Are your kids getting high with Burt’s Bees lip balm?

Welcome to the latest edition of “Kids these days are using (insert seemingly innocuous substance here) to get high!”

A Nashville television station recently reported that teens are rubbing Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm on their eyelids. The lip balm contains peppermint oil, which reportedly causes tingling and burning that “creates a sensation of being drunk or high,” the report stated. This new “trend,” for those in the know, is called beezin’ (minus the obviously lame g).



I ran the report by Dr. Karen Simone, a clinical toxicologist and director of the Northern New England Poison Center. She’s an expert in much more serious health threats than this, but she also has her finger on the pulse of teen substance abuse trends. (And overblown trends, like kids crushing up and snorting Smarties candies, only to become infested with — sorry if you’re eating lunch — nasal maggots.)

She was unaware of beezin’ catching on among local kids.

“That is so bizarre,” Simone wrote in an email.

More importantly, she said the practice wouldn’t produce a high.

If teens were using drugs like Ecstasy, which alter the senses, the lip balm could potentially cause stimulation that enhances their perceptions during a high, Simone said. But alcohol doesn’t produce that effect and she didn’t expect pot would either.

It’s not totally harmless though. Applying a product containing peppermint oil could irritate the eyes.

Some people are trying beezin, as you can tell by punching the term into a search on YouTube. But it’s not exactly taking off here, and YouTube videos do not a trend make. The poison center’s records show only two inquiries about beezin, one in 2010 and another this year, both from school nurses, Simone said.

A Gawker article debunking the supposed trend references a 2010 Urban Dictionary entry for beezin’ that traces it back to “Colby College’s coffeehouse.” Colby grads, ever heard of this?

Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.