Lip balm could contain toxic substances, consumer group warns

Alright, time to root through your makeup bag and get a little concerned about what you’re smothering on your skin.

A new report from a French consumer group has warned customers that their lip balms may contain toxic substances.

Before you feel all safe and smug, be warned – some of the products they found to contain carcinogens are sold in the UK, too.

UFC Que-choisir tested 21 popular lip nourishing products, and found that half of them contained ingredients that could be harmful, such as carcinogenic substances or Mosh (mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons), which, UFC claims, can inflame the lymph nodes or liver if swallowed.

‘The level of Mosh (mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons) in these lip balms is extremely undesirable, on account of their toxicity when they are ingested,’ said the report.

That’s a bit worry, considering most of us slather our lip balm on our mouth, where it can easily be ingested.

Alongside Mosh, a number of the products contained Moah (mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons), which is considered to be carcinogenic.

The brands discovered to have lip balms containing harmful ingredients include Garnier, Carmex (AKA your fave lip balm), and La Roche Posay.

Lip balms French consumers have been advised to avoid:

  • Macadamia lip balm from Yves Rocher
  • Trésors de miel nourishing lip balm from Garnier Ultra Doux
  • Original classic care from Labello
  • Classic moisturising lip balm from Carmex
  • Nultric transforming balm for dry lips from La Roche Posay
  • Homéostick from Boiron
  • Cold cream nourishing balm from Avène
  • Nutrition balm for dry lips from Le petit Marseillais
  • Hydrating lip balm from Aptonia
  • Hydrating lip balm from Uriage

But before you panic, let’s remember a few things.

In the UK and the EU, all cosmetic products, including lip balms, are governed by strict rules and regulations, which require lip balms to past safety tests when applied to the lips or ingested.

Mineral oils – both Mosh and Moah – have been used in our makeup products for decades, and it’d be tricky for that to be the case if there were any strong evidence that suggest they may be toxic.

Your lip balm might contain harmful ingredients

If you’re concerned, have a look at the ingredients in your lip balm and choose products that aren’t full of complicated chemicals you don’t understand. If a lip balm causes any negative reaction, whether it’s soreness or increased dryness over time, swap to a different one – there are loads of options out there.

The good news? The report also notes that the lip balm they deemed the safest and most effective was also the cheapest – Lidl’s Cien balm. So clearly, you don’t need to drop a load of money to soothe your chapped lips.

We’ve reached out to all of the brands UFC Que-choisir has warned against, and will update this story with their comments below if we hear back.

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