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Is Carmex Bad For Your Lips? Is it Safe? | Ingredients Review (2024)

Recently, concerns about popular lip care brand Carmex have sparked curiosity. Are the ingredients in Carmex detrimental to your lip health? Here’s what we found based on scientific evidences and dermatologists expertise.

In this article, we’ll review if Carmex is bad for your lips, and if it is safe to use for your health in general.

Read also our articles about Burt’s Bee Lip Balm, and Non-Toxic Lip Balms.

The Conscious Insider is reader supported. When you buy something we recommend, we might earn an affiliate commission at no extra charge for you.

Is Carmex Bad For Your Lips
Picture from Carmex.com

Almost A Century Of Carmex 


Founded in 1937 by Alfred Woelbing, Carmex emerged as an innovative and trailblazing brand in the lip care industry, marking a transformative chapter in the world of lip care products.

As the 2000s unfolded, Carmex experienced a remarkable journey of growth, gaining popularity and becoming easily accessible to people everywhere. The brand’s influence expanded to cover all 50 states, firmly establishing its position as a phenomenon that reached every corner of the nation. During this period of expansion, Carmex introduced an array of delightful new flavors to its lip balm lineup, including Cherry and Strawberry variants. 

A pivotal moment for Carmex arrived in 2008, when the brand garnered significant attention through an appearance on Oprah’s platform. This appearance thrust Carmex into the limelight, leading to widespread recognition and an increased spotlight on the brand. At this time Carmex had achieved the remarkable feat of selling over one billion jars!

For many customers, the beloved Carmex brand serves as a nostalgic reminder.. The simple act of applying a touch of Carmex on your lips, followed by the signature cooling sensation, evokes fond memories. 

Review Of The Ingredients In Carmex Products

We reviewed the 3 main products sold by Carmex: The Original Jar, The Original Tube, and The Original Stick.

1. Classic Lip Balm – Original Jar | Hazardous Ingredients

Petrolatum & Paraffin 

Petrolatum and paraffin, are commonly found in cosmetics such as lip balms and lipsticks. In lip balms and lipsticks, petrolatum and paraffin are responsible for the product’s structural integrity, adherence to the lips, and overall ease of application due to their softening properties.

While they are not permitted in food products, their presence in beauty items raises concerns about potential ingestion and accumulation within our bodies.

According to Safe Cosmetics, the primary health risk associated with petrolatum is its potential contamination with PAHs, which are considered carcinogens. PAH exposure is linked to cancer development, particularly breast cancer.

Salicylic Acid 

Salicylic acid is a versatile ingredient found in various products. In shampoos, it acts as a preservative, combats dandruff, and contributes to overall hair care. However, in facial cleansers, its role shifts to exfoliation and acne management. In facial skincare products, it’s even believed to enhance skin texture and alleviate redness and imperfections.

But, here’s the kicker: salicylic acid has recently garnered attention for potential concerns. Research conducted by Danish experts has provided compelling scientific evidence suggesting that salicylic acid can disrupt the endocrine system. This disruption appears to have effects on reducing testosterone levels and influencing sperm production.

2. Classic Lip Balm – Original Tube | Hazardous Ingredients

Petrolatum & Paraffin 

Petrolatum and paraffin, are commonly found in cosmetics such as lip balms and lipsticks. In lip balms and lipsticks, petrolatum and paraffin are responsible for the product’s structural integrity, adherence to the lips, and overall ease of application due to their softening properties.

While they are not permitted in food products, their presence in beauty items raises concerns about potential ingestion and accumulation within our bodies.

According to Safe Cosmetics, the primary health risk associated with petrolatum is its potential contamination with PAHs, which are considered carcinogens. PAH exposure is linked to cancer development, particularly breast cancer.

Salicylic Acid 

Salicylic acid is a versatile ingredient found in various products. In shampoos, it acts as a preservative, combats dandruff, and contributes to overall hair care. However, in facial cleansers, its role shifts to exfoliation and acne management. In facial skincare products, it’s even believed to enhance skin texture and alleviate redness and imperfections.

But, here’s the kicker: salicylic acid has recently garnered attention for potential concerns. Research conducted by Danish experts has provided compelling scientific evidence suggesting that salicylic acid can disrupt the endocrine system. This disruption appears to have effects on reducing testosterone levels and influencing sperm production.

3. Classic Lip Balm – Original Stick | Hazardous Ingredients

Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate or Octinoxate

Octinoxate is an UV filter. According to Safe Cosmetics, Octinoxate can spur cell growth due to estrogen, a breast cancer risk factor. It also affects thyroid hormones, vital for metabolism and gland development. In females, it disrupts hormone levels, possibly causing infertility, while in males, it lowers sperm count.

Concerns reach reproductive organs and development. Octinoxate’s antiandrogenic effects alter organ development in fetuses, possibly affecting offspring. It also changes organ weight and structure in rats.

Benzophenone-3 

Responsible for a significant number of allergies (more than a quarter of subjects reacted in an experiment measuring its allergenic power), this UV filter is nearly excluded from sunscreens. 

It’s classified as an endocrine disruptor. In 2011, the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products advised limiting its use in cosmetic products. 

