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  1. #1

    Default Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Earlier this week I decided to do an experiment with lip balm. I do not have (and have never had) chapped lips - I wanted to see if, with a daily application of Chapstick/Blistex/Carmex/what have you, I could get a more line-free/glistening look.

    I thought I'd begin with a few sticks of Blistex & Carmex I had lying around from old ski trips.

    On day 1 of my experiment, I chose Blistex (Blistex Complete Moisture, to be precise). This balm goes on fine, has little taste, and seemed to even out the appearance of my lips a little bit - seemingly a promising beginning.

    The next morning, I was startled to discover the beginnings of a cold sore forming in the corner of my mouth. As I haven't had a cold sore in 2-3 years, I find this to be a rather striking coincidence.

    On day 2 I chose one of the Carmex sticks, leaving the Blistex aside. Results were initially similar to the Blistex. By the end of the day, however, I did notice that my lips were slightly drier than usual...they also felt a little 'warm', in an indefinable way. It didn't set off any alarm bells at the time, but still...I noticed.

    I used the same Carmex stick (Strawberry flavor) again on day 3. By late in the day on day 3, I can tell something is wrong...there is a different texture around my lips...I'm getting a little nervous. When I get to a mirror to check it out, I behold an unmistakable, ugly whitish scurf at the corners of my mouth...it's the same scurf the kid who usually rings me up at WalMart has...it doesn't look like 'chapped lips' so much as an 18th century disease in which one foams at the mouth and eventually acquires a little crust of dehydrated ectoplasm around the corners. With a queasy kind of wonder, I get a little closer to my reflection... At close range, the scurf reveals itself to be little flakes of dry/peeling skin. For the first time in many years, I appear to have a case of chapped lips.

    Can it be so???

    After the long, blissful years without cold sores or chapped lips, within the first 3 days of using commercial lip balms, I've suddenly come down with both? :S

    To be continued in Part 2...
    Last edited by Schen Doku; 11th July 2014 at 06:47 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    That's quite a dilemma you have going on. Maybe the makers of these products are also the makers of Cold Sore Cream?
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Sorry to hear about this. Who knows, only a dermatologist could say precisely what happened. Perhaps you are allergic to some common ingredient, perhaps just coincidentally your cold sore came back at this time, or who knows. Lip balms don't do anything against cold sores, but then neither should they cause them! (They should however help with chapped lips, but typically one needs to apply them a couple of times during the day at least.)

    There are so many different types of lipstick and perhaps you can find one that works for you. But obviously, this only after your lips have healed. Incidentally regular lipstick only protect (sun, moisturize) but don't plump up. If you want to plump up, temporarily of course, you have to use special ones, for instance containing hyaluronic acid.

    cacio

  4. #4

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Some of those products have affected me similarly too (I do a lot of dog-walking in all sorts of weather conditions so use lip balm regularly) but have never suffered from cold sores.
    I've been using Burt's Bees Pomegranate, which is 'cheap & cheerful' and doesn't have the mentholated stuff that some have.
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  5. #5
    Robin-in-FL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Some coconut oil at night before sleep usually works fine for mine, though we are not in a cold/dry place. Body Shop Hemp lip balm is also very good. The ones you have are too rough, lips are delicate.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Forgot about the Body Shop ones - the cocoa one is lovely
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    A lip balm with petroleum as a main ingredients won't do much, it'll just created a barrier against the cold so useful in winter maybe, but rubbish indoors or in summer.

    Korres do good ones, so do Apivita.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Strange

  9. #9

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    A quick update:

    After a few Google searches, I was able to track down other instances where people asked questions on Q&A sites about whether Blistex can cause outbreaks of cold sores.

    It seems, at the very least, I am not the only person who is experiencing these kinds of results.

    Cacio, I have to agree with you - the appearance of the cold sore *could* have been a coincidence (though I tend to think otherwise). In any case, the lip balm wouldn't be the cause of the cold sore (per se), as cold sores are symptoms of an underlying virus... Having said this, maybe treating one's lips with certain lip balms somehow creates an environment that is more favorable or conducive to outbreaks???

    We will never know, as the Blistex is history, and I won't be replacing it, hah.

    Greatly appreciate all the product suggestions! My own investigations hadn't lead me to any of these lines.

    At the moment, I have a tube of Aquaphor Lip Repair on order. If it doesn't work for me, I'll likely be giving some of the ideas in this thread a try.
    Last edited by Schen Doku; 7th July 2014 at 01:48 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    I agree with Apivita and Korres suggestion, these are great with good ingredients. I would add Hurraw - an all natural brand, affordable also, they come in a variety od flavours with the coconut one being my favourite.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Plain old Chap-Stick works for me. And crucially, it has sun protection.

    But there are a lot of lip balms that I've tried that actually make my lips feel drier. I can't stand those.

    The cold sore, if it is one, is a coincidence. Like colds, they're caused by viruses, not by lip balm.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    I use Chap-Sticks in summer and sometimes Burts Bee (without sun protection) in winter.

    I'd come across a few people who found using SP15 lip balm all year round, resulted in their having to use those balms all the time, quite a few times a day, whether they wanted to or not, else their lips would go sore and chafe. This wasn't a big problem for me when they used to make SP4 Chap-sticks, but they disappeared and it took me a while to find Burts Bees without any sun protection.

