Is Carmex Bad for Your Lips? If so, Why?

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what Carmex does to your lips. Some people say it’s good for you, while others claim that it’s bad in the long run. This article will explore both sides of this conflict to clarify the situation once and for all finally.

Carmex does not contain any toxic or potentially dangerous ingredients such as cut glass. It does not contain whale sperm or formaldehyde. You can use it if you are not allergic to any ingredient listed on the label. But it is better to choose a simpler product such as Vaseline if you are not fond of too many additives.

So the story starts with some basic science. Chapped lips can lead to cracking, bleeding, and other major issues if not remedied quickly. That’s where Carmex comes in! This product is sold as a lip balm to soothe chapped or dry skin, so it doesn’t become infected or exhibit negative symptoms like those mentioned earlier.

But how healthy is this problem solver for our lips? Some say that because it contains fragrances, which are strong chemicals that might cause allergic reactions or affect people differently, its use could hurt you more than help you over time, even though it alleviates soreness right now. Others say that ultimately there isn’t enough data about the long-term effects of using something like Carmex.

What are the side effects of Carmex Lip Balm?

According to Dr.Bowe, “Carmex is composed of many irritating ingredients that are likely to cause inflammation on the lips and surrounding skin in people who already have sensitive lips.”

Now, that statement might scare you, but this is only caused by some ingredients present in Carmex, such as Camphor or methanol, and it’s only affecting people with sensitive lips or skin.

These side effects caused by Carmex are, in many cases, also the reason which makes people apply Carmex repeatedly to soothe the sensitivity, so Carmex might not be what you’re looking for.

You can also experience a tingly feeling in your lips if you are allergic to Camphor or methanol. According to studies, many people are allergic to both Camphor and methanol, or either of them.

However, Dr. Whitney Bowe says, “Only a few people are sensitive to methanol and camphor so that they may feel tingling. However, most of the people can use the Carmex lip balm without any problem”.

If you are allergic to any of the ingredients present in the Carmex lip balm, you are likely to experience any of these symptoms.
Skin irritation

In severe cases, sensitivity to any of these ingredients may cause peeling of lips’ outer skin. As a result, you may become more irritable and restless.

Is Carmex Safe?

Over some time, many false claims were made, and many weird ingredients were associated with Carmex. For example, there was a rumor that Carmex contains glass particles so that people feel their lips more irritable. However, there is no reality behind this rumor.

Carmex does not contain formaldehyde – a chemical used to preserve dead bodies (yep, you read that right) is not a component of Carmex. The world-famous lip balm brand claims that its products do not contain any potentially toxic ingredients.

However, the matter of concern for most dermatologists is that Carmex contains menthol, which can irritate the lips area in many people. Consequently, they apply more Carmex, which does not do any good. If you can’t leave home without Carmex and you are applying it more than three times a day, it is a sign that you have developed an addiction to it.

Another point of concern for dermatologists is that Carmex may contain some carcinogens. Carcinogens are chemicals that can disrupt your body cells even if they are consumed in minimal amounts. The products you apply to your lips eventually enter your body.

This will come as a shock for many people, especially when they have been using lip balms from brands such as Carmex and Blistex. Surprisingly enough, even Chapstick also contains ingredients such as methylparaben and mineral oil.

Why shouldn’t you use Carmex?

Carmex can become addictive. Sensitivity to some of its ingredients will make you want to apply more, creating a vicious circle. The ingredients that cause sensitivity and are often present in lip balms are

Lip Balm Petrolatum (Mineral oil petroleum jelly)
Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Parabens (Propylparaben Butylparaben)
Other compounds that contain parabens
Fragrances and flavorings

Carmex is also not the cheapest brand out there. If you are a heavy user, this might end up costing you much more than it should be.

Does Carmex have glass in it?

A close look at the ingredient list on Carmex packaging reveals no glass present in it. And no, they are not hiding it. I don’t think that any mainstream lip balm brand like Carmex has any possibility of adding plexiglass or fiberglass in its products.

But because Carmex may give a tingling sensation to your lips, some people think that it may contain glass. They even go as far as to argue that glass is added in Carmex to cut your lips to make them more chapped. But in fact, the tingling cold feeling is commonly caused due to the presence of salicylic acid in these chapsticks.

