lip balm

If you’re like us, your collection of lip balms, creams, conditioners and salves is extensive and probably includes a wide range of options. The question is have you ever looked at the ingredients in your lip balms? Some of the ingredients added to our favorite products actually do more harm than good. But deciphering that long list of unfamiliar elements seems like a job better left to the pros. Well, we whipped out our big book of cosmetic ingredients and did some digging. Next time you’re in the market for a great new lip balm, keep these basics in mind…

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Salicylic Acid: You may be surprised to find this anti-acne ingredient in your lip balm, but many products add it to slough off dry skin. The problem is that exfoliation method works well for fighting acne, not for creating smooth lips.
  • Camphor, Menthol and Phenol: These ingredients are added to produce a cooling sensation and tingling feeling that makes you think the product is working. However, what you’re feeling is actually protective layers of your skin peeling off. Removing the top layers of skin leaves your lips more susceptible to environmental damage.
  • Parabens: Parabens are preservatives that have been used to keep our favorite beauty products bacteria-free for years. Recently, research has surfaced that suggests they could be harmful. The jury is still out, but we recommend keeping parabens on your watch list. Just to be safe, our picks all use natural preservatives.

Ingredients to look for:

  • Lanolin: Lanolin protects lips from environmental stress and softens skin.
  • Beeswax: Beeswax helps retain water and is a natural antibacterial that won’t cause dryness.
  • Shea butter and cocoa butter: These ingredients are great moisturizers and won’t irritate lips. 

Our Picks:

What would you like to see in our next Product Spotlight? Let us know in the comments.

Photos: Kiehl’s, Jane Iredale, La Roche-Posay, The Body Shop, Thinkstock