    This seems to have toughened up my lips a bit, so that I don't have to use lip balm anywhere near as much as I used to - despite always carrying a stick in my pocket ( a hangover from the days when i pretty much had to use it every day).
    Regards,
    Renato
    Last edited by Renato; 4th July 2014 at 03:17 PM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin-in-FL View Post
    Some coconut oil at night before sleep
    This, or use clarified butter - age old grandmother's cure...

  14. #14

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    I've found vaseline the most effective thing to use on my lips
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  15. #15
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    Plain old Chap-Stick works for me.
    This does the job for me also. I try to use it only when absolutely necessary.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Another quickie update:

    After seeing my lips chap/peel after 2 applications of Carmex, I tossed everything. For better or worse, I threw out several old sticks of Chapstick too. I tossed the Chapstick because I remembered that the flavoring used to cause me to lick my lips, which would eventually leave them feeling dry/irritated. Within 2 days of discontinuing with Carmex, my lips were 90% back to normal (it took 3 days for a 100% "cure" for the Carmex-induced chapping).

    Originally posted by Kagey:

    "But there are a lot of lip balms that I've tried that actually make my lips feel drier. I can't stand those."

    Originally posted by Renato:

    "I'd come across a few people who found using SP15 lip balm all year round, resulted in their having to use those balms all the time, quite a few times a day, whether they wanted to or not, else their lips would go sore and chafe."

    I now think (based on my own recent experiences) that this will be the case for at least some people. The health/beauty blogosphere is rife with stories of people who have experienced a sudden worsening of their chapped lips after starting to use lip balm. My experience with Carmex points this up perfectly; I normally don't have a problem with chapped lips (I mean, I don't get them EVER - unless I've been skiing, downhilling on my bike, or any like activity involving cold/windy conditions). I use Carmex for the first time in ages and BAM! I'm suddenly looking at lips ugly enough to make a freight train take a dirt road.

    EDIT: Still waiting on a tube of Aquaphor Lip Repair from Amazon (though my lips have healed on their own). Will post my significant results, if any.
    Last edited by Schen Doku; 8th July 2014 at 10:15 AM.

  17. #17
    Dependent Akahina's Avatar
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    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    I don't use lip balms much, but when I do I use Burt's Bees Rujuvination. A day or two of use is all it takes for me. Great stuff IMHO.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    A lot of recommendations for Burt's Bees!

    This jives with some of the research I've been doing... Burt's Bees produces beeswax-based lip balms, and I've learned that the two ingredients dermatologists recommend for people who have problems with the ingredients in Blistex and/or Carmex are beeswax and petrolatum.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here's an interesting article:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/chap...ing-them-worse

    A few short excerpts:

    "Are you addicted to your lip balm? Constantly reapplying and still have chapped lips? Then you must be a Carmex user (or any other lip balm user that contains phenol)."

    ...

    "On the lips, phenol may remove the top protective layer of skin that seals in moisture. That causes the lips to dry out, flake and peel. While the product may provide temporary relief, continued use leads to an unending cycle of drying, peeling and reaching for more lip balm."

    ...

    "Effects of phenol to the body:

    Phenol and its vapor are corrosive to the eyes, the skin and the respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged skin contact with phenol may cause dermatitis, or even second and third-degree burns due to phenol's caustic and defatting properties...The substance is a suspected carcinogen."

    ...

    "Injections of phenol have occasionally been used as a means of rapid execution. In particular, phenol was used as a means of extermination by the Nazis before and during the Second World War."
    Last edited by Schen Doku; 10th July 2014 at 07:51 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by Schen Doku View Post

    "Are you addicted to your lip balm? Constantly reapplying and still have chapped lips? Then you must be a Carmex user (or any other lip balm user that contains phenol)."

    ...

    "On the lips, phenol may remove the top protective layer of skin that seals in moisture. That causes the lips to dry out, flake and peel. While the product may provide temporary relief, continued use leads to an unending cycle of drying, peeling and reaching for more lip balm."

    ...
    [/I]
    Thanks, extremely informative.
    Regards,
    Renato

  20. #20

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Quote Originally Posted by WillC View Post
    I've found vaseline the most effective thing to use on my lips
    Hm, I prefer not to use petroleum based stuff on my body.

    A decent lip balm is actually quite easy to make. A few years ago I made my own using shea butter, almond oil, beeswax and some fragrance oil.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Update: Rec'd my Aquaphor Lip Repair. The best that can be said for it is that it's not as bad as Carmex (in that it took twice as long to destroy my lips...heh).

    As of today, I have discontinued using Aquaphor as it has resulted in cracked and sore lips. Oddly enough, even though I am perfectly aware Aquaphor is what is responsible for the cracking, I have a strong desire to apply more Aquaphor to "medicate" the cracks...very odd. To recap, my lips were healthy before I began using commercial lip balms, and (after testing these in sequence) Blistex, Carmex and Aquaphor have all caused my lips to either chap, crack, or to break out in cold sores.

    The results I got with Aquaphor were perhaps the biggest surprise of all - as this balm came dermatologist recommended. Perhaps this is an indication that my lips are simply more sensitive than most. *shrug*

    I'm calling this the end of my experiment with lip balms. Shame, really... Would have liked to try a few of the other products that people have been helpful enough to recommended in this thread, but - considering the anecdotal nature of one person's experiences, and the lack of translatability into information that is useful for others - the anguish probably isn't worth it.

    Schen
    Last edited by Schen Doku; 11th July 2014 at 06:50 AM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Modern Lip Balms... A class of products to be avoided?

    Just use some honey.

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