Lip balm

Lip balm
A tube of ChapStick

Lip balm or lip salve is a wax-like substance applied topically to the lips of the mouth to relieve chapped or dry lips, angular cheilitis, stomatitis, or cold sores. Lip balm often contains beeswax or carnauba wax, camphor, cetyl alcohol, lanolin, paraffin, and petrolatum, among other ingredients. Some varieties contain dyes, flavor, fragrance, menthol, phenol, salicylic acid, and sunscreens.[1][2][3]

The primary purpose of lip balm is to provide an occlusive layer on the lip surface to seal moisture in lips and protect them from external exposure. Dry air, cold temperatures, and wind all have a drying effect on skin by drawing moisture away from the body. Lips are particularly vulnerable because the skin is so thin, and thus they are often the first to present signs of dryness.[4] Occlusive materials like waxes and petroleum jelly prevent moisture loss and maintain lip comfort while flavorants, colorants, sunscreens, and various medicaments can provide additional, specific benefits.

Lip balm can be applied where a finger is used to apply it to the lips, or in a lipstick-style tube from which it can be applied directly.

Lip balm was first marketed in the 1880s by the creator of ChapStick, Charles Browne Fleet,[5][unreliable source?] though its origins are commonly traced to earwax, which was used as lip balm prior to that.[6]

Notable brands


Some, such as Dr. Holly Phillips, claim that lip balm can be addictive[7], but others claim that some (or all) claims about lip balm addiction are merely urban legends. Lip balm manufacturers sometimes state in their FAQs that there is nothing addictive in their products or that all ingredients are listed and approved by the FDA.[8][9] Snopes found the claim that there are substances in Carmex that necessitate reapplication, such as ground glass, to be false.[10]


  1. ^ "ChapStick Classics". Wyeth. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Medicated Lip Balm". Blistex. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Original Carmex Jar". Carma Laboratories. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Lip balm". Patriot Brands. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "The History of Chapstick - The History of Carmex". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  6. ^ "Softer Lips This Winter". New York Times, Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  7. ^ "Avoiding Lip Balm Addiction". CBS. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Blistex FAQ
  9. ^ Carmex FAQ
  10. ^ Lip Balm entry on
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Look at other dictionaries:

  • lip balm — n [U and C] a substance used to protect dry lips …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • lip balm — lip ,balm noun count or uncount a substance that you put on your lips if they are dry and sore …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • lip balm — noun a balm applied to the lips • Hypernyms: ↑ointment, ↑unction, ↑unguent, ↑balm, ↑salve * * * lip balm UK US noun [countable/uncountable] [singular …   Useful english dictionary

  • lip balm — UK / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms lip balm : singular lip balm plural lip balms a substance that you put on your lips if they are dry and sore …   English dictionary

  • lip balm — n. balm for the lips …   English contemporary dictionary

  • lip balm — noun a substance topically applied to the lips of the mouth to relieve chapped or dry lips, angular cheilitis or stomatitis, and cold sores. Syn: lip salve …   Wiktionary

  • lip balm — /ˈllp bam/ (say lip bahm) noun 1. a preparation designed to be applied to the lips to protect them from chapping, or to soothe lips already chapped. 2. a cosmetic dispenser containing a stick of such a preparation …  

  • lip balm — noun (C, U) AmE a substance used to protect dry lips …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Lip gloss — is a cosmetic product used primarily to give lips a mildly glossy lustre and sometimes subtle color. It is distributed as a liquid or a soft solid (not to be confused with lip balm, which generally has medicinal purposes). It can be completely… …   Wikipedia

  • balm — [ba:m US ba:m, ba:lm] n [U and C] [Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: baume, from Latin balsamum; BALSAM] 1.) an oily liquid with a strong pleasant smell that you rub into your skin, often to reduce pain ▪ lip balm 2.) literary something that …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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