Is Lending Out Your Lip Balm a Bad Idea?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

Q: Lending out your lip balm — bad idea?

Oz Says: Think of that handy little tube the same way you would a tissue: After someone "borrows" yours, you don't want it back.

"Some strains of bacteria and viruses can live for several weeks on lip products," says David Bank, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

That includes the herpes simplex virus type 1 (the stuff most commonly associated with cold sores, although it can sometimes cause genital herpes, too). And there's a pretty good chance that the borrower will leave some bugs behind: 67 percent of the global population currently has this virus.

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It may seem ungenerous not to help a dry-lipped friend in need, but Dr. Bank says that "wiping your balm off after getting it back is unlikely to get rid of all the germs." So if you hand it over, tell your friend it's a gift.

This story originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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