Lip Balm (SPF 15+): FSA Eligibility
What is lip balm (SPF 15+)?
Lip balm is a mainstay in purses and pockets to heal chapped lips, protect from sun exposure and treat cold sores, but the product actually dates back to ancient Egypt when rulers like Cleopatra and the Pharaohs used beeswax as a natural emollient alongside natural ingredients like animal fats and olive oil. Today, lip balms encompass a wide range of potential products, including those that are exclusively for cosmetic purposes and others that contain medicated ingredients that can treat or prevent a wide variety of medical conditions.
Modern lip balm is typically made with ingredients such as beeswax, carnuaba wax, camphor, cetyl alcohol, lanolin, paraffin and patrolatum, while others may contain fragrances, sunscreens, flavoring and dyes. Lip balm is considered to be an occlusive material, or one that can stay on the surface of the skin to seal moisture into the epidermis and protect them from the hazards of continual exposure from heat, cold and dry conditions (WebMD).
When is lip balm eligible for reimbursement?
Under IRC 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment, supplies and devices." As such, lip balm that is eligible for reimbursement with FSAs, HSAs and HRAs must contain a medicated ingredient to treat a legitimate medical condition (cold sores, canker sores, etc.), or contain a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater.