In the past, chapsticks were not full of chemicals. The lip balms were invented in the 1880s, in Lynchburg, Virginia by Dr. Fleet. The first lip balms were very similar to small candlesticks. They were wrapped in tinfoil. According to Dr. Fleet, the sales of the chapsticks were not enough lucrative and he sold the recipe for his invention to John Morton for only $5.
The first lip balms by John Morton and his wife were prepared in their kitchen. The lip balms were pink in color and the couple used brass tubes for molding the sticks. In 1963, John and his wife sold their successful business with chapsticks to the H. Robbins Company.
In 1971, this company added flavors to the chapsticks and in 1981 the chapsticks got SPF 15 sunblock. Further on, in 1985, petroleum was added to the formula of the chapsticks. This formula remains until today.
Are toxic chemicals entering our bodies from our lip moisturizers?
The active ingredient in the lip balms original flavor is white petrolatum. 45% of a single chapstick is white petrolatum.
The inactive ingredients found in chapsticks are: arachidyl propionate, yellow 5 lake, camphor, white wax, titanium dioxide, carnauba wax, red 6 lake, cetyl alcohol, propylparaben, fragrance, phenyl trimethicone, isopropyl lanolate, paraffin, isopropyl myristate, oleyl alcohol, lanolin, octyldodecanol, light mineral oil and methylparaben.
The liquid mixture of geological formations found beneath the surface of the earth is called petroleum. This refined extracted liquid is used in the production of kerosene, gasoline and diesel oil. It is also added to most beauty products including the lip balms. The toxic side effects of the petroleum ingredients were recently published in studies found on the ChemTox website.
According to these studies, prolonged exposure to chemicals that contain petroleum can seriously harm the immune and nervous system. The illnesses that may be caused by these petroleum based chemicals are: autoimmune disorders, cancer in both adults and children, weakening of the immune system, multiple neurological disorders, etc.
The leaves of the Brazilian Carnauba palm tree are used for the production of Carnauba wax. Dry skin, inflammation of the hair follicles, acne, skin irritation, rash, allergic reaction and contact dermatitis can be caused by topical application of titanium dioxide carnauba wax. So, this ingredient is most certainly not effective in the treatment of chapped lips with lip balms.
The ester of myristic acid and isopropanol is called isopropyl myristate. This ingredient is usually used against head lice. Isopropyl myristate kills the head lice by dehydration by dissolving the wax that covers the head lice’s exoskeleton.
This ester can clog the pores as it is deeply absorbed when use in beauty products such as lip balms. This effect chokes the supply of oxygen into the skin. Therefore, the skin cells die out, as they are deprived from oxygen.
Through distillation of petroleum mineral oil is obtained.
Crude petroleum is used for getting paraffin.
As we already mentioned, chapsticks contain propylparaben. This substance is dangerous as it mimics the action of the estrogen, a female hormone. Breast cancer is linked to the early exposure of this hormone. Several medical studies are dedicated to this effect of propylparaben.
Researchers from Britain, found traces of parabens in the lumps of tested cancer tissue samples. 20 women with cancerous breast tumors were tested in this study. In all of these women, traces of paraben were found in their cancer tissue samples.
Men can also be affected by parabens. According to a study, the levels of testosterone production decreased as the levels of parabens increased.
Another petroleum based product is red 6 lake. This is the fourth ingredient in lip balms that is petroleum based. According to studies, red 6 lake increases the brain tumors of lab rats, causes abnormal cell development and increases hyperactivity in children.
Yellow 5 can cause swelling of the skin, cancer, migraines, hyperactivity, nettle rash, allergic reaction, vomiting and diarrhea.
Chapsticks have a warning label on them which states to keep lip balms out of reach of children. If a child swallows a chapstick, medical help or even the poison control center must be contacted immediately. So, why should we use these products on our mouths?
Make your own natural chapstick
• 2 drops peppermint, rosemary, lavender, cinnamon, wild orange, clove or ginger essential oil
• 1 tsp. powdered herbs for color or 1 tsp. cocoa powder for flavor
• ¾ cup of beeswax
• ¼ cup cocoa or mango butter
• ¼ cup of sweet almond or coconut oil
In a heatproof glass measuring cup put the mango butter and coconut oil. Boil water in a pan on low temperature and melt the ingredients by placing the cup in the pan.
Add the beeswax and melt it while stirring with a stainless steel spoon.
Let the mixture to cool down a bit. Then, add the essential oil and finally the powdered herbs for color. If you are preparing a chocolate flavored lip balm add the cocoa powder. Stir well and pour the mixture into a lip balm tube or tin. You can clean an old lip balm or buy a new one and clean the tube from the poisonous chapstick.