FAQs

Let us answer your questions about our products, lip treatment, and more. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please feel free to contact us.

Has the shape of the jar changed recently?

At Carma Laboratories, Inc., we are constantly on the lookout for ways we can bring Carmex® to you in more environmentally friendly fashions, without compromising our product. We were able to make the Carmex® jar “greener” in 2010. Don’t worry, we didn’t change the product or the amount—you still get .25 oz of the same moisturizing, medicated lip balm in each jar. Now, there is simply less jar. We made the bottom of the jar more concave, which uses 20% less plastic in every jar. This small reduction in waste adds up quickly: we will reduce our plastic use by 70,000 pounds each year! That annual reduction of 35 tons of plastic also means that we’re saving 35 tons of freight from being shipped, which also means less fuel will be used.


Is Carmex® tested on animals?

We never test on animals. Carmex® founder Alfred Woelbing believed animal testing to be uselessly and needlessly cruel, and that stance against animal testing has remained a part of our culture for almost 80 years. All Carmex® products undergo a thorough chemical analysis before they leave our facility. Many Carma Laboratories, Inc., products are over the counter and, as such, we run specific analyses to ensure that all testing regulations and requirements by government jurisdictions, such as the FDA, are met and that our products are safe and effective for our consumers.


What does SPF mean?

Sun protection factor. SPF measures the level of ultraviolet protection, with higher numbers indicating greater protection. But SPF alone doesn’t provide the full story: be aware of not just how long you’re in the sun, but also the time of day, geographic location, and weather.

UV rays are made up of multiple wavelengths; two of these wavelengths are UVA and UVB. Both of these waves can cause premature skin aging and cancers, especially UVA rays, which can penetrate clouds and glass and comprise up to 95% of the radiation to which your skin is exposed.

Although less prevalent, UVB rays are the ones that cause your skin to turn red and burn. Your best bet for protection: Stay out of the sun from 10 AM. to 2 PM, shelter your skin with UV-blocking clothes and hats, and don’t be shy with lotions and SPF lip balms that include effective, broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Learn more about protecting your lips from the sun.


Why does Carmex® tingle when you put it on?

Two natural ingredients in our lip balms—camphor and menthol—give Carmex® a cooling effect and help relieve the irritation of rough, chapped lips.


Is Carmex® addictive?

No, there’s nothing in Carmex® medicated lip balms that’s addictive. Take a look at the ingredients list on the label, per the FDA’s guidelines.


Does Carmex® contain gluten?

Nope, not even a speck. There is no gluten in any of our ingredients. We do not use flour in our manufacturing process, so there’s no chance of any trace of it on our conveyor belts.


My Carmex® stained my clothes in the wash. What do I do?

We recommend spot-treating with Era® Plus laundry detergent or Dawn® dish soap, allowing it to soak for about 30 minutes. Launder as usual, and repeat if necessary. You can also take your clothes to a dry cleaner. Be sure to tell them that the grease-based stains are petrolatum, lanolin, cocoa butter, beeswax, and paraffin.


Does the formula change for the different forms of Carmex®?

Although they are all based on our original medicated lip balm formula from 1937, each lip balm product is slightly different. The hydrating squeeze tube includes a small amount of mineral oil to keep the lip balm soft in cold weather. The stick forms of our medicated lip balm have a bit of botanical wax with a higher melting temperature for the opposite reason: to prevent melting while being carried in a pocket or from the sun. Some of our lip balm products also include sunscreen to provide protection from the sun.


Has Carmex® changed formula recently?

The Carmex® formula remains faithful to Alfred Woelbing’s original 1937 formula. Carmex® is made in batches and some ingredients are natural, so the scent and color of each batch may vary slightly; the effectiveness of our medicated lip balms will not.

We always work to include the highest quality ingredients in our formulas. The purity and consistency of our ingredients are, in some instances, better and more pure than they were years ago. This increase in quality can change some of the original characteristics of the ingredient. For instance, lanolin of years ago was darker and sometimes smelled musty; today’s light-yellow lanolin is almost odorless.

If you purchase a Carmex® product that you are not 100% satisfied with, we want to hear about it. We are also happy to replace any product that does not meet your expectations, or send you a refund if you provide us with proof of purchase. Learn more about our money-back guarantee.


What is a cold sore?

A cold sore is an infection usually on the lip area of your mouth. It’s caused by a virus and can last 7–12 days.


Is there a difference between oral herpes and cold sores?

No. Oral herpes—commonly referred to as a cold sore or fever blister—is an infection on or around the lips or mouth area caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Learn more about cold sores.


What are cold sore symptoms?

Some people don’t feel any symptoms. But those who do may experience tingling, itching, or burning at the site where the cold sore will erupt. Then painful blisters appear and break open on or around the lips. Learn more about cold sore symptoms.


What are the stages of a cold sore?

There are 5 stages to a cold sore: tingle and itch, blister, open sore, scab, and healing. A good time to start treating your cold sore is at the tingle and itch stage. Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment can relieve pain and itch and minimize appearance* from the first tingle until it heals. Find out how Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment helps at each stage.


Are cold sores contagious?

The virus that causes cold sores is spread easily from person to person. Most people get it when they are children from an adult who is infected. The virus can be spread even without sores.


How do I get cold sores?

Cold sores are contagious and can be spread easily from person to person or even from one part of your body to another. If you have the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), you can get a cold sore any time. Stress, sun exposure, and other cold sore triggers can cause outbreaks.


How do I get rid of cold sores?

There is no cure for cold sores, but there are ways to manage your symptoms at every stage. Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment may be right for you.


How is Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment different from other cold sore remedies?

Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment is the only over-the-counter (OTC) cold sore treatment that immediately goes to work inside and out, blocking pain and itch as it smoothes and fills to minimize appearance of a cold sore.*


What’s the difference between Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment and Carmex® Original Lip Balm?

Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment is designed solely for your cold sore—and not a treatment for your entire lip. Just a dab works inside and out. Benzocaine relieves pain and itch, and our unique TriPLEX™ Formula smoothes and fills to make your cold sore less noticeable.


Can I use Carmex® Original Lip Balm with Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment?

Yes. Carmex® Original Lip Balm can help moisturize your lips, especially during the scab stage of a cold sore.


Is Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment safe?

When used as directed, Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment is a safe and effective way to care for a cold sore for adults and children ages 2 and older. As with any medication, keep it out of the reach of children. Do not use this product if you have a history of allergies to local anesthetics such as procaine, butacaine, benzocaine, or other “caine” anesthetics. Read the directions.


When should I see a doctor?

See a doctor if your cold sore symptoms don’t improve in 7 days; if irritation, pain, or redness persists or worsens; or if you develop any swelling, a rash, or a fever.


How can I learn more about lip care?

Lip care is very important to us. Carma Laboratories, Inc. commissioned its Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)—made up of experts in dentistry, pathology, oral medicine, pharmacology, and dermatology—to write a book about lip care. Download The Little Lip Book, or you can ask for a free copy by writing to:

ATTN: The Little Lip Book
Carma Laboratories, Inc.
5801 West Airways Avenue
Franklin, WI 53132

Learn more about the SAC.


*When used to help conceal. Individual results may vary. For treatment of symptoms associated with cold sores. Product does not treat viral infections. For external use only. Use as directed.