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Avatar universal

Allergic to Lip Products?

I am 18 years old, and I have never been allergic to anything in my life. As part of my nightly routine, I've always put on lip balm before bed. However, late last year, my lips started to get more dry and chapped than usual, even itchy. They felt like sand paper and often developed tiny bumps. If rubbed hard enough, the bumps would produce a clear liquid. The edges of my lips also sometimes felt very raw and red. These symptoms would last around a week.
At the time, I had been using just plain Burt's Bees Lip Balm for many weeks. When I got the symptoms, I used a bit more of the balm than I usually did, thinking it would help the dryness. When nothing seemed to be working, I stopped using it altogether. In time, my lips healed, and I switched to Softlips lipbalm in both vanilla and peppermint flavors. I showed no reaction from their usage for about a month. Then, I started getting the same reaction that I got from the Burt's Bees Lip Balm. That was when I figured I was developing an allergy to lip balm. Over time, I also realized I was getting the same reaction even faster from lipstick and lipgloss. That meant I was allergic to all lip products across the board.
I began researching into the symptoms and the ingredients in lip products, especially ones that commonly produced allergic reactions. With that knowledge in mind, I've tried many other balms these past months, including ones by Blistex and Kiss my Face. I'm even allergic to plain Chapstick. At first, I would not show any symptoms at all, but they would eventually show up within a few weeks, sometimes days. I even tried alternating the balms every night, which helped slightly but I would eventually get the reaction again. Nowadays, I only wear lip balm every few nights because I can't stand having chapped lips, but never multiple nights in a row. Even then, there's always a chance of my reacting to it.
I haven't been able to pinpoint the exact ingredient that I'm allergic to, and I'm hesitant to spend any more money to try more products. I haven't changed anything about my diet, makeup, facewash, mouthwash, or toothpaste, so I am very certain that it's the lip products. After my research I've also found that other people have had the same problem.

Has any product been found that works but doesn't trigger a reaction from people with my allergies?

I've heard that Vaseline is possibly the only solution, but because of my research I've been staying away from products with petroleum and petrolatum in them. Should I try it out anyway?
169 Responses
681148 tn?1437665191
I'm having a similar issue.  Some products have even burned my lips.  My lips are always peeling.  Now, the dry flaking skin is above the upper lip where a man would have a mustache.  I'm starting to really worry, because I've always had to be concerned about dry lips.  Now, it's getting to the point where I'm not able to use much of anything on my lips without some kind of reaction.  I'm starting to think my allergies are just getting worse and worse and this may be because of my Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).  This is really getting frustrating.

I tried Sun, made by Alba Botanicals, but I can't use it, because it definitely burns my skin.  I try to be careful about reading the ingredients before purchasing to ensure the product doesn't have something in it that I know I'm allergic to.  So, I don't know what it is that I'm allergic to in this particular product.  I know I can't use any commercial brands, and I can't use anything with calendula oil in it, because I'm definitely allergic to calendula oil.  I found that out the hard way.

Yet, if I have skin scratch allergy tests, the tests all show negative, except for a couple of things, like birch and dust mites.  My allergist recognizes, though, that this doesn't mean that someone doesn't have a reaction to a certain item.  I will throw up now if I eat lettuce or spinach.  Yet, the allergy tests show negative for an allergy.  Obviously, though, I'm still having a bad reaction to the produce.  I discovered in researching cross reactions that lettuce and spinach are in the same botanical family as sunflowers, marigolds and calendulas.  This means dandelions, too.  This is a really broad botanical group.

I haven't had a whole lot of success trying vaseline or petroleum jelly for my lips either.  I'm kind of turned off by the idea of petroleum products myself, so I know what you mean.  I tried it anyway and I was still having problems with my lips.  Not as much as with some things, but they still peeled and still turned a darker red from being irritated.  

I'm really at a loss myself, because of having similar issues.  I don't know what's wrong.  I'm really frustrated, because I peel like a lizard everyday, so I don't have the normal amount of skin on my lips any more either.  It's more than a little uncomfortable.

I sure hope someone else knows what the answer is to what is going on for both of us.
Avatar universal
Hi you guys!
I came across this post and I thought I would share what I was able to find.  I have the same problem too!

