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What Causes Dry Lips and Choosing the Right Lip Balm

As we transition into the cold months, a.k.a lip balm season, most of us will experience dry and chapped lips. For some people, winter means a daily battle against cracking, scaling, or peeling lips. Knowing what causes chapped lips can help understand how you can prevent it.

Photo by Melissa Di Rocco on Unsplash

First, your lips' skin is distinct from the rest of your face's skin. Your lips, like the rest of your skin, contain all three skin layers; however, the stratum corneum on your lips is much thinner than it is anyplace else on your body.

Furthermore, your lips lack the oil and sweat glands that protect the rest of your skin. Because their main source of moisture in your saliva, they can rapidly become dry and chapped.

Dehydration, licking your lips and eating too much spicy food can also dry out your lips.

  • Dehydration removes moisture from the skin, especially in the lips.

  • Licking your lips may provide temporary relief but saliva contains an enzyme necessary for digestion that can further irritate your lips.

  • Spicy meals weaken your skin barrier, resulting in chapped lips or worsening existing chapped lips. Because spicy meals frequently create a burning sensation, they can aggravate already dry lips.

We frequently have chapped lips in cold weather - not because our lips are allergic to winter or anything, but because the outside air is drier, which also dries out the lips. And it is this drying out that is the primary cause of chapped lips.

Most people reach for their lip balms whenever they notice their lips drying. But did you know that using the wrong lip balm or simply overusing your lip balm could make things worse? This is because certain chemicals in lip balms might lead to chapping.

It generally comes down to choosing the right lip balm and using it right.

  • Watch out for irritants like fragrance, camphor, or salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid aids in the removal of dead skin cells and the softening of your lips. It may, however, irritate your skin and create irritation and dryness over time.

If you use a fragranced lip balm and still have chapped lips, your lips may be too sensitive for it. To test whether it makes a difference, try using a non-scented lip balm.

Camphor in lip balms produces a cooling or tingling sensation that is popular with customers but can cause sensitivity.

  • Prioritize occlusive ingredients

Many lip balms contain humectants, moisturizing agents. The most found in lip balms are hyaluronic acid and glycerin. However, they will remove moisture from your lips if not offset by an occlusive agent that prevents moisture loss. Occlusives are moisturizing substances that form a physical barrier on the skin, preventing transepidermal water loss and locking in moisture. Some occlusives include Shea butter, beeswax, castor, coconut, and jojoba oils. So, if you find either of these humectants in a lip balm, check to see if it also has an occlusive agent.

  • Do not overuse it!

It is easy to get addicted to your lip balm, but you ought to remember that lip balms frequently contain irritants such as preservatives, flavours, or fragrances. The more you apply the irritant, the chappier your lips get. Botanically, the ointment's barrier prevents the water loss that causes pain. However, if you use it regularly, you will be applying the preservative, scent, or taste that is creating the problem. As a result, by applying additional lip balm to obtain instant comfort, you are worsening the problem. Use your lip balm only when you need it.

Note that chronic chapped lips that won’t heal may be a sign of serious medical conditions or infections. Please consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Our recommendations

Our lip balms are made with castor oil & shea butter, both occlusive agents, making them great at preventing moisture loss!

Lip balm - Le Natural $4

Lip balm - Vanilla $4

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