Moisturizing your lips is an essential part of skin care routine in autumns and winters. Healthy lip skin not only makes your lips soft and dewy, it also enhances your makeup. In these seasons, lip balms are the must have items to save your lips from dryness.
That being said though, using the wrong lip products may cause allergy or even cheilitis. It doesn’t look good to have peeling lips, does it? Besides, we may swallow lip balms on our lips when having meals. This is why we have to know which lip balm products are the right and safe ones.
To find out the truth, Test-it™ selected 31 most popular lip balm products in the market and joined hands with a professional laboratory to perform safety test using the world leading bio-testing technology Testing 2.0. Based on the test results, it rated 16 products as Green Fish (Excellent), 4 products as Yellow Fish (Basic) and 11 products as Red Fish (Sub-optimal).
The results showed that over 60% of low-priced samples passed the bio-testing, demonstrating high cost and safety performance. Meanwhile, the test also found that Asian brands are safer than brands from other places. Samples rated Red Fish contain allergens and certain sun protection lip balms even contain estrogenic endocrine disruptors that cause allergy and affect health.
According to the World Health Organization and United Nations, choosing the wrong product could cause cancers, infertility, precocious puberty, obesity and neurological disorders. Test-it™ provides clear, direct test reports with lifestyle tips. Equipped with scientific and objective information, consumers can make safer purchasing choices. Stay tuned for more interesting facts.
Interesting Facts of Lip Balms
Findings of Test-it™
Samples are classified into high-priced, mid-priced and low-priced ones and the results are as follows:
Among the 31 samples selected, the most expensive one costs 56.86HKD/g, which is around 26 times of the cheapest one that costs 2.2HKD/g. The average price of the samples is 15.3HKD/g.
Over 60% of the low-priced samples passed the safety test of Test-it™. This indicates that low-priced products are safer than mid- and high-priced ones, as more than half of the mid- and high-priced samples failed the bio-test.
Test-it™ conducted test on brands mainly from Asia, Europe, America and Oceania.
Test-it™ found that Asian brands have better safety performance as compared with brands from other regions, with over 60% of Asian brands passed the bio-test and were rated Green Fish.
In terms of product origins, we selected lip balms mainly produced in China, Korea, Japan, France, Germany, the USA, New Zealand and Australia for testing.
Among the 31 samples selected for the test, 8 of them claimed to offer sun protection.
Q: Why do we need lip balms that offer sun protection?
A: Our lips are extremely delicate. Without the protection of pigment, our lips are far susceptible to sun damage than other body parts. Moreover, cosmetics like lip glosses magnify UV light and increase the chance of sunburn on lips.
Hence, manufacturers of lip balms add sun protection function to their products to block sunlight.
The bio-test found that 7 out of 8 sun protection lip balms failed the chronic toxicity test and were rated Red Fish.
Various chemical ingredients for sun protection are found in Red Fish samples, including Benzophenone-3 (found in 6 samples), Octinoxate (found in 8 samples), Octocrylene (found in 2 samples), Homosalate, Ethylhexyl dimethyl PABA, Ethylhexyl Salicylate and Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. These ingredients are estrogenic endocrine disruptors that may cause toxic reaction.
The World Health Organization and United Nations have pointed out that estrogenic endocrine disruptors may cause various diseases, such as cancer, fertility reduction, neurol ogical disorders, precocious puberty and diabetes.
Meanwhile, Test-it™ found that certain samples of well-known international brands have an estrogenic endocrine disruptor level that was 11 times higher than its safety standards.
8 samples failed the acute toxicity test, while the most toxic sample has an acute toxicity level that is over 24 times higher than Test-it™’s safety standard.
Test-it™ found that the chemical ingredients contained in the samples, such as Vitamin A palmitate, Dibutylhydroxytoluene and Citral, may cause skin allergy and even cancer. These ingredients not only pose risks on their own, but also increase toxicity when mixed with other ingredients. Benzophenone-3, which is the estrogenic endocrine disruptor detected in the chronic toxicity test, is also tested positive in the acute toxicity test.
[Interesting facts] Vitamin A palmitate is an anti-oxidizing and anti-corrosive derivative of Vitamin A. However, medical evidence suggested that Vitamin A is the cause of fetal deformity. In 2012, the Minister of Health and Care Services of Norway warned pregnant women and breastfeeding mums against the use of products with Vitamin A.
