The Product That Should Be Hydrating Your Chapped Lips Could Be Poisoning You

by The Rebel Pharmacist

The Product That Should Be Hydrating Your Chapped Lips Could Be Poisoning You

Chapstick* wasn’t always filled with chemicals. A physician named Dr. C. D. Fleet first created the lip balm in the early 1880s, in Lynchburg, Virginia. The first chapsticks resembled small, wick-less candlesticks wrapped in tinfoil. Dr. Fleet decided the sales of his lip balms weren’t lucrative enough to be worth his time, so he sold his recipe for $5 to John Morton.

John Morton and his wife made their first chapsticks in their kitchen at home. The couple make the chapsticks pink and used brass tubes to mold the sticks. The Mortons sold their successful Chapstick* business to H. Robbins Company in 1963.

The H. Robbins company is responsible for adding flavors to lip balms (in 1971), adding SPF 15 sunblock to the sticks (in 1981), and in 1985- petroleum was added to the lip balm and remains as the Chapstick we know today.

Are You Absorbing Toxic Chemicals From Your Lip Moisturizer?

Active ingredient of Chapstick “Original” flavor:
White Petrolatum 45%

Inactive ingredients:
arachidyl propionate, camphor, carnauba wax, cetyl alcohol, fragrance, isopropyl lanolate, isopropyl myristate, lanolin, light mineral oil, methylparaben, octyldodecanol, oleyl alcohol, paraffin, phenyl trimethicone, propylparaben, red 6 lake, titanium dioxide, white wax, yellow 5 lake

Petroleum is a liquid mixture of geological formations from beneath the earths surface. The extracted liquid is refined to produce gasoline, diesel oil, kerosene and is also added to many beauty products like Chapstick. Recent studies published on the ChemTox website reports toxic side effects of petroleum ingredients: “Petroleum based chemicals are being found to cause significant attritional effects to the nervous system and immune system after prolonged exposure. Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders [and more].”

Carnauba wax is obtained from the leaves of the Brazilian Carnauba palm leaves. Topical application of titanium dioxide-carnauba wax can cause dry skin, acne, rash, contact dermatitis, allergic reaction, skin irritation, and inflammation of the hair follicle. I’m not sure how this ingredient is an affective ingredient for treating/preventing chapped lips.

Isopropyl myristate is the ester of isopropanol and myristic acid. One of the uses of Isopropyl myristate is for the treatment of head lice. This ester dissolves the wax that covers the exoskeleton of head lice, killing them by dehydration.
When used in products like Chapstick, this chemical is absorbed deeply, clogging the pores. This may choke the supply of oxygen into the skin, resulting is dead skin, since the skin has been deprived.

Mineral oil is derived from petroleum through distillation.

Paraffin is derived from crude petroleum.

Propylparaben, the main concern about this substance is that parabens can mimic the action of the female hormone, estrogen. Early exposure to the hormone has been associated with breast cancer. A number of studies have been conducted on this subject.

A group of British researchers found traces of parabens in the lumps of tested tissue samples. These tissue samples were obtained from 20 women who had cancerous breast tumors. All 20 samples had traces of parabens.

It is possible that parabens may also affect men. In one study it was found that testosterone production decreased in proportion to the dose of parabens.

Red 6 lake Is a petroleum based product. The 4th petroleum based ingredient in Chapstick. It increases hyperactivity in children, increases brain tumors in lab rats and other abnormal cell development.

Yellow #6 can cause cancer, hyperactivity, allergic reactions, diarrhea, vomiting, nettle rash, migraines and swelling of the skin where applied.

There is an alarming warning label on their lip balm: “Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.” Why would I want to apply this anywhere near my mouth?!

You may consider making your own natural lip balm


¼ cup coconut oil or sweet almond
¼ cup mango butter or cocoa butter
¾ cup beeswax
2 drops essential oil, (peppermint, lavender, wild orange, ginger, clove, cinnamon or even rosemary.)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder (for added flavor) or powdered herbs for color

Add the coconut oil and mango butter into a heatproof glass measuring cup. Melt the oil and butter by placing the glass measuring cup in a pan of gently boiling water.
Add ¾ cup of beeswax to the oil and butter melted mixture. Melt the beeswax, stirring with a stainless steel spoon and mix everything together. CAUTION: the glass will be very hot!
Let the mixture cool a bit and start to thicken. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You may choose to color your lip balm by adding a small amount of powdered herbs that can be bought on Amazon. Add the cocoa powder now if you are choosing to make a chocolate flavored balm. Stir until there are no lumps.
Carefully pour into clean lip balm tubes or tins. You can clean and reuse old ones or buy new ones.

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