When we asked Dr.Shereene Idris of Patricia Wexler Dermatology about the addition of glass in Carmex, she said, “This is highly unlikely. It would get banned from the market”.

Can Carmex make your lips numb?

Many factors can make you feel your lips numb. But if you feel numbness in either or both lips after applying Carmex, this would obviously be the first question that comes into mind.

It is essential to monitor your symptoms to know whether the numbness is related to Carmex or not. Here are a few things that cause numbness in the lips.


Allergic reactions may cause angioedema – a swelling under the skin. They are often caused by certain drugs, foods, or medications. However, if you are sensitive to any of the ingredients present in Carmex, you may also develop swelling and numbness.

NOTE: It is essential to seek medical care if the signs of anaphylaxis are present such as difficulty breathing or fainting.

Chapped Lips:

It is not uncommon to feel numbness when your lips are chapped or cracked. Weather conditions and specific skin problems may make your lips excessively dry. Suppose the dryness in lips is due to weather conditions; you can use lip balm. However, a lip balm or Chapstick will most likely not heal them quickly, and you may feel numbness. If you already have sore lips, it is better to use Vaseline or plain petroleum jelly instead of chemically formulated lip balms.

Cold Sores:

Often caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, cold sores are first characterized by a numbing, tingling, or burning sensation in the lips. Later, small sores develop that are filled with liquid. Though Carmex itself does not cause these sores, sharing your lip balm with anyone may become a cause of cold sores.

Will Carmex Dry Out Your Lips?

According to the Carmex official website, Carmex lip balm does not dry out lips. They believe Carmex will make your lips even more hydrated so that you don’t need to apply it repeatedly. Carmex officials claim that they use the only highest quality, pure ingredients such as lanolin, beeswax, and cocoa seed butter. These ingredients give deep hydration, making the lips appear smooth, healthy, and hydrated all around the year.

The Camphor and white petroleum are added to Carmex lip balms to make them cool and soothing. Carmex is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and declared as a safe and effective medicated lip care product.

Of course, Carmex is not addictive in the sense that it does not contain any addictive ingredients. However, when people apply Carmex, they may feel that they need it on their lips all the time. If it is harsh or too dry, you will definitely need to reapply lip balm – it may be from any brand.

If you feel that your lips immediately get dry after the application of Carmex, you can check the ingredient list to make sure you are not allergic to any of them. Ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzocaine may irritate or make your lips drier. Similarly, methanol present in Carmex may give a cooling sensation, but actually, it will dry out the lips further.

Does Carmex contain whale sperm?

Carmex is made from certain natural and synthetic products. Most of them are derived from petroleum and gasoline.

Ambergris, also known as Whale vomit, is a strange natural substance that comes from sperm whales. It is often used in the high-end fragrance industry as it is super expensive.

The use of Ambergris is prohibited because the sperm whale is an endangered species. Why would the makers of any lip balm use it in their products when they have so many cheap alternatives. And there is no sign of any whale sperm within Carmex products (or any product for that matter).

What is a good alternative for Carmex?

There are several lip balms available in the market. Here are some of the most famous lip balms that people use to soothing their chapped lips. You can use any one of them if you are allergic to Carmex ingredients.

It is essential to check the ingredients list before applying any of these to your lips.

We can say that Carmex is a really powerful formulation that works fast. However, if you are searching for a lighter product, you can try Blistex. People with sensitive lips should use Blistex instead of Carmex as it will soften your lips without causing sensitivity.

Blistex is also safe for use in children. It gently soothes chapped and sore lips. That is why Blistex successfully sells more than $150 worth of its lip balms in a year. Though Blistex promises an effective relief from chapped lips, some of its ingredients are still questioned for the health risks they carry.

Burt’s Bees:
This basic beeswax balm is still popular among consumers. It is a super nourishing lip hydrator composed of organic botanical oils, Vitamin E, shea butter, and beeswax.

Tatcha Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm:
This brand was awarded the Allure Best of Beauty Award for 2017 because it contains a reasonable amount of lip-friendly fatty acids and vitamins that impart great hydration to your lips.

