We all have at least one tube of lip balm stashed in our bag, car, desk, or bathroom cabinet. Lip balm seems to last forever. But should you be using the lip balm you found at the bottom of your beach bag you haven’t used since last summer? Does lip balm expire?
It does, but expiration periods vary. Generally, you shouldn’t use a lip balm that was opened more than a year ago, particularly if it has SPF.
In this article, we are going to do a deep dive on lip balm, how to tell if it’s expired. We’ll also look at lip balm’s benefits and lesser-known uses.
What is Lip Balm?
Lip balm, also known as a salve or butter, is a wax-like substance that is applied topically to help heal dry or chapped lips and lock in moisture. Every lip balm is different and the ingredients will vary between brands.
Some of the most commonly used active ingredients in lip balms that help soothe and combat dry, chapped lips are beeswax, cocoa butter, oils, honey, and shea butter.
Does Lip Balm Expire?
Lip balm does expire, but the expiration date and timeline for one isn’t necessarily the same for another. Much depends on the ingredients in the product. The more ingredients in the lip balm, the sooner it is likely to expire.
Some lip balms stamp the expiration date on the closed end of the tube. That makes it easier!
If you can’t find an expiration date, check for a ‘Period After Opening’, or POA, symbol.
These often look like small containers with “6M or 12M” on them, meaning you should not keep them past 6 months or 12 months after you open them.
Any lip balm containing SPF should be replaced after a year. The SPF ingredients in the lip balm will weaken and not actually protect your lips from sun exposure after that time frame.
And generally, it’s a good idea to replace lip balm after it’s been opened for more than a year.
Once a lip balm has been opened and exposed to the air, your lips, fingers, and anything else it might come into contact with begins to breed bacteria.
Since lip balm is in direct contact with your mouth, any bacteria on your mouth can transfer to the stick itself and continue to grow.
If you use a lip balm that comes in a tin, jar, or plastic container, your fingers are passing bacteria into the tin and back onto your lips.
Be sure to always wash your hands before touching your lip balm! This will help extend its life and keep it from getting contaminated.
What Happens if You Use Expired Lip Balm?
Even if your lip balm shows a longer expiration date (or if there isn’t one, or it’s been worn off), we recommend using it for only a year after it’s been opened.
Expired lip balm can have bacteria and fungus, which can lead to skin issues, irritation, burning lips, etc. — especially if your skin is sensitive.
Time to Restock!
If you’ve just read this and realize you’ve been using the lip balm you found under the seat when you were cleaning out your car and have no idea when you bought it, no worries!
This is a great excuse to go shopping and check out the latest lip balm products that will have your lips smooth and supple for this summer.
Protect your lips with these moisturizing and UV fighting balms:
The Benefits of Lip Balm
Lip balm should be on everyone’s list of beauty essentials. Here are just some of the benefits of applying lip balm:
For Chapped Lips – Lip balm is probably most often used to soothe dry, chapped lips or to prevent your lips from becoming dry and chapped.
For Supple, Youthful Lips – Lip balm helps to keep your lips moisturized and will help soften fine lines around your mouth so you can maintain youthful and supple lips.
Sun Protection – a lip balm with SPF will protect your vulnerable lips from the sun’s harmful rays.
As a Base for Lipstick – Applying lip balm underneath your lipstick will allow your lipstick to go on super smoothly. For matte lipstick, use only a thin layer of lip balm and let it dry before applying your lipstick. It can help make your lips plumper, naturally!
Instead of lipstick – using a tinted lip balm is the perfect substitute for lipstick, giving you a hint of color. Add a lip liner and you can get a great lipstick-free look!
Keeps New Skin Cells Protected – You were probably not aware that when you sleep, your lips rise in temperature to flush out any toxins and produce new skin cells. This causes your lips to lose moisture overnight.
Applying lip balm before bed will keep your lips nice and moisturized and the new skin cells being produced will be protected.
Uses of lip balm that have nothing to do with your lips
Lip balm has uses you probably didn’t even know about.
For Dry Nose – Those who love cold weather activities use lip balm around their noses to prevent that area from getting dry/chapped. You can also use it if you have a cold to prevent raw, dry, and cracked skin around your nostrils from all the nose blowing and tissue rubbing.
For Raw and Blistered areas – To prevent or relieve the discomfort of blisters often accompanied by a new pair of shoes, you can apply some lip balm to all the places where the shoes are rubbing.
Removing Stuck Rings – If you can’t remove a ring from your finger, rub some lip balm on the parts of the finger above and below the ring and then push it, pull it, and spin it until it comes off. Works every time!
Sealing cuts – You can seal small cuts and wounds with lip balm. It will help to keep the cut clean if you don’t have a bandage on hand.
Loose shoelaces – You can solve the problem of shoelaces that keep coming untied by applying some lip balm to the knot right after tying your shoes and then pulling the knot as tight as possible.
Flyaway Hair – A simple trick for taming your flyaway hair is to use a light coat of lip balm on your palms and then run your palms over your hair. You can also use lip balm to style unruly eyebrows directly from the tube.
Stuck Zippers – If you’re having trouble with a zipper, simply rub some lip balm above and below it and start pulling up and down. A few pulls should be enough to loosen it up.
As an Eyeshadow Base – You can replace those expensive products that are sold as eyeshadow bases by applying some lip balm to your eyelids, before you apply eyeshadow, to improve the color and hold.
If you are going to be using lip balm for any of the above, you should use a separate one for your lips.