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Choose natural lip balm

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Keep your lips luscious and healthy while avoiding the petroleum-based undesirables found in conventional lip balms. Instead, go natural and soothe your lips with botanical ingredients.

What to look for when choosing natural lip balm

  1. Avoid petroleum-derived ingredients: Conventional lip balms contain petrolatum or mineral oil. These are derived from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource, and can trigger allergic skin reactions. The European Union (EU) has petrolatum listed as a probable human carcinogen in its Dangerous Substances Directive. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly, also derived from petroleum, has been shown to cause intestinal discomfort when ingested.
  2. Avoid dangerous chemical ingredients: If you opt for a lip balm with Sun Protection Factor (SPF), stay away from:
    • benzophenone-3, also known as oxybenzone. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found oxybenzone in the urine samples of almost 97 percent of the 2,500 people tested.[1] The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found 111 lip balms (including some natural lip balms) sold in the US contain oxybenzone, which has been linked to skin irritation and allergies. Studies on cells and laboratory animals also show that it may cause hormone disruption. A review done by the EU in 2006 found there wasn’t sufficient data available to access oxybenzone’s safety in sunscreens.
    • octinoxate, also called octyl-methoxycinnamate which has shown estrogenic effects in test tube experiments. The EWG contends that similar effects were demonstrated with laboratory animals at concentrations of octyl-methoxycinnamate close to those experienced by sunscreen users.
  3. Look for mineral sun protection lip balms, containing zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide: These have broad-spectrum effectiveness, don’t break down easily in the sun, are well tolerated by skin, and cause few allergic reactions. They’re often contained in sunscreens formulated for babies and are found in most of the EWG's top safe and effective sunscreen picks.
  4. Find lip balms labeled as paraben-free: Natural lip balms often come without parabens (which includes methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, and butyl-parabens) a family of preservatives which can affect the endocrine system that produces the body's hormones. Studies have shown that some parabens can mimic estrogen in the body, though the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) asserts that parabens are safe because their estrogenic activity is much lower than the body’s own estrogen.
  5. Go organic: Because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spends only a tiny portion of its budget investigating the chemical composition and toxins in skin care products, lip balms can tout their use of organic ingredients and still have up to 30 percent synthetic materials, even the ones labeled "organic" or "made with organic ingredients." USDA OrganicThe only way to be sure that the product you are purchasing is organic is to look for the USDA Organic Seal on the label. This seal guarantees that every ingredient is organically produced as defined by the National Organics Standards Board, which bans the use of harmful pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and genetic engineering.
  6. Look for lip balms that do not employ animal testing: While you're contemplating green attributes, you may also wish to join the cruelty-free movement. Just keep in mind: a company may claim that they don’t employ animal testing for their products, but without third-party verification, it’s hard to know whether these statements are in fact completely true. Leaping BunnySo stick to those products certified as cruelty-free by looking for products with the Leaping Bunny Logo or the Certified Vegan Logo. You can rest assured that no bunnies (or monkeys or cats for that matter) were harmed in the making of these non-animal-tested products.

Find it! Natural lip balm

We've got a bunch of lip balm recommendations for you to help you achieve a dewy lip look, but if you're more of a DIYer, you’ll find instructions on Not Martha, The Ponte Vedra Soap Shoppe and wiseGEEK.

Choosing natural lip balms helps you go green because…

  • They use water- and plant-based ingredients—such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and hemp seed oil—in lieu of combinations of chemicals that are harmful to the environment and may pose various health risks.
  • Many makers of natural lip balms also follow green business practices, such as using recycled packaging and supporting organic agriculture.

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