poisoning you?

Did you know that your lip print is unique, just like your fingerprint? A lipstick mark left on a teacup could identify you if the local police department happened to have your lip print facsimile on record! Apart from this remarkable fact, the skin on your lips is thinner than other places on your body, only three layers compared to sixteen on your face, which is why it is so crucially important the lips are cared for, protected and not covered with noxious substances.

Lips do not contain sweat or sebaceous glands and this means they don’t produce the hydrolipidic film, which hydrates and protects the rest of the skin on the body. Consequently, the lips are more vulnerable to wind, cold, sun, and toxins, and can become dry quickly and easily.

One would hope that, with these facts in mind, beauty brands producing lip balms would avoid using damaging ingredients, which permeate directly into the system. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

Lip Service

Although many lip balm manufacturers make claims of purity and effectiveness, some of the biggest brands on the market including Carmex, Blistex and Chapstick, use petroleum jelly as their main ingredients. Vaseline, a brand that sells one pot every 39 seconds worldwide, is made from 100 per cent pure petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a petro-chemical, a by-product of the oil industry and if that’s not enough to put you off your pout, it also contains toxic crystalline and liquid hydrocarbons. It might feel softening and silky, but Vaseline, in fact, has zero hydrating capacity and rather than protecting lips it suffocates the delicate skin of the lips and seals in bacteria. A break down of other best selling lip balm brands makes for dispiriting reading:

Carmex - contains Phenol which, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic database, is a neurotoxin and a waterborne pollutant.

Blistex - an investigation carried out by The Ecologist found that it contained six chemicals and offered no safety data, including Oleochemicals, which come directly from the biofuels industry via a hydrogenation process that turns what was once a healthy natural oil into a toxin.

And it gets worse. A French consumer group, UFC Que-choisir ( recently issued a warning against ten lip balm products that have been found to contain toxic ingredients in their tests. Almost half of the 21 balms tested contained harmful and potentially carcinogenic substances. Even leading cosmetic brands such as Garnier and La Roche Posay were included. Some of the balms contained an “extremely undesirable” amount of mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons, which can inflame the lymph nodes and liver when ingested.  You can read the full list in this article which was published in The Independent.

Dump your damaging balms

Armed with this knowledge, most of us would boycott these unethical brands in a heartbeat. But there’s a lot of greenwash and downright deception going on, and let’s face it, what profit focused beauty brand is going to come clean about selling products, often at a high price to consumers, knowing they are exposing to them to dangerous substances. It’s worse than criminal, especially when you consider that many of these products are marketed at children.

But the switch to poison free products couldn’t be easier. A Google search will yield a handful of conscious, genuinely green lip balms that are plant based and free from toxins and don’t damage the environment including our own sustainably made and botanical A.S.APOTHECARY lip balms.

My own experience of the damaging effects of lip balm means I will never buy another big brand product again. I used to be addicted to lip balm. For years I would apply it compulsively throughout the day simply because without it my lips would quickly become parched and cracked. I assumed it was a dietary or genetic issue, or that maybe I wasn’t drinking enough water.

When I started working at A.S.APOTHECARY, instead of buying my usual Vaseline or Nivea lip balms I began using the lovely little pots of A.S.APOTHECARY Lip Balm. Within a few months my dependence on lip balm disappeared – my lips didn’t crumble away or bleed, or spread like a clown mouth over my face if I didn’t use balm, they became healed and hydrated.

A.S.APOTHECARY lip balms do not contain any toxic ingredients. They are made purely from plants and unrefined Shea butter which moisturises, promotes healing and prevents drying. Another important ingredient is Sussex beeswax, which softens and holds moisture on the lips. Local organic honey is used for its anti-bacterial properties. Unrefined avocado oil promotes elasticity and regenerates, while olive oil and almond oil are both non-greasy, effective moisturisers. Each of the three lip balms in the range target different needs and contain different essential oils and ingredients:

Lip Balm #9 repairs with Myrrh essential oil and also boasts locally grown Rose Geranium, apart from smelling delicious it is full of anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti bacterial properties.

Cocoa & Orange Lip Balm #6 is soothing and anti-inflammatory, it contains locally picked and roasted coffee beans and Cypriot orange for a fresh scent and softening, healing properties.  

Lavender & Vanilla Lip Balm #7 calms and protects with essential oil from locally grown Sussex Lavender and Madagascan vanilla for its delicious scent and silky texture.

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 So, do yourself and the environment a favour and opt for an effective lip balm that isn’t damaging you or the planet.