EOS Lip Balm is in Hot Water. Could it be Because of Hidden Ingredients?

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Aaah yes, the pretty little round lip glosses that you see everywhere... even Britney Spears has endorsed them.:

EOS, which stands for "Evolution of Smooth", has come under fire by more than one woman whose lips ended up with blisters, redness, dryness and inflammation. You can see those photos here and here.

Nicole Emily Caggiano and Rachel Cronin (I feel your pain, ladies - literally) are the two women the media is associating with this lawsuit at the moment. The lawsuit is technically "Rachel Cronin, on Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated VS. EOS Products". It's a class action lawsuit. 

If you check out the EOS social media pages, you'll see TONS of people complaining about how the various flavors have messed up their lips. It seems like for most people it takes a day for the reactions to start and can take a while to heal.

EOS claims that their lip balms will give you "visibly softer lips" and have managed to get a lot of big name celebrities to endorse their product. Between that and the packaging, they've done a great job at marketing. Of course, I was well aware that they were available, but figured the cute little spheres were probably full of chemicals I'm allergic to. I didn't even bother to check their ingredient label. Now, I have!

Here's what listed on the ingredient label for their coconut flavor:

The asterisk means organic, which isn't mentioned in the list but I saw it on another flavor of lip balm.

News sources are asking dermatologists what could cause this and they seem to be saying it's contact dermatitis, which totally makes sense. It definitely looks similar to my allergic contact dermatitis (aka eczema) when it gets really bad. I also get blisters and that yellowish ooze as things start to go downhill. As my eczema heals, my skin gets really dry and can begin to crack.

So, what could people be reacting to? Doctors are thinking maybe it's the shea butter which are made from shea nuts and are on the FDA's allergen list. This could be the answer.

I also noticed these on the ingredient list:

  • natural flavor
  • stevia rebaudiana leaf / stem extract

BOTH OF THOSE THINGS INCLUDE HIDDEN INGREDIENTS!!!!

I'm really interested to see how this plays out because here's my issue with this whole thing...

MOST OF THESE PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE REACTING TO IN THIS LIP BALM!!!

When it comes down to it, we can get mad all day long, but if we have an allergy to a chemical (like myselg) and it's listed there on their ingredient list... We can't reeeally legally blame our allergic reaction on anybody. Now, the fact that it contains a very common allergen without a warning label seems wrong, right? .... except that the FDA handles food and drug.... not makeup (except when it comes to color additives). So, apparently it's not the FDA's job to tell you what's in your makeup and whether it's safe or not.

THIS COULD BE THE PERFECT CASE TO PROVE THAT HIDDEN INGREDIENTS SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

For example, propylene glycol and a long list of other chemicals are allowed in modified food starch. You'd NEVER know it from the label, though! I had to learn the hard way when it ended up being in my vitamins (which aren't regulated by the FDA either). While we're on the topic of propylene glycol, extracts are often dissolved into PG. It's an odorless, tasteless liquid (which freezes at a lower temperature than water).

Don't even get me started on the term "natural". It was probably 2010 when I was searching and searching for the FDA's definition of "natural". Know what I found? THEY DON'T HAVE ONE! Crazy, right? And why wouldn't they have one? On the FDA's website, they state why:

“From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”
— U.S. Food and Drug Administration

 

We NEED to know what we're putting on our skin and therefore into our bloodstream (Yup! That's how "the patch" works, you know?).

This is what they're charging EOS with in the lawsuit (per a screenshot of the case that The Independent published):

  • Violations of Consumer Legal Remedies
  • Violations of Unfair Business Practices Act
  • Breach of Express Warranty
  • Breach of Implied Warranty
  • Unjust Enrichment
  • Fraud - Intentional Misrepresentation and Concealment of Fact
  • Injunctive Relief

I can understand how all these people with horribly painful lips are mad as hell because EOS says that their lip balms create visibly smoother lips... I have a similar beef with Garnier Fructis's products. But I have to wonder... what about the other side of the coin?

Every product touts whatever its function is in order for people to know why they're buying it, right? Even though an amazing amount of people have allergies and/or eczema... we are the minority. Companies are most likely going to  market toward the majority, sadly for people with allergies and/or eczema.

I'm not saying I think it's ok. I think companies should absolutely consider which ingredients go into their product and try to use as little ingredients as absolutely possible. My body cream doesn't NEED to smell like flowers, you know? 

What I want to know is:

  • Have Nicole and Rachel done extensive allergy patch testing?
  • Will they do so in order to figure out what's going on?
  • What exactly are all of the hidden ingredients in EOS lip balms?

After we know what people are allergic to and we know EVERY SINGLE ingredient in the balm... we can start to figure out why this is actually happening. Maybe it's the shea nuts! Maybe it' something else...

Another thing people are complaining about is finding mold within the little spherical case. *SHUDDER*  Mold is so incredibly dangerous to our health. I don't want its spores anywhere near me or my lips.

EOS has some explaining to do because they have SO MANY PEOPLE coming at them. EOS has actually released a statement on social media:

Let the games begin! I hope this EOS lip balm issue causes everybody to question the regulations on things like makeup, food and everything else.

Our laws need to be more strict!

HIDDEN INGREDIENTS NEED TO BE BANNED.

We are doing our health a disservice! I mean... pardon my French but WTF?

Have YOU used EOS? Had any bad reactions?

If you've had a bad reaction to EOS lip balm, please send in your stories through the form below and I'll publish them right here on the blog: