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Blistex At-A-Glance

Strengths: Includes complete ingredients for all of its products on the company Web site; a couple of lip balms with excellent UVA protection and above-average formulas.

Weaknesses: The majority of lip balms with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, leaving lips vulnerable to sun damage; many contain irritants such as menthol or camphor.

How this small but longstanding line of lip products has achieved the status of being the solution for cold sores or chapped lips eludes me! Most of these lip products contain enough irritating ingredients to chap anyone's lips. Lots of lip products claim to be medicated, but "medicated" is a dubious term at best, with no regulated meaning.

The way Blistex and a handful of other companies define medicated, it means using camphor, menthol, or phenol in their formulations, yet none of these are in any way, shape, or form "medicines" or "treatments" for dry lips. Quite the contrary, they make dry skin worse and can cause irritation. Products like Blistex can include 0.5% phenol, a potent disinfectant, that is strong enough to actually trigger some serious problems, the least of which are dryness and irritation. It is not something I would recommend for anything but extremely limited use because repeated application can keep your lips chapped forever.

Blistex beckons to you to "discover what your lips are missing," but with few exceptions your lips aren't missing anything with these products except the irritation or inadequate sun protection they provide—definitely an instance where missing something is a good thing! One more thing: Press materials and Blistex's Web site mention dermatologist Dr. Charles Zugerman as an advisor to the company. Yet for a dermatologist whose special interests include allergic contact dermatitis to endorse lip products with known irritants is puzzling to say the least. And if Dr. Zugerman knows about the need for sufficient UVA protection and the ingredients it takes to achieve that, he's not sharing that knowledge on a consistent basis with Blistex. This is just another example of how a dermatologist's endorsement may create an impression of professional credibility, which can be different from speaking to the efficacy or safety of the products themselves.

For more information about Blistex, call (800) 837-1800 or visit www.blistex.com.

585633-IIS5 v1.0.0.389 4/27/2015 5:17:38 PM