If you look at most of the ingredients in your lip glosses/chapsticks/or any other lip product that you are allergic to, you can almost pinpoint what is causing your bad reactions.  It's different for everyone, so I can't provide an answer for you guys, but I can tell you that I am allergic to Chapstick, Carmex, MAC lipglasses/glosses soft lips, and other random free chapsticks that I had gotten as gifts, ie rosebud's.  I found out that I am allergic to petroleum, and anything that has to do with SPF.   I would try and see if that is the case, and avoid Vaseline, because petroleum jelly is Vaseline.  and for me at least, I can use Vaseline anywhere else, except on my lips.  On wiki there is a list of other things you can use, like coconut oil/butter to soothe chapped lips, or even honey.  
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapped_lips
I would also try and cut back on the usage of chapstick just because, just from my own personal experience, when I use my chapstick too often i end up with more of a chapped lip if i forget my chapstick at home or i just don't have it with me.  As for an allergic reaction to burt's bees, some people have very sensitive skin/lips and are irritated (not allergic) to the peppermint in the chapstick.  I would also try and exfoliate the lips every so often with a sugar and olive oil mixture, as seen on youtube, or just with your toothbrush (VERY gently scrubbing) to keep your lips soft and smooth :] .  

I hope this helps!
681148 tn?1437665191
I've been using shea butter lately.  And, I've been using coconut oil from time to time--same stuff you buy at the health store that you cook with.  

I think part of my problem might be a vitamin B deficiency.  One of the doctors here told me that vitamin B2 and B12 should be supplemented more.  Well, I must need to get a better form of B12 then, because that's the one that it matters which form you use or your body doesn't even take it in and it will go right through you.  These are water soluble vitamins, just so you know.  And, I know it's safe to take high doses of vitamin B2, because that's what my neurologist has me doing as a migraine preventative.  I thought I would mention this, because this could be someone else's source of the problem--on top of being allergic to various lip products.
681148 tn?1437665191
I've been using shea butter lately.  And, I've been using coconut oil from time to time--same stuff you buy at the health store that you cook with.  

