Ingredients to Avoid in Lip Balms

There's nothing quite like the feeling of soft, luscious lip balm, especially when on a cold, dry day. But not all lip balms are created equal. While some nourish, heal, hydrate and protect your lips, others can actually dehydrate them. 

The skin of your lips is about 3 to 5 cells thick, making it much thinner and more delicate than that of your face which is approximately 16 cells thick, depending on the area. This means that your lips can absorb materials quicker, but they can also be more susceptible to dehydration and environmental factors such as sun damage.

While lip balms are often advertised as a fun accessory with various flavors and colors, it's important to treat them the same way you would your skin care. Let's dive into which ingredients to avoid: 

1. Avoid lip balms containing menthol, salicylic acid, camphor, phenol, or alcohol.

So fresh, so... irritated? These ingredients are often included in lip balms to provide an immediate cooling feeling, but have a high chance of irritating the sensitive skin of lips.

But there's a more mischievous plan for including these ingredients. Have you ever applied lip balm just to need it a few minutes later?

While it could be that you are very dehydrated - in which case you need to up your water intake - these ingredients are more likely to be the culprit. 

This is because these ingredients dry out your lips even further, making you use the lip balm more. They do this by removing the outer layers of the skin, leaving your lips unprotected, sensitive, and even more vulnerable to environmental hazards. 

2. Avoid lip balms containing artificial fragrances and phthalates, synthetic flavors, and parabens.

When it comes to lip balms, the simpler, the better.

Fragrance and phthalates work hand-in-hand because phthalates are used to make the fragrance stay longer. And they have both been linked to adverse health issues such as reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, and cancer. Specifically, look out for "Fragrance" or "Cinnamates" are one of the most popular culprits which are often used for their sun-blocking properties and smell but have a high occurrence of allergies. 

Preservatives and antimicrobials like Parabens, which can be listed as methylparaben and butylparaben, can have severe health effects. While the link between hormone disruption and parabens has not been solidified due to the small amounts of parabens in skin care, you must consider two things: 

1. How many products are you using with parabens in them, and how often are you using them? While using a lip balm with parabens once every few months is unlikely to have an adverse effect, using it all day every day plus your shampoo, conditioner, and skin care is a much higher amount than what the studies may account for.

2. Do you want to expose yourself to that risk? There are many paraben-free options that are kinder to your skin, eliminating the need to use products with them.

What lip balm ingredients should you use?

Now that you're aware of which lip balm ingredients to avoid, let's discover ingredients that you should look for.

1. Choose your lip balm moisturizer.

You want to make sure that the moisturizing ingredient also seals in the moisture. Petroleum jelly is a popular ingredient to use as it seals in moisture, but it is thick, can get messy and is missing additional benefits that plant-based moisturizers have.

A more stable moisturizing ingredient is cocoa butter or shea butter. Both moisturize the skin deeply while nourishing it and creating a protective seal. All MOOD balms have a 20% / 20% base of cocoa + shea butter.

2. Nourish your lips with Vitamin E.

Healthy lips are plump, kissable lips. Vitamin E is often found in lip balms and is a potent nourisher. In our book, it's a non-negotiable in lip balms.

3. Protect your lips.

Lip balms should protect your lips. Mineral sunblock ingredients such as Zinc Oxide will offer your lips protection from UV damage and blue light damage. Make sure that it is at least SPF 30 like MOOD lip balms
Since lips are constantly exposed to UV and blue light, you should protect them with SPF 30 throughout the day.

Natural antimicrobials such as honey and lavender are also great protective ingredients. This is a good way to lower your chance of infection if you are prone to sores, chapped lips or get lip fillers.

Now that you know which lip balm ingredients to avoid and which to use, check out MOOD's 100% natural lip balms here

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