This blog entry is part of our “What’s Wrong With” series, which profiles a different product each week and gives you the bottom line on its safety. Think of these as cheat sheets for our more comprehensive Shopping Guides (which we publish roughly once a month).
Blistex lip products definitely soothe super chapped, sore lips. Perhaps this explains why Blistex sells $100 million worth of their medicated lip balm every year!
While Blistex offers short-term relief from the pain of chapped lips, it contains ingredients that may carry other health risks. A tube of Blistex contains some 25 ingredients, including a variety of preservatives and dyes. Among the most concerning ingredients are the following, which you will find in various Blistex products:
- Phenol. One of Blistex’s several active ingredients, phenol is considered toxic to the central nervous system and the heart, and linked to coma and seizures.
- Saccharin. I won’t eat food with this artificial sweetener in it, and anything you smear on your mouth has sort of got to be considered food.
- Parabens. Unsurprisingly, these notorious, carcinogenic preservatives make an appearance in some Blistex formulas.
- Fragrance. Probably with phthalates.
- Oxybenzone. That really bad sunscreen ingredient that’s linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, as well as endocrine disruption.
- Mineral oil. A petroleum product.
- Parraffin. Another petroleum product.
- Petrolatum. Yet another petroleum product.
(See our glossary for more on many of these ingredients, including links to studies that back up all these scary claims.)
This chemical cocktail is especially concerning in a product that you smear all over your mouth. I’ve likely eaten several ounces of Blistex in my life, which is really gross.
The good news is that there are many natural lip balms that really do work. I’ve heard from a lot of you about how thrilled (and yes, surprised!) you are that these natural products are actually effective. Gimme the Good Stuff’s selection of lip balms is no exception.
- Sierra Sage makes healing balms in either Cool Mint or Citrus Zest, which come in a standard chapstick-style dispenser.
- Tandi’s Naturals Lip Balms are rich in avocado oil and beeswax, and are available in either Mint & Grapefruit or Herb Garden and come in a neat little tin (extra points for no plastic!).
Of these, I favor Tandi’s Mint & Grapefruit lip balm, which I even put over the entirely toxic lipstick I still wear for a glossy effect. And when my lips are chapped and painful, these natural balms bring complete relief. Right now I’m off to go throw away a tube of Blistex that I think has been sitting in my medicine cabinet for several years.
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