According to Safe Cosmetics,Benzophenone is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT). These chemicals are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity.”

Petrolatum & Paraffin & Ozokerite 

Petrolatum and paraffin, are commonly found in cosmetics such as lip balms and lipsticks. In lip balms and lipsticks, petrolatum and paraffin are responsible for the product’s structural integrity, adherence to the lips, and overall ease of application due to their softening properties.

While they are not permitted in food products, their presence in beauty items raises concerns about potential ingestion and accumulation within our bodies.

According to Safe Cosmetics, the primary health risk associated with petrolatum is its potential contamination with PAHs, which are considered carcinogens. PAH exposure is linked to cancer development, particularly breast cancer.

Salicylic Acid 

Salicylic acid is a versatile ingredient found in various products. In shampoos, it acts as a preservative, combats dandruff, and contributes to overall hair care. However, in facial cleansers, its role shifts to exfoliation and acne management. In facial skincare products, it’s even believed to enhance skin texture and alleviate redness and imperfections.

But, here’s the kicker: salicylic acid has recently garnered attention for potential concerns. Research conducted by Danish experts has provided compelling scientific evidence suggesting that salicylic acid can disrupt the endocrine system. This disruption appears to have effects on reducing testosterone levels and influencing sperm production.

Users Reviews & Side Effects

Effects of Carmex Products – Short Term


Carmex Lip Balm receives positive reviews worldwide for its effectiveness and quality:

  • Immediate relief for dry, cracked lips.
  • Provides a tingling, cooling sensation upon application.
  • Minty flavor and scent are appealing.
  • Offers various flavors, including Cherry and Strawberry.
  • Formula effectively soothes lips.
  • Considered cost-effective and good value for money.

User Review |I like this carmex and think this brand will always be the best one for moisturising my lips. I get really dry lips and this is and has been the only brand that ever truly works to make them feel moisturised. I used to use the cherry one and the scent is so powerful too! Just wanted to switch it up and try the plain one. What I like it that it has this minty feel to your lips so it makes them more red / vibrant after using it. It’s not a plumper or anything it’s just the mint feeling so I really love that ” Sarah

Effects of Carmex Products – Long Term

This product seems to offer immediate relief, thanks to its menthol flavor that provides a cooling sensation upon application. Users often experience a tingling effect, which can be attributed to the menthol ingredient. However, while it offers a quick soothing sensation, there’s a potential drawback when used over an extended period.

“It’s a relentless cycle of trying to keep pace,” remarks Dr Gary Slaughter, a dermatologist practicing in Charlotte, North Carolina. The initial application might seem effective, but it’s not long before the layer you’ve applied begins to parch and can even be rubbed off.

Dermatologists pinpoint “camphor, phenol, and menthol” as the troublesome elements in balms that can exacerbate dryness, leading to persistent lip cracks. While salicylic acid is included to exfoliate dry skin, it might ironically leave some individuals with drier and peeling lips.

Some users have reported that with consistent use over time, the product seems to have a tendency to cause lip dryness and even minor irritation.

User Review | However, the big problem I have with this product was unearthed when I took a close look at the ingredients list. This ‘moisturising’ product contains Salicylic acid, an ingredient usually added to acne treatment products.Due to the nature of the acid, It has common effects such as causing irritation to the skin for some people. Doctors suggest avoiding Salicylic acid if skin is chapped, broken or damaged. It turns out that a tingling sensation is usually felt when this ingredient is applied, explaining the tingling feeling I had on application that I have not had with similar products such as the Boots standard lip balm or Vaseline tins.” Mr J

Conclusion

Carmex is a popular lip balm that has been around for decades, and its effects on lips can vary widely from person to person. Many customers have used Carmex without experiencing any issues and have found it effective in moisturizing and soothing their lips. These positive experiences often lead to a strong sense of loyalty and love for the product. Other customers have experience dryness and chapped lips.

But what’s crucial to remember here is not the product efficiency, but rather what it’s made of.

Certain ingredients found in Carmex lip care products, like Petrolatum & Paraffin, Salicylic Acid, Octinoxate, and Benzophenone-3, are being scrutinized for potential harm to humans. Studies suggest these chemicals have negative effects on our bodies.

In conclusion, Carmex works well for many customers, but at what cost? Opting for safer natural alternatives without these concerning ingredients is the safest choice.

If you have a genuine fondness for the Carmex brand, we recommend considering the Carmex Naturally lip stick – a choice free of harmful chemicals.

5 Natural & Non-Toxic Alternatives To Carmex Products

Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

Best Overall Non-Toxic Lip Balm

1. Burt’s Bees –  Beeswax Lip Balm


Pros | Made from natural non-toxic ingredients. Keeps lips moisturized for hours. Heals sore, red, chapped, peeling lips. Cruelty-free certified. Great price for value.

Cons | The balm can get quite soft in warm weather. One chapstick doesn’t last so long. Not fragrance-free: peppermint flavor with tingly minty feeling.

Verified Reviews | 80,316 5 stars reviews over 90,101.

