Do Lip Balms Expire? (You’d Be Surprised!)

do lip balms expire

The weather’s been a bit dry lately and you find yourself licking the coffee off your pout only to rub your tongue against rigid cracks and peeling skin.  Yikes!  Time for some lip balm action.  As you rummage through your self care stockade, you finally locate your lip balm from…college?  Is it time to get a new lip balm?

Lip balms do expire, but the length of time that must go by before they’re considered expired all vary depending on the brand and type of lip balm you’re using.  Any lip balms that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide should be tossed after approximately one year.

Depending on the type and brand of lip balm you might be able to swing a few more months out of that bubblegum scented Lip Smacker (who cares if you’re in your 30s?).  This article will go over ways you can tell your lip balm is expired, the different kinds of lip balm and the different expiration dates, and more.

Can I Use Expired Carmex?

Technically you can use expired Carmex, but it loses its effectiveness over time.  Carmex recommends that you pitch the balm after six or twelve months, depending on what’s stamped onto the tubes (you should see a 6M or 12M marked on the tube to indicate how long you should wait to throw them out). 

If you want the full effectiveness of Carmex which includes for most tubes UV protection and moisturizing effects, you should be sure to use it within its expiration recommendations.  Carmex may also build up bacteria on the rim of the bottle over time, so it’s important to clean these areas off routinely.

As benign as it may seem to use expired Carmex, it may be best to err on the side of caution and refrain from using it.  Carmex is known to have quite a few irritating ingredients that may cause inflammation to some people who have skin or lip sensitivities.  Expired irritating ingredients would likely exacerbate these reactions.

How Long Does A Carmex Tube Last?

Carmex usually has an expiration date stamped onto the closed end of the tube.  If you can not locate the expiration date on your tube, you should try to locate a PAO, or Period After Opening symbol.  Most likely, these will look like a 6M or 12M, which indicates that 6 or 12 months after opening you should dispose of the product.

Some Carmex lip balms have expiration dates printed horizontally across the closed end of the tube.  Other tubes of Carmex have the expiration date printed right underneath the brand image.  Some tubes even have the expiration date printed on the ridges on the very outer part of the closed end of the tube.  

Is It OK To Use Expired Lip Balm?

Generally speaking, it is recommended by most brands and experts to throw away any lip products (including lip balms) one year after they’ve been opened.  This is recommended because after time passes and you continuously use your lip balm, fungi and bacteria can build up, causing irritation and skin issues.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering the use of expired lip balm is that the ingredients can break down once the balm is past its expiration date, lessening the effectiveness of the formula

If you choose to use expired lip balm despite its expiration date you may risk experiencing burning or itching lips.  Your lip balm may also begin to develop a rancid smell and after viruses, fungi and bacteria building up you could contract cold sores.  Keeping all this in mind, it’s advised not to use expired lip balms. 

Why Carmex Is Not Good For Your Lips 

Carmex can be damaging to lips- especially if they’re sensitive to makeup and other topical products.  The camphor in Carmex lip balm can cause allergies in some people.  Those with allergies to camphor in Carmex may exhibit symptoms such as redness and inflammation on their lips.  

Carmex also comes with other ingredients such as menthol which can be equally as irritating to those with sensitive lips.  Besides menthol and camphor, Carmex also contains propolis (a growing allergy), lanolin (an alcohol derived from wool), salicylic acid (a possibly irritating exfoliant) and benzocaine.

Sometimes people who are allergic to Carmex exhibit symptoms that mimic the need for applying more of the substance- burning lips, itching, peeling, redness, etc.  This can unknowingly cause further issues for the person applying it.  Carmex can also cause the following symptoms for those allergic:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warming Sensation
  • Oozing Of Lips
  • Bleeding
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • General Skin Irritation
  • Peeling Of Lip Skin

It is plain to see that Carmex is a lip product you should use with caution until you know how it reacts with your body.  Other severe side effects of allergy to Carmex can include:

  • Tightness In Chest or Throat
  • Blisters On Lips
  • Unusual Hoarseness 
  • Fever
  • Rash 
  • Hives
  • Trouble Talking
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Trouble Swallowing  

Does Lip Chap Expire?

Lip chaps tend to expire after approximately two years, but the exact time until expiration differs depending on the brand and ingredients used in the product.  ChapStick products have a two-year expiration date.  

According to other sources, chapsticks do not expire although experts recommend to pitch them after one year.  If expiration dates are not printed on the labels of the lip chaps you are using, they likely do not expire at all.  Despite this, your lip chap may be less fresh and therefore degrade in quality.

Lip chap with preservatives tend not to expire as quickly as with those that have little to none.  You should keep in mind that if you are going to apply expired lip chap, the taste and smell may have changed from what they originally were.


Even though lip balms and lip chaps can be used past their expiration dates, it’s not recommended to do so.  Additionally, products such as Carmex contain lots of irritating ingredients that when applied even before the expiration date could bring about undesirable effects.

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