Does Chapped Lips Get Worse When You Use Lip Balm?

Winter offers many benefits for people living in colder climates, such as cozy days, snowy slopes, and holiday celebrations. However, it also brings drawbacks like chapped lips, as lip skin is more susceptible to dryness and chapping due to its low water retention capacity and weak skin barrier.

Winter weather often causes dry and flaky lips, leading many to use lip balm which is a popular remedy for chapped lips. However, some lip balms can actually worsen dry lips by contributing to chapping. This is because some lip balms can make dry lips worse by reducing the amount of moisture they contain.

This article explains why some lip balms make lips more chapped and provides effective ways to retain moisture this winter. It also discusses the reasons behind some lip balms making lips more chapped and offers suggestions for retaining moisture.

Why Do We Wear Lip Balm?

Lip balm is a crucial beauty product, used by everyone, regardless of their beauty routine. Its primary purpose is to hydrate and protect against moisture loss, as lip skin is more susceptible to dryness. As a result, many people stock up on lip balm products to maintain comfortable hydration.

Do You Feel Your Lips Getting Worse After Using Lip Balm?

Lip balm may dry out your lips, but not all products will do the same. Lip balms, despite their advertised hydrating properties, may not always deliver the desired results. Humectants, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, draw moisture from the air, while occlusive ingredients like petrolatum and beeswax help seal the moisture barrier. Without these ingredients, lips may feel drier and appear dehydrated. To prevent reapplication, occlusive ingredients create a physical barrier.

Some products with the right ingredients however, such as hydrating oils, butters, and vitamins, will moisturize as intended. However, some options may contain ingredients that may make your lips more chapped, like menthol and salicylic acid. To be effective, a good lip balm needs to provide deeper nourishment and help retain moisture.

Effective Lip Balm Ingredients

When shopping for lip balm, look for ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, squalene, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients attract and retain moisture, stimulate the skin barrier, and protect and repair chapped lips. Plant oils and butters treat lip dryness, while beeswax shields lips from dry air.

Vitamin E, an antioxidant, is crucial in skincare products, while Petrolatum, a hypoallergenic ingredient, is highly effective in moisturizing due to its 98% reduction in TEWL compared to mineral oil, silicone, and lanolin.

Lip Balm Ingredients to Avoid

Lip balm can potentially make your lips chapped, especially if you’re trying to moisturize. It often contains additives to enhance texture, scent, or give a fresh sensation. However, experts have confirmed that certain ingredients can cause dryness and cracking of your lips, making it crucial to choose a product with a moisturizing effect.

Avoiding ingredients like menthol, benzocaine, salicylic acid, and phenol can provide cooling or medicated sensations but can also exfoliate the outer skin layers, leaving lips vulnerable to damage. Medicated lip balms contain camphor, menthol, or phenol, which can cause irritation, redness, and burning when used on chapped skin.

 For individuals with lip eczema or perioral dermatitis, it is recommended to avoid flavored, colored, or medicated lip balms. For sensitive skin, products containing citral, peppermint oil, geraniol, fragrance mix, and cinnamaldehyde should also be avoided.

Alternative Methods

To give your lips some TLC this winter or any other time they feel parched, you can apply lip balm and other lip care products frequently.

Stay hydrated: Consuming adequate water is crucial for maintaining moisturizing and happy lips, as it provides the necessary hydration for skin protection and protects the lips from harmful substances.

Use a humidifier: A humidifier in your bedroom at night adds moisture to the air, preventing moisture loss from the skin and lips.

It is crucial to be mindful of the food you consume: To maintain hydrated lips, consider the ingredients in your meals and snacks, as certain foods can negatively impact their health. Avoid irritants like salty, spicy, sour, and saucy foods that can break down the lip’s skin barrier.

Use SPF lip products: In warm or sunny climates, opt for a lip SPF of 15 or higher to prevent burns, chapping, and moisture evaporation.

Don’t lick your lips: Excessive lip-licking leads to a downward spiral of hydration-evaporation, causing the lips to worsen over time.

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