Nourish lips without the nasties

Get to know the three sneaky chemicals lurking in your lip balm.

In the name of coping with the chilly inclement, we’ve been sidling up to our trusty fan heaters. Unfortunately doing so isn’t doing our pouts, any favours as the skin in the lip area is thinner and lacking in oil and sweat glands to protect it. Worst still, to cope with said parched sensation, you end up licking our lips which only dries them out further. This is where a good lip balm can make all the difference. But before you pucker up, you need to know that not all lip balms are created equal. With many containing unnecessary nasties that shouldn’t come anywhere near your lips, here are the three P’s you need to be privy to:

Commonly found in lip balms, skin care and hair care products, Petrolatum — an oil byproduct that may contain carcinogens (depending on the company’s refining process) — forms a seal against water and air thus preventing moisture loss from lips and skin by essentially suffocating it. And, according to The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a not for profit group in the US that raises awareness about potentially harmful chemical in cosmetics, petrolatum is potentially toxic to our organs. Might be best to give it a miss until they know for sure, especially since there are so many better alternatives.

A group of preservatives that have long been associated with dryness and skin irritation, you probably already know that paraben-free is the way to go. Opt instead for lip balms that use naturally hydrating ingredients like natural beeswax and sweet almond oil. These ingredients work WITH the skin to soothe and hydrate while still allowing your pores the room to breath. We’re partial to the one by Ecostore that also contains moisturising Cetearyl alcohol that’s available in peppermint or fragrance-free. To buy, click here.

Used to kerb bacteria growth in a slew of skincare products, Phenol has been known to cause skin irritation, kidney and liver damage, and even nervous system damage when absorbed through the skin regularly. If you spot it on the ingredients list of your lip balm of choice, or any beauty products for that matter, you’d be wise never to kiss and make up with it.


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