Love Your Lip Balm? This Scary Side Effect Might Make You Think Twice Before You Reapply

We don't know if we'll ever be able to look at Carmex the same again.

Woman applying lip balm

Ever wonder why one dab of your favourite lip balm is never ever enough? Well, now we finally know why we are constantly dipping into our beloved Carmex and it may put you off using it quite so often.

There have been a range of theories making their way through the internet about why Carmex is so addictive, including one that it contains shards of glass; this one we can officially confirm is absolutely not true.

But the real reason you might want to think your lip balm habit? It’s all down to two main ingredients, camphor and menthol, which cause a tingly sensation in your lips. The scary bit? According to a dermatologist who spoke to The Cut the majority of us are actually allergic to these ingredients and that tingling you feel is actually a sign of irritation.

Yep, that’s right. Your fave-o lip balm could be giving you an allergic reaction.

“Carmex has many irritating ingredients that can cause inflammation in the lip area in people with sensitive lips. These ingredients can cause people to feel as though they need to reapply a lip balm more frequently, so it feels like an addiction,” Dr.Whitney Bowe explains to The Cut.

Back in November, we also discovered that occulsives (a waxy, barrier-creating ingredient found in most lip balms) were responsible for irritation. They only offer temporary relief but then leave our lips drier and more prone to chapping.

So what’s a gal to do if she just can’t give up her balm habit? Some of the most common irritants are found in formulas that contain beeswax, benzocaine, lanolin and salicylic acid, so it’s all about using trial and error to find what works for you.