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Have you ever heard anyone say that they are "addicted to Carmex"?  Both my kids were when they were teenagers.  They had constant dry, cracked lips and used Carmex all day long, they could not be without it.  Some of their friends were the same way with Blistex of Chap Stik.  It was totally addictive to all of them.  I heard a lot about it during those years and wondered what in the heck was going on with putting petroleum and chemical preservatives on your lips and still having dry lips.

I didn't use that, I used a natural balm of some sort of another from a health food store.  Then I started making it to be sure that what went on our lips was natural.  None of us have dry lips now that we have a nice selection of 100% All Natural lip balms to choose from.

At the bottom of this page I have copied something from a COLD SORE info site.

Petroleum, mineral oil, alcohol and preservatives can actually cause dry lips.

Commercial lip balm petroleum-based ingredients are derived from the same crude oil that is used to make gasoline and grease, often requiring harsh synthetic fragrances to mask their unpleasant odor.  This un-natural combination of ingredients can actually dry and irritate sensitive lips.


Addiction is defined as "dependence on or commitment to a habit, practice, or habit-forming substance to the extent that its cessation causes trauma" by the Random House Webster's College Dictionary (1992).  The writers of this page are not sure if lip balm is a truly "addicting" substance.  However, we have spoken to some individuals who say they are "addicted" because the sudden discontinuation of its use causes discomfort (very dry lips).  It is up to the individual to decide what the term "trauma" means to him/her.


USPDI, Volume 1:  Drug information for the Health Care Professional, 18th Edition, 1998, Taunton, Massachusetts  02780.

Partial list of lip balms sold on the market:

Marketed Products Active Ingredients
Blistex®, Lip Medex® 
Blistex Inc.
Petrolatum, camphor (1%), menthol (1%), phenol (0.5%)
Blistex® Lip Ointment
Blistex Inc.
Allantoin (1%), menthol (0.6%), camphor (0.5%), phenol (0.5%)
Carma Laboratories, Inc.
Petrolatum, alum, camphor, menthol, phenol, salicylic acid
Chap Stick Lip Balm
A.H. Robins Consumer Products
Petrolatum (44%), padimate O (1.5%)
Chap Stick Medicated Lip Balm
A.H. Robins Consumer Products
Petrolatum (41%), camphor (1%), menthol (0.6%), phenol (0.5%)
Lip-Fix Crème
Elizabeth Arden Co.
Water, glycerin
Neutrogena Lip Moisturizer
Neutrogena Corporation
Octyl methoxycinnamate (7.5%), benzophenone-3 (4.0%)
Vaseline® 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly Skin Protectant
Chesebrough-Pond's USA Co.
White petrolatum, USP

Flutterbye lip balms are made with only pure vegetable oils, vitamin E, emu oil (in Lip Care), natural beeswax, and essential oils, providing natural soothing and healing benefits with moisturizing protection for soft, healthy lips.

Carmex is a cold sore and chapped-lip salve that was invented in 1936 made mostly of menthol, camphor, alum and wax.  Should regular suffers of chapped lips be spreading on a drying agent to heal their lips?  Maybe not!

Carmex Ingredients: 

Menthol:  derived from peppermint oil.  It gives a cooling sensation when absorbed through the skin.  It's the menthol that gives York Peppermint Patties their cold rush.  Menthol is used in OTC cough and sore throat medications, and in Vicks Vapo-Rub.  In Carmex, it eases the pain associated with the chapped lips.

Camphor:  a terpene alcohol.  Used as "a carminative and a stimulant in medicine."  Camphor also has some anesthetic properties.

Alum:  It's used as an astringent, which doesn't really help us here, and as a styptic, which is useful if your lips are cracked and bleeding.

Salicylic Acid:  synthesized from phenol and a precursor to aspirin, it's also the "active ingredient" in willow tea.  It has medicinal proeprties similar to aspirin.  Probably included as a topical anesthetic.

Phenol:  a disinfectant, also somewhat of a topical anesthetic.  Used in gargles and over-the-counter cough and sore throat medications.

Fragrance:  to disguise the stink of all the above.

Petrolatum:  a.k.a. Vaseline.  A good lip moisturizer, but it tends to wear away or get absorbed quickly.  This and the mineral oil make the Carmex "flow" in cold temperatures.

Mineral Oil:  Can enhance gloss but sits on the skin.

Wax Base:  This is partly a "filler" and it's partly an "extender".  It keeps the Carmex from wearing away.  See the above entry on Petrolatum.  The "wax base" is a heaving hydrocarbon.

ChapStick Lip Balm is almost 100% wax.