Why Does My ChapStick Smell Bad? Can Chapstick Get Contaminated?

Asian woman applying hygienic lip balm over grey background
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You go to apply your ChapStick to your lips, and you inhale before you start to put it on, and whoa, what is that?

You might ask yourself why does my ChapStick Smell bad?

The answer to this is fairly simple, and it’s probably what you thought first. Your ChapStick has likely gone off and should be tossed.

Read on to learn how to tell it’s bad, and whether you can still use it.


What Does Your ChapStick Smell Weird?

Your ChapStick is starting to smell odd because it is either deteriorating from heat or age, or it has become contaminated with something unsavory. 

Like all other lip products, such as lipgloss, your ChapStick or other lip balm have to stay sterile and clean so that it’s safe to use and doesn’t go bad. At the end of each day, it’s a good idea to wipe your ChapStick down with alcohol to remove any germs and unwanted contaminants. 

Expired ChapStick

It’s quite easy to tell whether or not your ChapStick has expired, and there are a couple of methods for doing so. First and foremost, you should check the expiry date to see when your lip balm is set to expire – if it’s past that date, you should consider getting your hands on a fresh tube.

If you aren’t able to see the expiry date for some reason, you can still determine whether or not the balm has gone bad. Look for mold, discoloration, odd smells, and changes in the product’s texture. If you find any of these things, then it’s time to throw your old ChapStick away and get a fresh one. 

Look for mold, discoloration, odd smells, and changes in the product’s texture. If you find any of these things, then it’s time to throw your old ChapStick away and get a fresh one. 

Lip balms like ChapStick certainly do expire.

Can You Use Expired ChapStick?

Not really.

For any lip product, it’s best to use it for no longer than a year after opening it. Expired lip products like lip balms can carry fungus and bacteria, which can cause some nasty issues and irritation to the skin around your lips. 

It’s also not healthy to be ingesting these contaminants, and you’d be surprised at just how much ChapStick ends up inside your body when you put some on.

So, don’t put it on your lips when your lip balm starts to smell bad. 

Old ChapStick Can Make You Sick

You may not know, but putting expired or unclean chapstick – on your lips can make you ill. It is more than possible for viruses to live and thrive on lip products; if those viruses enter your body, you could get sick. 

Does lip balm make your lips more chapped?

While lip balms’ formulation generally contains mostly hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, some are known to contain other ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction — and even a burning sensation. This reaction can manifest in the form of dermatitis of the lips and is often caused by flavoring ingredients and an ingredient called lanolin. 

So, if you are struggling with chapped and dry lips, you may want to consider picking out a lip balm approved by doctors and dermatologists.

Cheap balms available at drugstores often contain ingredients that can cause allergic reactions. 

How Often Should You Apply Lip Balm?

If you are using lip balms to rehydrate your dry lips, you should reapply for the product every two hours.

If your lips become wet during that time, then apply your preferred lip balm sooner. 

We often remember applying sunscreen to our faces and body when we step outside into the sun. Still, many of us forget the importance of protecting our lips from cracks, dryness, and sun damage. That’s why we recommend getting your hands on a lip balm containing SPF to provide maximum protection from UV rays.

How often should you get a new lip balm?

We’ve already mentioned that lip balms do expire, but there’s no universal rule or duration for that expiration date. When it comes to lip balms that contain sun protectants like SPF, we recommend throwing your old balm away and getting a new replacement after one year. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).