Cold weather is coming — which also means dry chapped lips. For many of us, lip balm is an essential beauty product that pretty much has a permanent place in our purses year round. Since you'll likely be applying layer after layer of lip balm in the coming months, you need to know that this one ingredient should never appear in your lip balm ingredient list — it's a toxic no-no you need to kick to the curb.
The entire purpose of using lip balm is to hydrate your lips and make them look and feel moist and soft — but if your balm contains petrolatum, the exact opposite result might happen. Depending on the specific refining process used to create a balm with petrolatum, this chemical can actually be a carcinogen — and it can cause allergic reactions. To boot, because it creates a barrier-like layer on top of your lips, it prevents your skin from feeling and looking fully moisturized.
Petrolatum is one of the most common chemicals found in many lip balms, but it's important to avoid phenols, as well. This chemical can also cause allergic reactions and worse — if absorbed on a regular basis, it has been shown to cause liver and kidney problems and damage to the nervous system.
When In Doubt, Go Natural
The safest lip balms on the market are natural lip balms that contain as many identifiable ingredients as possible. Look for coconut oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, and shea butter, all of which have moisturizing properties that are far better for your lips and skin than petrolatum and phenol. When suspicious-sounding ingredients make you wonder what you're actually putting on (and in) your body, your best course of action is to go natural.