As with all cosmetic treatments, it is crucial to thoroughly read the list of ingredients before use. Even the seemingly harmless tinted balm can pose a potential health risk. This depends entirely on its composition (carcinogenic mineral oils, endocrine disruptors, etc...). But what are the dangers of tinted balm? What precautions should be taken? Let's focus.
Are there any dangers associated with the use of a colored lip balm?
The potential dangers of tinted lip balm.
While useful and convenient, tinted balms can also contain ingredients deemed undesirable for health (mineral oils, chemical preservatives, etc...) once ingested, even though they are seemingly almost harmless when applied to the skin. This raises concerns for a product used daily, and even more so for pregnant women, considering the fact that the product applied to the lips eventually gets largely ingested. Studies have estimated that we ingest between 20 to 50 mg of lip care products per day. However, some tinted lip balms can contain ingredients implicated for their potential health risks through oral exposure:
The BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole) and the BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) are used in cosmetics for their antioxidant properties. Indeed, these substances help prevent oxidation and rancidity. However, these two substances are suspected to be endocrine disruptors, often present in the composition of tinted balms. In a nutshell, endocrine disruptors are molecules capable of deregulating the hormonal system and thus induce harmful effects on human health (growth, reproduction, fetal development, etc...). Moreover, the A.R.T.A.C. (French Association for Anti-Cancer Therapeutic Research) classifies them among potentially carcinogenic substances. Finally, both molecules are also known to be sensitizing, thus being a source of allergies.
Used for their protective and moisturizing properties, tinted lip balms can also contain mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOH), which include mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). However, these substances are suspected to be carcinogenic, although they pose no danger when applied to the skin. Indeed, a study has shown that some of these hydrocarbons can accumulate in organs, particularly in the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes, leading to the formation of micro-granulomas, the exact repercussions of which are still unknown.
What is the potential alternative to consider?
However, this does not mean we should resign ourselves to stop using balm and permanently turn away from this 2-in-1 care, which colors the lips while providing comfort, nutrition, and hydration. There are increasingly more balms on the cosmetic market made from natural ingredients (vegetable oils, vegetable butters, vegetable waxes), as is the case with our tinted lip balm.
Available in 5 shades, it is enriched with hyaluronic acid derived from wheat fermentation to hydrate and plump the lips, with raspberry seed oil to nourish and protect the lip skin, and with peppermint macerate for a soothing and refreshing effect. At Typology, we wanted to apply the precautionary principle by excluding from our formulations all these substances that could potentially pose a health risk.
EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). Scientific opinion on mineral oil hydrocarbons in food. EFSA Journal (2012).
GROB K. & al. Mineral oil and synthetic hydrocarbons in cosmetic lip products. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2016).
FLORES E. M. M. & al. Toxic and potentially toxic elements determination in cosmetics used for make-up: A critical review. Analytica Chimica Acta (2020).