Is Carmex Bad For You? Here’s The Truth

If you are one of those who have constantly struggled with chapped or dry lips, then you must have stumbled upon the famous yellow-capped jars, Carmex. Like Vaseline, Carmex has made rounds online for its distinctive medicated wonders on chapped lips. 

is Carmex bad for you

But amongst all the good buzz it created, some people started questioning – is Carmex bad for you? Are there chances that it may harm you more than good? Let’s answer that question with a proper report on Carmex and the real truth behind these claims.

Is Carmex Bad For You | Here’s The Truth

About Carmex

So, what exactly is Carmex? Carmex is a well-known brand of lip balm. Since it was revealed to the world, the lip balm has become a staple in terms of lip care. Developed by Alfred Woelbing, who created a formula in his kitchen to address his own problems with his lips. 

Fast forward a few years, and Carmex has become a go-to remedy for people who want relief from dry and chapped lips. One of the major things it is known for is its distinctive formula that includes Menthol, Camphor, Petrolatum, and other important ingredients. Let’s learn about those to decide if we are putting the right thing on our lips or indirectly destroying them.

What’s Inside Carmex 

Carmex features a blend of ingredients that work together to relieve dry and chapped lips. Let’s look at some ingredients that benefit your lips, while some can be potentially harmful.

Beneficial Ingredients 

White Petrolatum

This is the main active ingredient present in Carmex. Being an occlusive agent, it forms a protective barrier on the skin’s surface and locks in moisture so there is no water loss. This keeps your lips hydrated, which is very important for dry lips. 

This barrier can also prevent environmental irritants like pollutants, etc., from disturbing your lips. White petrolatum also has some soothing properties that help with dryness and irritation. 


Lanolin is another super beneficial ingredient because of its moisturizing properties. The excellent emollient properties of Lanolin locks in moisture and prevents dryness. This is important when fighting dry lips because dryness can happen because of a lack of lipids, making water escape from the skin. Lanolin is rich in lipids, which fight this problem and rejuvenate the skin.

Carmex benefits


Menthol is one of the most talked-about ingredients in Carmex. It is used for its cooling and refreshing properties that soothe dry skin. Derived from peppermint oil, Menthol ensures a sense of refreshment and revitalization in your skin. 


Camphor, another controversial ingredient in Carmex, is known for its soothing relief and has been used for a long, long time. Its soothing relief properties include mild pain along with itch relief. Like Menthol, camphor also cools your skin, temporarily relieving mild itching or pain. 

The Harmful Ingredients In Carmex

A couple of ingredients can not be a good choice in Carmex because of their potential harm to your lips. Let’s get to know about them.


As you know, Phenol serves as an antiseptic; however, it can be harsh on the skin and cause burning sensations for some users. Prolonged use of phenol can also lead to your skin turning more dry or make your skin start peeling. This makes it a controversial ingredient, especially for sensitive skin.


Though Camphor benefits your skin by providing relief and a cooling effect, it can also have potential risks. When you use lip balms with Camphor for a long time, there are chances of ingesting it, obviously in tiny amounts. However, this ingestion of camphor can be toxic, especially for children. It can also dry out your lips and disrupt the natural moisture barrier.

Salicylic Acid 

Though it is good for its exfoliating properties by removing dead skin cells, it can also cause dryness and irritation. Overusing salicylic acid can lead to further chapping of the lips instead of your regular moisturizing effect.



Similar to Phenol, some claims say that prolonged use of menthol actually dries out your lips. And when your lips are dried out, you must repeatedly apply lip balms, therefore trapped in the cycle. For sensitive skin, menthol can hurt your lips by causing irritation or burning sensations.

Benefits of Carmex

  • One of the major benefits offered by Carmex is its moisturizing properties.
  • It helps fight dryness and keeps your lips hydrated.
  • Ingredients like menthol and camphor promote soothing and cooling effects.
  • These effects are especially beneficial when your skin is very itchy or irritated.
  • It heals chapped lips.
  • It reduces discomfort and makes your lips feel better.
  • The emollient-rich formula gives your lips long-lasting protection.
  • A good layer of Carmex can protect your lips and act as a shield from further damage.


  • One of the most common drawbacks is the inclusion of menthol and camphor in the ingredients. This is because of their tendency to irritate sensitive skin, and some users can feel burning sensations or allergic reactions.
  • Another drawback that has been going around on the internet is the dependency of the lip balm. The formula may dry out your lips when you stop using it. This creates a life-long cycle of reapplication and can give you an overuse scare.

