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What to Look For In Your Chapsticks and Lip Balms

If you’ve ever dealt with dry, painful, cracked lips, you know they’re the worst - and you probably have an arsenal of chapsticks and lip balms to stop them from ever coming back.

But here’s the thing: not all lip products were created equal, and many actually contain ingredients that will actually make your chapping worse (yikes!). After all, some companies just want to keep you coming back, which is good for business but bad for you.

Here’s what you should know about common lip balm ingredients and which ones you should actually incorporate to soothe those wind-cracked lips.

First Thing’s First: Why Your Lips Get Chapped

To understand how to solve this concern, it’s important to first understand the root cause and what’s really going on.

Unlike other parts of the face, lips don’t actually have any oil glands. This can make them more sensitive overall and more susceptible to drying out. Ultimately, people can get chapped lips for many day-to-day reasons, including:

  • Lack of moisture: This can be due to hot weather, lack of humidity - either in the air or because of centralized air conditioning - or simply dehydration 
  • Excessive licking of the lip:Saliva can actually strip the lips of moisture and break down your skin's natural barrier 
  • Medications:Certain drugs, including cholesterol-lowering medications, can definitely make dry lips worse - so check your prescription bottles if you think this could be a concern.
  • Spicy food:Capsaicin can cause irritation, particularly for those with sensitivity.

The key to fixing this? A combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives to deeply hydrate and seal that moisture in.

Understanding Lip Balm Ingredients

Ingredients That Don’t Work

Unfortunately, many products out there actually contain ingredients that can make chapped lips worse - and some are even toxic and full of allergens. Why? To get you addicted to lip balm so you keep coming back for more.

Luckily, the more you know about this trick, the more you can avoid ingredients that can actually be making your discomfort worse. These include:

  • Camphor
  • Eucalyptus
  • Flavoring: Cinnamon, citrus, mint, and peppermint flavors can be especially irritating to dry, chapped lips
  • Fragrance
  • Lanolin
  • Menthol
  • Octinoxate or oxybenzone
  • Phenol (or phenyl)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Salicylic acid

Remember, in particular, that even seemingly harmless essential oils can cause concerns. Peppermint oil, in particular, is a popular but volatile oil that can cause acute contact dermatitis (ie: major redness and irritation). So if you apply a seemingly “natural” lip balm and notice any redness, itching, or tingling, this may be the culprit.

Ingredients That Do Work

On the other hand, there are many humectant, emollient, and occlusive ingredients that can lock in moisture, soothe, and even plump lips. Look for:

  • Emollients like coconut oil and castor seed oil to trap moisture in your skin
  • Vitamin E, which can boost circulation and increase new skin cell generation, making your lips softer.
  • Organic beeswax, which delivers natural antibacterial agents and acts as an occlusive
  • Amino acids or ceramides, which can rebuild collagen and elastin in the lips.

Find a vanilla-flavored lip mask with all of these ingredients here.

Other Tips to Keep In Mind

  • Be sure to apply your lip balm before bed and before going outdoors or exposed to the elements.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration-related concerns
  • Don’t lick your lips, as this can cause dryness or make existing chapping even worse.
  • Don’t hold items with metal to your lips, as certain metals can irritate lips and even cause an allergic reaction.

And remember - if you don’t see results or you have other things going on, go see a doctor.

Check out Lip Trick Vanilla Lip Mask.