The EOS brand lip balm is being sued by several people claiming the popular, egg-shaped dry lip product caused cracked lips, bleeding, rashes, loss of pigmentation and permanent damage. EOS, otherwise known as Evolution of Smooth, is “anything but smooth,” says a class action suit filed in Los Angeles on Jan. 12.
Writes CBS News on Jan. 14: “A lawsuit claims the popular lip balm from EOS causes sores and rashes. The woman who filed the suit says she experienced a rash for 10 days and the area around her lips felt like ‘sandpaper.’”
Despite having brand ambassadors like Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears, the lawsuit claims that the lip product, marketed as “Smooth Sphere Lip Balm,” caused severe blisters and permanent mouth damage to a customer named Rachel Cronin, who tweeted the photos of her face, seen to the right.
EOS responded via its Twitter page on Jan. 13, writing:
Some of you may have seen reports of a lawsuit filed against our company. We wanted to be sure that you, our valued customer and fans, know that the health and well-being of our customers is our top priority. Our products are safe to use, and made with the highest quality ingredients and they all meet or exceed all safety and quality standards set out by our industry. An independent laboratory puts each of our products through a battery of rigorous testing to ensure this is the case. For these reasons, we firmly believe that this lawsuit is without merit, and we will continue to create new and exciting products that delight our customers.
In response, a number of customers tweeted back that they too experienced painful rashes and blistering. Some called out EOS for not addressing their same concerns before a lawsuit was filed. One woman tweeted: “@eos just seeing these articles today. My lips have been jacked up for 3 weeks from this crap!” Another said, “@eos can you pay me back the $90 I had to pay for the medicine and creams I had to purchase to help get rid of this?”
EOS has since responded to those who are complaining about their lip balm by tweeting back their apologies and asking individuals to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Which prompted a Twitter user named Queen of Saigon to write: “@eos then where was my ‘contact us’ reply when I had a reaction to your dangerous product over a year ago? … Can you pay for the trip I had to take to the ER or the money I wasted on your products? Didn’t seem to care much then, still don’t.”
EOS’s website says its “Visibly Soft (TM) Lip Balm, enriched with natural conditioning oils, moisturizing shea butter and antioxidant vitamins C & E, nourishes for immediately softer, more beautiful lips.” The site says its lip spheres are free of petrolatum (petroleum jelly), paraben (a cosmetic preservative), gluten, and phthalate (a chemical used to make plastics more flexible).
Still, just because EOS purports to use all natural ingredients, doesn’t mean that some won’t have allergic reactions.
“Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is safe. Anthrax is natural but not safe,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, associate professor of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Added Dr. Apple Bodemer, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health: “Contact reactions are not that uncommon and can even happen with natural products.”
There is also the cycle of constant lip balm application needed by those who have what’s called “lip lickers dermatitis.” Explains Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology in New York City, according to CNBC:
“Anything that has a flavor is potentially irritating and anything with a flavor in it will make you lick your lips. Saliva is basically digesting away your lips,” Dr. Bowe said, adding that bacterial or viral infections are more common when a person’s lips become cracked from constant licking and reapplication of lip products – creating a vicious cycle of dependence.
According to the lawsuit, after applying the balm, Ms. Cronin’s lips “became substantially dry and coarse, what Ms. Cronin describes as feeling like ‘sandpaper,’ causing her to apply more of the balm on her lip to achieve the results of becoming ‘sensationally smooth.’” The following day, she experienced “severe blistering and rashes causing her to seek medical care on Dec. 7, 2015.”
That condition lasted a week and a half, the lawsuit claims. EOS is being sued for damages because the company “deceived consumers and misrepresented the product as natural and organic,” and the suit demands corrective advertising.