Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6. Lip care: Carmex

My lips are always, always dry and chapped. No matter what I eat or how much water I drink, the weather, the lipstick I wear, or anything else. Dry lips. It's a curse.

I tried every lip balm available where I live, but nothing helped. Only recently I have found something that helps. It may seem obvious to some of you but I sweat, to me it was a revelation. Carmex. Carmex is my savior.

It is not easily available here in Italy, so it took me a while to discover this amazing product. Now I have friends from the US bringing me Carmex jars every time they visit.
It's also available from but there is something like a 150% price increase so I tend to ask my friend to buy it from me in the US.

Carmex comes in different form, the most famous one is the little tube (the middle one in the picture above). It's a lip balm designed to help chapped lips and heal cold sores. And it works.

I keep a Carmex jar on my side table to dab on my lips before going to sleep and a Carmex stick in my purse for the moments I cannot bear the feeling of chapped lips anymore.

I use Carmex regulary only at night though because once a day is enough for my lips to stay soft and Carmex is not exactly made of organic ingredients.

According to Biodizionario (an Italian resource that allows to check cosmetic ingredients), all but a couple of the ingredients in Carmex are to be avoided.

Active Ingredients: Camphor, Menthol, Phenol

Both camphor and phenol are denaturant: camphor has also coating properties and phenol is antibacterial. According to Wikipedia, menthol is also a denaturant, a peppermint extract with "anesthetic and counterirritant properties".

Inactive ingredients: Beeswax, cetyl esters, lanolin, paraffin, petrolatum, salicylic acid and theobroma cacao seed butter.

I don't know what kind of beeswax is used in Carmex, but I choose to think it's nothing too bad. As far as I can understand Cetyl Esters are derivatives from fatty alcohols with emollient and emulsifying properties. Lanolin is a wax of animal origin with protective qualities (I think Biodizionario gives Lanolin a red light because it has a strict Vegan-policy and frown upon products with animal origin).
Paraffin is a wax that originates from lubricating oil, with properties similar to Lanolin. Salicylic acid is a substance originated from plant that acts as preservative. Theobroma cacao is a kind of cocoa butter that has emollient qualities.

Given the amount of ingredients with a red light (to be avoided at all costs), I prefer using Carmex only once a day, and as I said, it's enough for my lips. I calculated that I go through about two jars of Carmex every year.

I highly recommend Carmex as a lip balm, but I would use it with a grain of salt. I see nothing wrong with using it constantly  if your lips are in a "bad shape", but I would tone down the use after your lips are healed.

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