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4 Things You Never Knew About Lip Balm

Jessica Cramer

Lips Aren't The Only Place to Use It

Runners use ChapStick to prevent chapping around their noses in cold weather. You can also rub it into cuticles to moisturize them, tame unruly eyebrows, and even to moisturize your hands if you're in a pinch. Just be sure to keep separate tubes for different uses.

It Does Expire

You'll likely use it up before it does, but ChapStick only lasts for two to three years. If you find an old tube and wonder if it's safe to use, be sure it doesn’t look or smell funny. 

The Little Bit You Ingest is Okay

There's a reason you've never seen menthol, beeswax, phenol, lanolin, cocoa butter, salicylic acid, and shea butter in your favorite recipes. "While there have been no cases of ingested lip balm harming anyone beyond maybe a minor stomach upset, these ingredients are not meant to be eaten regularly or in large amounts," explains Arleen K. Lamba, M.D., medical director at Maryland's Blush Med Institute. Luckily the amount you consume from licking your lips every so often isn't going to do much harm.

It Doesn't Actually Moisturize

Sounds crazy, but ChapStick and most other lip balms don’t work by adding moisture; instead they seal your kisser to protect it from losing its own moisture. "The wax or petrolatum in lip balm essentially creates a watertight barrier that prevents your internal skin moisture—which normally evaporates through the surface, especially on dry, cold, windy days—from escaping, softening your lips and keeping them feeling moist," says board-certified dermatologist Jessica Krant, M.D.

Have your own Lip Balm secret you're willing to share? Let us know!


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