Aquaphor Lip Repair Healing Ointment:
Aquaphor Lip Repair Healing Ointment is an effective remedy for chapped and cracked lips. It is often recommended for use in eczema because it will not irritate even if you have sensitive skin. The ointment comes in a smart tube, but it is free from tints and other fancy ingredients.

Smith’s Rosebud Suave:
Smith’s Rosebud Suave is a versatile healer that you can apply anywhere on your face. It comes with very beautiful tints that will give a nice, subtle glow to your lips or cheeks.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm:
Praised by Allure, HuffPost, and The Fashion Spot, this lip balm has something in it that makes it worthy of so much praise. The super-smooth coating of Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm surely heals the lips from inside, rather than coating them in a mixture of chemicals. It contains vitamin E, shea butter, and sunscreen.

Fresh Sugar Lip Hydrating Balm:
Tinted and glossy, Style Caster, The Fashion Spot, and Beauty Editor recommend this stylish lip balm. It is quite effective for curing chapped lips because of the natural oils present in it. The company claims to have added grapeseed, apricot, and black currant extracts to enhance its healing properties. However, we find that it contains several artificial ingredients such as tints and fragrances.

For some people, Chapstick is the ultimate choice when it comes to choosing their lip balms. However, some people claim that ChapStick may make your lips even worse. Apparently, it does not heal the lips, making it essential for users to apply it repeatedly.

EOS Lip Balm:
It performs good healing action but may cause allergies and adverse reactions in some people.

This is the oldie Goldie classic choice for treating chapped lips. Though you may find its latest innovations Aloe and Cocoa butter, we bet you have a big tub of Vaseline that you bought several years back.

Is Vaseline Better Than Carmex?

Vaseline vs. Carmex – What are they made of?
The Carmex lip balm contains benzocaine, Camphor (1.7%), methanol(0.7%), salicylic acid, and phenol as active ingredients. The inactive ingredients are petrolatum, lanolin, paraffin wax, cetyl esters, cocoa butter, beeswax, and flavor.

Vaseline is mainly composed of petroleum jelly, a mixture of mineral oils and waxes heat, and is also called petrolatum. The product was first introduced by Robert Augustus Chesebrough in 1859 when he discovered that this jelly-like substance could effectively heal burns and wounds. Vaseline in its original form is free from additives such as scents, fragrances, and tints.

Vaseline feels heavy and slippery on the lips, and for this reason, most people prefer using Carmex. However, we can see that Vaseline has a negligible chance of causing allergic reactions. However, the active ingredients present in Carmex lip balms such as Camphor, benzocaine, and methanol may cause allergies and sensitivity. So if you have sensitive skin, Vaseline is better for you.

Vaseline vs. Carmex – Which one is more Moisturizing?

To keep your lips moist and smooth, you need an occlusive moisturizer that locks your lips’ pores and prevents water loss. Both Vaseline and Carmex will trap existing moisture into the skin very effectively.
Some consumers feel that Carmex leaves tingly or dry lips once it fades away. It may give you an urge to apply it again and again. However, when you use Vaseline, your lips remain moisturized for a greater period after the application.

Vaseline vs. Carmex – Which one is recommended by Dermatologists?

According to Dr. Piliang, “Lip Balms often contain ingredients such as methanol, phenol, and salicylic acid as they are likely to make your lips even drier. The user feels a need to apply it even more, and as a result, the user may have a tingly feeling. It may also remove the outer layer of your lips, exposing them more to environmental irritants and infections. Therefore it is better to avoid balms that contain such ingredients”.

Both Carmex and Vaseline works for Lips:

People use Carmex and Vaseline for healing their chapped lips. Both of them keep your lips moist and smooth. Carmex comes with several flavor variations so that you can pick your favorite one. Vaseline for lip care is now enhanced with aloe and cocoa butter to improve their moisturizing properties.

Final Verdict:

Carmex is not going to kill you. It does not contain any toxic or potentially dangerous ingredients. We are sure that Carmex is free from cut glass, whale sperm, and formaldehyde. You can use it if you are not allergic to any ingredient. But it is better to choose a simpler product such as Vaseline if you are not fond of too many additives.

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