Find Safer, Healthier Lip Balm, Gloss and Lipstick

Whether fighting chapped lips or just adding a touch of color,
thousands of people apply some kind of lip product every day ?
often reapplying as the balm, gloss or lipstick wears off hours
later. And many people do so without considering what, exactly, is
in all that goop, or why it even matters.

While lip product can seem to just disappear as the day goes on, it
actually rubs off ? when you eat, speak or wet your lips ? the
evidence plainly visible in the constant smudge of Plum Kiss on
your morning coffee cup. It even migrates in a simple kiss. And all
of these roads lead to one place: your stomach. According to the
Campaign
for Safe Cosmetics
, the average woman ingests
4 pounds of lip products over her lifetime,
leading to concern over the cumulative effects of the
ingredients in these products.

A number of lip products are made using ingredients listed among
the dirty dozen, including parabens (preservative
and antibacterial), petrolatum (softens skin; makes lipstick shine
by creating a barrier on skin), propylene glycol (penetration
enhancer; keeps products from melting or freezing), diazolidinyl
urea (formaldehyde-releasing, anti-microbial preservative) and
butylated hydroxytoluene (antioxidant, slows down rate of product
ingredients’ color change) ? ingredients indicted for a range of
health concerns: eye and skin irritation, potentially altering
hormone levels, or that they
may be contaminated with impurities and linked to
cancer
. And
testing of 33 lipsticks made (and sold) in
the United States revealed that 61 percent contained detectable
levels of lead, a proven neurotoxin (one that accumulates in the
body over time, rather than breaking down). One third of the
samples contained levels higher than the U.S. limit for lead in
candy, but none of them listed lead as an ingredient.

While all of this sounds pretty scary, there are a number of ways
to keep your lips soft, healthy and rosy, without experimenting
with products that are potentially hazardous. Many
companies offer safe, effective alternatives.
Organizations such as The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,
Grassroots Environmental Education and
Teens for Safe Cosmetics Campaign have
collected a wealth of knowledge on good and bad products,
ingredients and manufacturers. You can also visit the
FDA Cosmetics Information Page, or search
thousands of product safety ratings in the
Environmental Working Group Skin Deep
Database
.

Finding a healthier lip balm, gloss or color isn’t tricky. On your
next trip to the store, simply take along a list of the ingredients
to avoid and check the product labels before you make a purchase.
It’s well worth the effort. Once you’ve found a safe, clean lip goo
? sip, snack and smooch away ? your lips and your body will thank
you.

Share your favorite lip care tips and products in the comments
section below.