Price | $3.99 for a single pack

Read the full review

Shop Non-Toxic Lip Balm

Is Carmex Bad For Your Lips

Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm with Raw Natural Ingredients

2. Hazelnut Tinted Lip Balm – Hurraw

Eco-friendly brand | Made with raw, organic and natural ingredients, Ecocert COSMOS Certified

Price | $5

Review |The color is the most subtle tinted lipbalm color I have. I like that it’s transparent, at the same time it could be just a tad bit more pigmentend. It smells sweet, like hazelnut chocolate paste or something, but not too strong, you only smell it up close, not when it’s on your lips. It’s shiny, like all Hurraw balms.”

The balm is made with nutritious, fresh-pressed oil from California groves which is a core ingredient in Hurraw!’s smooth and creamy balms. The lip balms are made with organic ingredients and are raw, vegan, and gluten-free, making them a healthy and ethical choice. 

Shop Non-Toxic Lip Balm

Is Carmex Bad For Your Lips

Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm with Organic Ingredients

3. Organic Unscented Nourishing Lip Balm – Makes 3 Organics

Eco-friendly brand | USDA certified organic ingredients, cruelty free, recyclable packaging, EWG certified

Price | $8.99 (2 packs)

Review |This is a great lip balm , It goes on smooth and feels good on the lips its not too watery like some balms. . I love that it is organic. I will buy this again. Thank you” Tina

Flavorless lip balm that soothes the lips without any added flavor. The balm contains a blend of organic plant oils that provide intense and superior hydration, resulting in maximum softness. The product is an alternative to chemical and synthetic flavored lip balms, and it contains organic coconut oil and organic shea butter, which soothe, protect, and moisturize the lips. The lip balm does not contain any fragrance, parabens, phthalates, PFAS chemicals, or other harmful substances.

Shop Non-Toxic Lip Balm

best gluten-free lipstick brands

Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm & Cruelty-Free and Gluten-Free

4. Pacifica – Fluffy Blushy Blush

Eco-Friendly Brand | Cruelty-free and Vegan certified, Gluten-free, Free from carmine, phthalates, petrolatum, and silicone

Price | $11

Review | 4.7/5 stars over 99 reviews

Customer Review |This is the second shade I have purchased of the fluffy blushy. Goes on smooth and blends nicely and stays put through out the day.” Leah

  • Vegan collagen to hydrate skin 
  • Lightweight buildable formula for a blurred effect
  • Can be applied to your cheeks or to lips

Shop Non-Toxic Lip Balm

Is Carmex Bad For Your Lips

Best Non-Toxic Lip Balm with Biodegradable Packaging

5. Lip Balm – Attitude

Eco-friendly brand | Plastic-free, vegan & cruelty-free formula, eco-refills, refillable and recyclable bottles, biodegradable FSC certified cardboard, EWG certified

Price | $4.95

Review | “I absolutely love this lip balm. My lips have never been softer. I love that it’s plastic free. I would suggest keeping the balm raised and not rubbing the cardboard because it does wear it down. But this is fantastic.” Kendra

Solid lip balm enriched with olive oil and a unique blend of coconut, shea, and castor oils. The balm soothes dry lips and leaves them feeling refreshed, thanks to the nourishing properties of olive oil. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to lip balms that come in plastic tubes. The product comes in innovative plastic-free packaging made from FSC-certified and recyclable cardboard.

Shop Non-Toxic Lip Balm

FAQ

Does Carmex dry out your lips?

Carmex contains ingredients that could dry out your lips. But many users report that carmex offers moisturising proprieties

What are Carmex side effects?

Potential side effects of using Carmex lip balm could include:

– Skin Irritation: Some individuals might be sensitive to certain ingredients in Carmex, leading to redness, itching, or irritation on the lips.
– Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some people may develop allergic reactions to specific components of Carmex, resulting in swelling, rash, or hives on the lips or surrounding areas.
– Dryness or Dependence: Some users might find that using Carmex frequently can lead to a cycle of dependency, where the lips feel dry without regular application.
– Flavor and Scent Sensitivities: The flavors and scents added to Carmex products might be too strong or bothersome for some individuals, leading to discomfort.
– Tingling or Cooling Sensation: The presence of ingredients like camphor and menthol in Carmex can cause a tingling or cooling sensation on the lips. While some find it pleasant, others might find it uncomfortable.

It’s important to perform a patch test before using Carmex extensively, especially if you have a history of allergies or sensitivities. If you experience any adverse reactions while using Carmex, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Is it OK to use Carmex everyday?

Given the hazardous chemicals found in Carmex lip care products (Petrolatum & Paraffin, Salicylic Acid, Octinoxate, and Benzophenone-3) it’s best to avoid using Carmex products at all.

Is Carmex allowed on planes?

Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, explains “Lip glosses that are liquid or gels like Carmex are not allowed, but a stick lipstick, is permitted.”

Is Carmex bad for your lips?

Many users report that Carmex is a great lip care offering moisturising proprieties. The problem is not how efficient the products are.
But Carmex products also contain Petrolatum & Paraffin, Salicylic Acid, Octinoxate, and Benzophenone-3. Hazardous chemicals proven to be toxic for human health.


All photos credits belong to respective brands

Read our other articles about lip care.

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