I think part of my problem might be a vitamin B deficiency.  One of the doctors here told me that vitamin B2 and B12 should be supplemented more.  Well, I must need to get a better form of B12 then, because that's the one that it matters which form you use or your body doesn't even take it in and it will go right through you.  These are water soluble vitamins, just so you know.  And, I know it's safe to take high doses of vitamin B2, because that's what my neurologist has me doing as a migraine preventative.  I thought I would mention this, because this could be someone else's source of the problem--on top of being allergic to various lip products.
Avatar universal
hey!
i'm 19 and I am not a big lip chap user, but every time I start to use ANY lip product for more than two days my lips go crazy! Like I will get red bumps near them and they become super chapped! So, i switched to regular vaseline (the lip chap and the stuff that comes in the container) but that caused the same effect... so then i switched to olive oil and no success! If you ever do find something PLEASE post it here! The winter makes my lips so dry but I can't use anything because of those disgusting red spots....
Avatar universal
Hey, everyone, thanks for all of your input! I will definitely be trying some of your solutions, like the olive and coconut oil and shea butter. I also wanted to let you know that I ended up trying Vaseline anyway, and it's worked for these past few months. I'm still on the hunt for a better solution, but for now, Vaseline is doing its job without any negative side effects.
1 Comments
I just finished the back patch test at the dermatologist last week. I have had these same issues for over a year now, and it was driving me crazy. Let me tell you, the patch test was NO fun, but in the end it's worth it because I now know exactly what I'm allergic to. They put 71 different chemicals on my back and taped them on for three days and then could tell by how the skin on my back reacted that I have a balsam of peru allergy, a fragrance allergy, and a compositae allergy. This means I have an extremely limited list of lip products and toothpaste, face wash and face lotion I can use. It makes me really sad, but I'm glad I got to the bottom of it. By the way, Vaseline is the only allowed chapstick on my list, so you are on the right track with that.
Avatar universal
hey guys i'm fifteen and am having the same problem with my lips. i started using avon's moisture therapy chapstick and so far it hasn't done anything but it does have SPF and Petrolatum in it. i just started using it a few days ago so i'll let you know if i have a reaction but so far so good.
Avatar universal
Wow I'm not alone.  Amazing!  I've been battling this crazy thing with my lips for almost a year now.  My first symptoms started up after I got a really bad sunburn and started using a lot of chapstick on them to heal them.  But they never cleared up!  I've gotten to the point where I use a chapstick of sorts constantly.  My lips are always dry!   But then when I think they're starting to get better and I just put on a regular pretty lip gloss they start to freak out.  They get all red especially around the edges, and sometimes they get swollen and oozy.   I also constantly get cracks in the corners of my mouth because my skin gets so dry and irritated!  I'm currently desperately searching for some way to clear this up!  I've gone to a doctor who suggested that I may be getting a yeast infection in the corners of my mouth and after giving me cream, it maybe has helps the cracks a little bit but my lips are still dry.  I'm going back to the doctor next week because I'm starting to believe that I have an allergy to something.  So far I'm trying to eliminate lip balms with lanolin.  I also have shown some irritation to products with petrolatum.  Neosporin daily lip treatment, Palmers lip balm, Aquaphor, and Blistex lip renewal seem to help but don't completely alleviate the symptoms.  Neosporin night treatment, carmex, vasoline, chapstick, burts bees, other blistex have all made the symptoms worse!  With all of those products I have experienced the red swollen, peeling lips.  Please keep posting anything that you've tried that helps!
Avatar universal
I am very happy to have found this post because I have the same problem with my lips.  I am 25 yrs old and the same reaction started to occur when I was a senior in high school.  Any type of lip products that I used would cause the same problem: my lips would become really itchy and chapped and then the itchy red bumps would occur.  My doctor referred me to a dermatologist.  He asked me when I used lip products did I find that my lips would still continue to be chapped and I explained the symptoms to him.  He said that I had a skin condition that pretty much doesn't allow me to wear any lip products. He prescribed me this medicine that I had to have made at a compound pharmacy, for a half of tube of this medicine, it cost me like $50...for a full tube $90!  I am sorry to report that I can not remember the name of the medicine but I am sure if you find a decent dermatologist who knows what they are talking about, they will be able to prescribe you the same medicine.  My parents couldn't afford the medicine anymore so I had to find a different remedy to help with my chapped lips.  I noticed on the medicine tube that one of the ingredients was Crisco.  So as gross as it may sound people, I started using Crisco as my lip product and it actually has been working great.  Well not too great because it doesn't last long but it does help with the chapped lips and offers a temporary shine like I have used lipgloss.  My boyfriend has even resorted to using it so he can kiss me.  He is not allowed to kiss me when he has chapstick on becuase I have had small reactions that way as well.  I recommend getting a small container and putting it in there because carrying around a tub of Crisco is not cute and very heavy in your purse and trying to be discreet about using Crisco on your lips is a whole other challenge but it works!  I also found that when I ate fruit, I would have the same reaction so I have been lip product and fruit free for 7 years now.  Well, not exactly fruit free, I will enjoy a glass of orange juice once in a while with no reaction haha.  So be brave and try the Crisco.  Also
when I was using the expensive medicine that was prescribed to me, I googled it and found it was used for some form of ezcema.  I hope this has helped!  Good luck!
Avatar universal
The internet is a wonderful thing. Had no idea so many people had a similar problem. I have been an avid Chapstick wearer for as long as I can remember. Over a month ago, I suddenly developed what I thought was a cold sore on my lips even though at 36 years old, I never had one before. I used Carmex and it didn't get much better- but after a week went away. Then I got another red patch on my lips for a week- and another. I was trying several Chaptsticks, Carmex, Breva, and vaseline finally when nothing seemed to work or make it feel better. Then I wondered if maybe the problem was an allergic reaction rather than a cold sore. I didn't think it was possible to all of a sudden become allergic to something you were always using. By coincidence, I was putting Aquaphor Healing Ointment on my daughter's rash that the pediatrician recommended and I noticed it said for chapped lips too. I tried it. It has been working great for me. It stays on for hours, it doesn't taste like anything, it feels good, and you need just a small drop. My rash went away. This morning, I forgot my Aquaphor at home and grabbed a Chapstick I had in the car. Hours later a rash appeared again. I guess I am allergic to something in Chapstick. I definitely recommend trying Aquaphor.
Avatar universal
I've had this problem too..even to plain ol Chaptick. I think it is the SPF used and lanolin- of all things. The only lipbalm I'm sure does not cause an allergic reaction so far is Badger Balm lipbalms. Try them. :)
Avatar universal
Oh...and plain Vaseline Lip Therapy- *without* spf.. I've tried tons of balms, and basically have narrowed it down to avoiding lanolin and spf.
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