We’re often told that you should never eat anything (or put anything on your body) if you don’t recognize everything on the ingredients list. But since most of us have no idea what xanthan gum or potassium benzoate are — or more importantly, what they’re doing to our bodies — we’re decoding the ingredients in the many things Americans put in (and on) themselves with the help of an expert.
This edition: Wicked Peppermint Cocoa Flavored Lubricant, which is made from 11 separate ingredients that we’ve broken down in the exact order they appear online.
1) Water: This acts as a base for the other ingredients.
2) Glycerin: Glycerin is often used as a thickening agent. It’s also what’s called a humectant, according to Sharad P. Paul, a skin-care expert, skin-cancer surgeon and author of The Genetics of Health. “Humectants are ingredients that are hygroscopic — that is, they absorb water and bind to skin,” he previously told us. That’s why they’re usually used in skin-care products: They keep moisture in the skin by reducing water loss.
3) Cellulose Gum: Cellulose gum is another common thickening agent. Consuming large amounts of it may add bulk to your stool and have a laxative effect, according to the FDA. You’ve been warned.
4) Stevia Rebaudiana Extract: This is a plant-derived sweetener generally considered to be a healthy alternative to heavily-processed added sugars. It’s 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar, meaning a little bit goes a long way.
5) Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract: Olive leaf extract is moisturizing and rich in skin-healthy antioxidants, which is why it’s commonly added to cosmetics. It’s also extremely slippery — just sayin’.
6) Hydroxyethylcellulose: Derived from a plant-based compound called cellulose, hydroxyethylcellulose usually functions as a gelling or thickening agent. Long story short: This is the ingredient that provides lube with that microwaved Jello texture.
7) Tetrasodium EDTA: This ingredient functions primarily as a chelating agent (a substance that prevents deterioration and mold growth during processing and storage, by binding the minerals within the product). The scientific community continues to waver over whether or not it’s dangerous: Oral exposures to tetrasodium EDTA produced adverse reproductive and developmental effects in animals, but a “final report on the safety assessment of EDTA” claims it’s safe for use in cosmetics.
8) Citric Acid: Citric acid is a sour flavoring agent derived from citrus. It’s often used for its natural preservative qualities.
9) Sodium Benzoate: Acting as another preservative, studies show that sodium benzoate may exacerbate hyperactive behavior in young children. For our purposes, however, maybe that’s not the worst thing — hyperactivity and lube would seem to go hand-in-slippery-hand.
10) Potassium Sorbate: Potassium sorbate is yet another preservative used for its antimicrobial properties, which stop the growth and spread of harmful bacteria and molds. A 2010 study published in Toxicology in Vitro found that exposure of human blood cells to potassium sorbate in the laboratory caused DNA damage. That said, a long-term study on humans is still required to decide whether we should be worried about consuming it.
11) Flavor: This provides that exhilarating (and festive) peppermint cocoa flavor.
While the ingredients found in Wicked Peppermint Cocoa Flavored Lubricant aren’t unusual — many of these ingredients are commonly found in lube — there are certainly a few that are disconcerting, considering this product is designed for oral use. Most worrisome is tetrasodium EDTA, which arguably has no place near our mouths or genitals.
Still, one or two festive fucks enhanced with this peppermint-cocoa-flavored lube probably won’t do you any harm. Alternatively, this could ruin sex — and Christmas — for you forever.
Let us know how you get on.