Common Myths

Carmex contains glass particles

If you’ve known Carmex for a long time, you must have heard about this rumor or, more like, a myth that says Carmex formula has glass particles. Why did this rumor start? Many people felt tingling sensations on their lips when they applied Carmex, and it was believed that the formula contained glass particles that created micro-cuts. However, this is said to be completely false because the brand has already claimed that the tingling sensations are from menthol and camphor, not from any harmful particles.

Carmex Bad For You

Dependency Issue

Many users feel that Carmex dries out their lips over time, so they can repeatedly reapply it. However, Carmex works to moisturize, protect, and heal your chapped lips so they look and feel better. Some claims suggest that if your lips feel dry whenever you stop using them, it could be because your lips may have become habitual to the lip balm’s deep moisturization.

User Experiences – Is Carmex Bad For You

Let’s look at some of the user experiences so you can get a better idea of whether Carmex is bad for you.

A user commented, ‘This stuff is actually not recommended by my doctor. I had been using the Carmex balm for a while, mostly as an alternative to Blistex or Chapstick. But when I visited my dermatologist, he said some of the ingredients were causing irritation to my lips. The ingredient could possibly be camphor. The doc recommended that I go back to plain Vaseline, not this.

Another user, ButtahPecanRican, shared, ‘Hands down, this is the best lip product for dry, chapped, or crusty lips. It brings back your lips to life, like reviving them. It also makes sure that your lips are very smooth. This excellent formula is very affordable as well. I highly recommend this product and would keep purchasing it repeatedly. This has to be my favorite lip product!

User Experiences - Is Carmex Bad For You

A user named DeAthWaGer wrote, ‘You really need to avoid salicylic acid for your lips. Guys, we need to know this by now! You get addicted to it because you keep exfoliating your lips and keep making it bad. Swear people would use it even if they put this stuff in eye drops!

Another user shared, ‘My husband and I have been using Carmex for several years and always ensure it is stocked up well before winter. It protects our lips from getting dry or chapped. This is better than everything we have ever tried. We make sure we never run out of it!’

FAQs | Is Carmex Bad For You

Is it bad to use Carmex all the time?

Using Carmex always may not necessarily be bad; however, it depends on the individual’s skin type and needs. Camphor, menthol, and phenol can have their own benefits, but these ingredients can also be harsh and dry for some skin types, such as susceptible skin. Moreover, overusing Carmex can have potential risks in the long run, such as indirect ingestion of these ingredients.

Does Carmex have side effects?

Carmex is considered safe. However, some users may experience some side effects because of their skin type and the ingredients present in the formula. The tingling sensation from camphor and menthol can be irritating or uncomfortable for some users. Some of them may also feel burning sensations or skin irritations. Though rare, a few users may also experience allergic reactions to the ingredients.

Why is Carmex popular?

Carmex has become very popular among lip care products because of its effective formula containing petrolatum, menthol, camphor, and beeswax. These provide deep moisturization to your lips while giving your dry and chapped lips a sigh of relief with their soothing and calming effects. Carmex’s tingling sensations have also made the formula distinctive among other lip products. 

Final Words

So, is Carmex bad for you? It’s all about the mix of ingredients that offer benefits and some risks you may not know about. Now that you do, it is important to know that while it can be very effective for many users, those with sensitive skin or allergies may not like it. It’s all about what you and your skin prefer. You gotta be mindful about your skin’s reaction to the ingredients present in the formula. 

If you are one of those who avoid petroleum-based products in lip balms, because what you apply on your lips, you ingest it as well, obviously not knowingly! So, getting these harmful products in your system may not be a good idea.

However, if you notice any adverse effects or irritations, visit your dermatologist. There are many natural ingredients-based lip products or even natural remedies available that you can try for your dry and chapped lips. So if you ever feel products like these harm you, don’t be shy about trying nature’s gifts on you!

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About Parker Olivia

Hey, it's Olivia! I'm the one steering the ship over at "Skinastra," and we're on this skincare adventure together. Growing up in the lively mix of New York City, I got hooked on skincare thanks to the melting pot of cultures around me. After grabbing a degree in Cosmetic Chemistry from New York University, I'm all about unraveling the secrets to that glowing beauty and making sure you're in on the discoveries too. 

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