This inexpensive lip balm includes a pure titanium dioxide sunscreen to provide reliable broad-spectrum protection. It also has a smooth, plant oil and wax base that helps keep lips smooth and protected against chapping.
All of that is great, which is why it’s disappointing to see that this balm also contains fragrant lavandin oil. A hybrid of lavender oil, lavandin contains many of the fragrance chemicals that make pure lavender oil a problem for skin and lips. Chief among lavender oil’s problems are that it causes skin cell death, makes skin more sun-sensitive, and enhances oxidative damage (Sources: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150, and January 2008, pages 9–14; Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229).
Although the lavandin oil isn’t a big part of the formula, it is present in a high enough amount to be cause for concern. Why risk the problems this fragrant oil can cause when there are gentle, fragrance-free options such as Paula’s Choice Moisturizing Lipscreen SPF 15 or Mary Kay Lip Protector SPF 15?
- Contains effective emollients and plant oils to protect and soften dry lips.
- Provides gentle, broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Contains fragrant lavandin oil, which can cause irritation.
- Fragrant oils in lip balms may increase your tendency to lick your lips, making chapping worse.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135 and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22.)
Rescue your lips from the sun, wind, and snow! This soothing, hydrating lip balm protects lips from the elements, nurturing them with natural SPF 15 sun protection and moisturizing care. Titanium dioxide reflects the sun's harmful UVA/UVB rays so you can stay out and play. Plus, it's petrolatum free!
Active: Titanium Dioxide (2.94%) Other: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Lavandin Hybrida (Lavandin) Oil, Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Canola Oil (Huilde De Colza), Limonene
Almost all the skin-care lines in the world prefer to identify themselves as originating from companies established to create elegant, scientific formulations conceived with an in-depth understanding of the skin’s functions and needs. We say almost, because Burt's Bees makes no such claim. Quite the contrary; this line is about as unglamorous and as unscientific as it gets (the picture of Burt on the label made me think we were buying fishing gear, and press materials for the brand mention he used to live in a turkey coop). Talk about being an iconoclast!
This is how the company's founder Roxanne Quimby describes its history on its Web site: "I guess you could say it all started because there weren't many jobs up there north of Bangor. Though we found, grew, or traded for most of what we needed, I figure a person's got to have at least 3000 dollars a year in actual greenbacks to survive in this old world, especially if you've got kids. I'd been let go from my last three part-time waitressing jobs and had been buying low and selling high at yard sales and flea markets, which brought in about $150 a week during good weather. How we got started making lip balm and ended up in North Carolina is another story, and a long one at that, so I’ll save it for some other time." This is a skin-care line?
Aside from its humble, amorphous beginning, Burt's Bees is about natural, earth-friendly skin-care products, as well as overly fragranced products. Its philosophy in this respect is sincere: "To us, the word 'natural' means only one thing. It means, 'harvested from nature.' And we adhere to that definition like the strictest of school teachers."
For those seeking a line of skin-care products with truly natural ingredients, this is one of the few that steadfastly adheres to its commitment: there is no hypocrisy here. If the ingredient lists are accurate, and there is no reason to assume otherwise, then you will not find preservatives or synthetically derived ingredients of any kind. Just from the all-natural point of view, there will definitely be people who will be excited about these products, but I'm not one of them. Many of the plant extracts and oils used in these products, including orange oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, lemon oil, eucalyptus oil, pine tar, alcohol, lime oil, and balsam peru, are problematic for skin and present a significant risk of irritation or a sensitizing reaction. Both the intriguing philosophy and inexpensive products are attractive, but it takes more than that to establish reliable products that are good for skin.
We know that most people are attracted by fragrance, and in this regard these products excel. They are also notable for the lack of preservatives, which can be beneficial for those who can’t tolerate preservatives. (That lack may be an issue for product stability, although we did not have these products tested for contamination.) But for any other skin-care need, we suggest you use your wisdom and recognize that while Mother Nature is assuredly wise about the Earth, She does not have everything the skin needs. In fact, Mother Nature offers up many problematic things for skin, including the sun and poison ivy.
For more information about Burt's Bees, call 1-800-849-7112 or visit www.burtsbees.com.