Long-term and excessive use of products containing acute toxicity may lead to allergy or cancer. As the lip skin is thinner, it is easier for toxic substances to enter our body. Thus, consumers are recommended to pick reliable and safe lip balms.
Test-it™ found that 15 out of 31 samples contained paraffin in the form of petrolatum, mineral oil, microcrystalline wax and paraffin wax.
With its excellent sealing nature, paraffin can block moisture evaporating from skin. Thus, it is a common moisturizer added to skincare products. However, substandard paraffin not only fails to moisturize skin effectively, but also dries skin, which leads to peeling lips and skin allergy.
In addition, many lip balm products have pleasant smell. Among the products tested, 21 samples were found to contain fragrances. For example, Red Fish products contain fragrances that may cause contact dermatitis, such as Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Linalool and Citronellol. These chemicals may lead to skin allergy and pruritus.
It is easy for us to absorb or swallow lip balm applied on lips. Therefore, Test-it™ warns against the use of lip balm products with poor quality or fragrances that may affect health.
Conventional chemical test 1.0 and the basic regulations only reflects the basic requirement for a product’s market entry. The mission of Test-it™ is to further improve product safety with world leading technology Testing 2.0. Though horizontal analysis in similar products, Test-it™ provides consumers with information and data for better consumer choices. Products are categorised as Green Fish, Yellow Fish and Red Fish according to test results.
Test-it™ has developed a high standard as a third party consumer goods evaluation platform. Developed by an experienced research and development team and an advisory board of toxicology experts from 12 countries, Test-it™ references from the global standard of China, EU, the U.S., Japan, WHO and OECD. With the application of fish embryo toxicity (FET) test technology (Testing 2.0), The standard of Test-it™ could be higher than the existing regulations.
Market research and product
Test-it selected 31 best selling lipbalm products brands by analysing sales and attention span from the Test-it fans group. The research is conducted in both e-commerce platform and physical store.
Purchasing Method and Channel
All tested samples were purchased by Test-it as a common customer. Samples were purchased from the brands’ official beauty counters and their globally recognised sales channels ( official flagship stores ) on major E-commerce platforms ( JD, Tmall, Koala, Amazon) . All sample were purchased anonymously.In order to maintain neutrality and objectiveness, Test-it reports will not accept products submitted by manufactures.
1、 Transgenic medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants
2、Zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants
Vitargent adopts an exclusive ingredients screening system comparing restricted and high risk ingredients regulated by the CODEX Alimentarius of the WHO&FAO, USFDA, EU, Food and Drug Administration of Japan and China to further enhance product safety.
Ingredient Screening: Products must not contain any chemicals that are associated with health complications, eco-toxicity, or contamination by scientific safety evaluations, or are banned by the following governmental agencies and authoritative bodies.
US: USFDA’s ‘Summary of colour additives for use in the United States in foods, drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices’, ‘Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients’, and 'Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS)'.
EU: European Commission Nos. 1333/2008, 1223/2009, 1129/2011, and 1130/2011, and Candidate List of substances of very high concern for Authorisation (SVHC) by European Chemicals Agency (2017).
China: China FDA’s ‘Safety and Technical Standard for Cosmetics’ (2015), and 'National food safety standards: food additive standard (GB2760-2014).
Japan: Japan’s ‘Standards for Cosmetics’ (2000), and 'Standard for use of food additives (2017)
WHO&FAO: CODEX Alimentarius
Results Analyzing Method
|Category||Medaka embryo testing for chronic toxicants||Zebrafish embryo testing for acute toxicants||Ingredients check|
|Pass WHO guideline on Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)||No LC50 (50% fish death) detected at highest concentration||No banned or high concernedingredients|
||Pass WHO guideline on Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)||LC50 detected within highest centration to Vitargent category-based reference line||No banned but contain high concerned ingredients|
||Fail (reading exceed ADI or over 50% fish death at Vitargent category-based reference line )||LC50 detected below Vitargent category-based reference line||Contain banned ingredients|
|Hong Kong Technological Achievement Award(2014)||Davos Global Innovation Pioneer (2015)||Geneva International Inventions 43rd Grand Prix Winner (2015)||World Intellectual Property Organization Gold Medal (2016)||APEC & GIC Future Maker (2016)||Unreasonable Impact (2017)|