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10 Lip Balm Ingredients To Avoid: Non Toxic Is Best

Lip balm is a favorite go to for me as I am sure it is for many of you out there. Toxic Ingredients run rampant in lip balms as it does for many cosmetic products on the market. It is important to know which lip balm ingredient to avoid and why non-toxic is best.

lip balm ingredients to avoid

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It just make sense to put organic and natural ingredients on your lips. Who wants to ingest toxics or let them soak into your skin? 

Well, unfortunately, many people do not think twice about this. They ponder the scented flavors or textures from which to choose and do not give ingredients a second thought.

However, down the road, all of the small choices that we make when it comes to putting ingredients on our body will impact our health one way or another. You may not be able to pinpoint it as it being the toxic lip balm, but your body will still pay for it all the same.

Below are the most common ingredients you will want to avoid in a lip balm. I have also included a couple great, trusted, and clean brands.

Lip Balm Ingredients To Avoid

#1  Artificial Pigments or Synthetic Colors

Artificial pigments like Aluminum Lake from FD+C dyes in any combination are to be avoided. Regulations of color additives have changed over the years. Some which were once found safe by the FDA were later banned due to negative side effects in humans.

Studies show side effects which include allergic reactions, reproductive health problems, and developmental health issues. The dosage plays a factor in some of these cases.

However, since many people use makeup and lip products often, dosage can be likely high for many if lip balm brands containing these ingredients are used. Good lip balms to use instead would be a lip balm with natural ingredients and dyes such as Beauty By Earth.

#2 Petroleum Jelly / Petrolatum

Petroleum jelly is and occlusive ingredient. This means it is not a moisturizing ingredient, but instead it is a sealant. This means it does not allow the lips to breathe. It locks any moisture that is already there in, but does not provide additional moisture. Therefore, it creates a barrier which does not allow toxins out. 

Additionally, there is a concern for PAH contamination in petroleum jelly. PAHs are chemicals that are associated with endocrine disruption and increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer.  

#3 Synthetic Fragrances / Parfum

Artificial fragrances can cause negative reactions such as skin irritation and are possible endocrine disruptors. These should be avoided in lip balms as well as all makeup products. 

Breathing in parfum is toxic and causes lung irritation and problems with breathing. Not all lip balm use fragrance in their products, but some do.  Finding a lip balm that uses natural ingredients to scent their lip products is a safer option.

#4 Mineral Oil

Mineral oil also traps moisture in but does not add moisture to the lips. A lip balm should offer ingredients that add moisture to dry lips. Mineral oil only offers an illusion that the lips are being moisturized. But in reality you will just continually apply the lip balm in hopes to soothe and moisten the lips.

Another problem with mineral oil is that it can be easily ingested when used in lip products. According to the National Institutes of Health, mineral oil has shown to increase cancer risk to various degrees. Therefore, applying a product with mineral oil to the lips should be avoided.

#5 Alcohol 

Some conventional lip balms use alcohol or menthol in their lip products. Alcohol is used in some lip products to help create a smooth consistency. However, alcohol may make lips drier. It also can irritate the skin. This ingredient is counter-productive and also needs to be avoided.

#6 Menthol

Menthol provides a cooling effect to the lips. However, according to the Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, menthol has been shown to cause allergic contact dermatitis. It has also been shown to possibly worsen problems with asthma. Instead of using a lip product with menthol, opt for one with peppermint oil like this one.

# 7 BHT

BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) is a synthetic chemical used as a preservative in cosmetic products. It has many harmful side effects which include increased risk of cancer, hormone dysfunction, respiratory issues, and inflammatory problems. This ingredient should be avoided in all products.

# 8 Parabens and Phthalates 

These harmful ingredients are sometimes used in lip balms as a preservative. They are linked to hormonal imbalances, skin rashes such as dermatitis, reproductive problems, as well as cancer. Many brands are opting to create products without using these toxic chemicals.

# 9  Titanium Dioxide

This is an ingredient used in many beauty products for protection against the sun. However, it is not an ingredient meant to be taken internally. Titanium Dioxide has been linked to lung cancer and other health issues. Therefore, it is best to look for a lip balm with a natural sun protectant in in like nano zinc oxide. 

# 10 Long, hard to pronounce words

If there is a long list of words that are complicated to pronounce and do not give an herbal name next to them, then most likely you will want to avoid the lip product. If there are only one of two difficult to pronounce words, look them up for clarification. Otherwise, most likely the ingredient is toxic and harmful to you or the environment. 


  1. https://www.fda.gov/industry/color-additives/color-additives-history
  2. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/702445-FDC_Yellow_No_6_CI_15985_Aluminum_Lake/
  3. https://skinplicityofcary.com/blogs/skinplicity-of-cary/17013091-so-what-is-wrong-with-petroleum-jelly-aka-vaseline
  4. https://www.europeanreview.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/061-064.pdf
  5. https://www.aaaai.org/allergist-resources/ask-the-expert/answers/old-ask-the-experts/camphor-menthol-allergy

Natural Ingredients To Look For In a Lip Balm

These natural butters and natural oils are a great way to add moisture to the lips. Choosing organic ingredients are best to avoid additional toxins. There are many lip balm products on the market today that provide soothing relief to the lips without the use of drying  or harmful chemicals.

  • Shea Butter
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil

Why is Hyaluronic Acid Beneficial?

Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that is beneficial to include in lip balm. This natural ingredient adds moisture to the lips and giving hydrating and plumping action.

The body contains hyaluronic acid in connective tissues, but the aging process as well as pollutants decrease the amount we have over time. Using a lip balm with this element will naturally moisturize lips. Many beauty products have taken advantage of adding this ingredient into their product line.

What is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is an ingredient used in beauty products to help exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. This leaves the skin renewed. However, it is not a beneficial ingredient for all products or for all skin types.

Salicylic Acid and Lip Balms

Salicylic acid is helpful in the healing process of acne. It unclogs pores and has exfoliating properties. However, be careful if you have sensitive skin because sometimes it encourages the pores to create more oil making skin too oily.

This is a helpful component in some beauty products, however, not so much in a lip balm. You will want to avoid this ingredient when buying lip products because it can leave lips dryer than before due to the exfoliating effect. It can also possibly irritate the lips or the skin around them.

Best Soothing Lip Balms To Buy

lip balm without harmful ingredients

If you want a lip balm that will give you natural moisture and a tint of color, then this is it. Beauty Counter is a clean and EWG certified lip balm with plant-based oils. Their products are highly-effective and get great reviews across the board. I personally love Beauty Counter products.

eos lip balm

This lip balm brand contains many organic ingredients and the rest are high-quality ingredients. These balms are great to keep lips moisturized and come in different shapes and flavors. 

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