Natalia Lusinski
Updated Feb 06, 2016 @ 11:41 am
Credit: Shutterstock

Ever wonder why Carmex is so… addictive? If you’re like us, you can’t get enough of the cupcake-y scent. But it turns out the reason for our wanting Carmex on all the time has to do with more than alleviating our chapped lips. We all may be allergic to it. What?

Growing up, rumor had it that Carmex was so addictive because it was made from cut glass (!) or formaldehyde (!), and this put some kind of spell on us and subconsciously made us want to use it more and more. But, The Cut recently spoke to dermatologists to dispel that myth, as well as get to the bottom of some others.

Dermatologists went through some of the key actual ingredients in Carmex that may be aggravating our lips — and these are thee same ones that keep us breaking out our tubes and tubs of the lip balm. For instance, the same ingredients that make our mouths all tingly—the menthol and camphor—are ones many people are allergic to, which causes one’s mouth to be more sensitive and sting a bit. So, the issue comes in when we can no longer decipher if Carmex is making our mouths feel better… or worse? I’m going to go with better.

Other Carmex ingredients can cause lip sensitivity, too, including beeswax (which contains propolis, a common allergen), lanolin, cetyl alcohol, benzocaine, and salicylic acid (you may recognize this one from acne soaps and medications).

“Carmex has many irritating ingredients that can cause inflammation in the lip area in people with sensitive lips,” dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe told The Cut. “These ingredients can cause people to feel as though they need to reapply a lip balm more frequently, so it feels like an addiction.” Ah-ha! Our addiction explained.

Overall, the dermatologists gave their blessing for people to keep using Carmex. “It’s not all evil and helps a million people,” dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss of Patricia Wexler Dermatology told The Cut. “But people might want to try something more pure, like vaseline.” Umm… No thank you and BRB—I need my Carmex fix.