Popular EOS Lip Balm Causes Blisters, Lawsuit Claims

January 14, 2016
Amy Jacob

Cold months call for winter essentials: coats, boots, accessories, and trusty lip balm – but what happens when the more you apply it, the drier your lips become?

Cold months call for winter essentials: coats, boots, accessories, and trusty lip balm — but what happens when the more you apply it, the drier your lips become?

Evolution of Smooth, more commonly known as EOS, is “anything but smooth,” according to a class action lawsuit filed earlier this week in Los Angeles.

The suit claims the company’s “Summer Fruit” line of the lip balm caused blisters and a rash on the mouth of one customer, Rachel Cronin.

According to the suit, Cronin’s lips became “substantially dry and coarse” — like “sandpaper” – within hours of her first application of the lip balm, causing her to apply more of the balm on her lip in hopes of achieving the promised results of becoming “sensationally smooth.”

Cronin’s lips began cracking at the edges, and by the next day, the surrounding skin had “Severe blistering and rashes causing her to seek medical care on Dec. 7, 2015. “

According to the lawsuit, the condition lased nearly 10 days.

EOS uses and pays celebrity “brand ambassadors” like Britney Spears, Hillary Duff, Kim Kardashian, and Miley Cyrus, and others, to promote its colorful looking pods.

The manufacturers tweeted its reaction to the suit:

We want to assure our valued customers and fans that the health and well-being of our customers is our top priority. pic.twitter.com/K1CXmUj8ON

— eos (@eos) January 13, 2016

While the company claims its lip balm products are 99% natural, organic, and gluten free, many dermatologists commented that even “natural, organic, and gluten free” products can still cause irritability or allergic reactions.

On the subject of allergic contact dermatitis, Apple Bodemer, MD, assistant professor of dermatology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, told NBC News, “Contact reactions are not that uncommon and can even happen with natural products.”

Furthermore, Whitney Bowe, MD, Advanced Dermatology practicing in New York City, also explained in an interview with NBC News, “It’s not uncommon that lip balms and ChapSticks and lip plumpers can cause severe irritation on the lips and the skin around the lips. Some of the ingredients can actually dry out the lips — menthol, camphor, and phenol – that gives the tingling sensation.

Dermatologists all hail one particular cure for irritation, unsightly rashes, and lip balm addiction: petroleum jelly. According to Bodemer, “No one has ever been shown to have a reaction to petroleum jelly.”

Cronin posted photos of her skin’s reaction to the EOS products on Facebook in December, leading to replies from others who claimed similar experiences and even posted similar photos.

However, loyal fans of the product have taken to social media and the company page itself defending the products and writing testimonies that they’ve never experienced a problem with the lip balm.

Although the lawsuit doesn’t state how much she and the others are seeking in damages, Cronin hopes that EOR engages in a “corrective advertising campaign.”

Aleksandar Krunic, MD, a dermatologist at Swedish Covenant Hospital and dermatology professor at University of Illinois College of Medicine, provides a list of safe ingredients to look for in replacement lip balms:

· Paraben-free moisturizers like beeswax (cera alba)

· Ceramides (fats that help retain water)

· Up to 5% humectants (urea or glycerin), which help prevent cracked skin and reduce skin irritation

· Dimethicone, which helps prevent drying and makes the product last longer

· Lanolin and cocoa butter

· Sunscreen

(Photo: EOS Twitter account)