How Well Do Lip Balms Work? A to Z
Dry or chapped lips are a very common occurrence in men and women. A lot of factors may cause this to happen, including environmental factors that we may not have any control over. Chapped lips are not a permanent condition. In fact, most of us experience it during the cold winter months only.
But dry lips can be mild or severe to a point of causing extreme discomfort and inflammation. However, one solution that seems to be very popular among those suffering from this condition is the idea of using lip balm.
Some natural products like the Pumpkin & Spice Lip Balm have been known to provide instant relief for dried out lips and can also go a long way in reducing inflammation and bleeding. Lip balm is however not just a remedy to treat dried or chapped lips.
It can also be a great preventive measure. People who apply lip balm regularly even when they don't have dried lips are more likely to keep the condition at bay compared to those who don’t.
In this post, we are going to explore the overall efficacy of lip balm and give you tips on how you can maximize the benefits of these products. We are also going to explore some general information about lip dryness and chapping, including what causes it. This information will help you deal with your dry lips even better.
Causes of Lip Dryness or Chapping
Before we get to the detailed explanation of how effective lip balm is, it is important to first of all highlight some of the major causes of lip dryness. As we have noted above, chapped lips can be caused by many factors.
However, there are three broad causes of dried or chapped lips. The first one is related to environmental factors while the second one may be linked to possible allergies. The third one, on the other hand, is related to possible underlying medical conditions.
Let’s explore each of these three broad causes below:
The local weather may cause and accelerate lip chapping. During cold winter days for example where the air is very dry, your lips may lack the required moisture needed to keep them succulent.
And licking them all the time does not help the situation either. But it’s not just dry winter days that cause your lips to dry. Even scorching sunny days may have the same negative effect on your lips as the cold dry air in winter.
Allergies only apply to specific people but they are still real causes of lip dryness and chapping. For example, some people may experience lip dryness every time they eat spicy foods.
It’s however hard to pinpoint any specific foods that may cause allergic reactions that lead to lip dryness. Any food that affects your skin would generally also affect your lips.
Underlying Health Conditions
Certain underlying health conditions may also cause lip chapping. For example, vitamin deficiencies, especially among pregnant women, have been known to cause several cases of lip chapping.
People suffering from thyroid diseases or inflammatory bowel disease may also experience lip chapping as one of the symptoms.
Lack of enough essential minerals like zinc and iron have also been linked to lip dryness while patients suffering from angular cheilitis (inflammation in the corners of the mouth) may also experience this condition.
Using Lip Balms
Lip balm is no doubt one of the most commonly used solutions to lip dryness. But what is it and how does it work? To put it simply, lip balm is usually a wax-like substance that is applied on the lips to relieve dryness and chapping.
The formulations used in making various lip balm brands may vary from one brand to another. While products like the Daily Skincare Pack tend to feature all-natural ingredients, some products out there may come with added chemical compounds that may have extra side effects.
Either way, the primary purpose of the lip balm is to create a protective layer on your lips that traps the moisture inside. This protective layer also protects the lips from some of the environmental factors that may have caused the dryness in the first place.
While lip balm helps a lot to provide relief for dried or chapped lips, it is always better to use it as a preventive measure. Do not wait until your lips are too dry to start applying the balm. Applying this waxy substance daily can be incredibly effective in keeping your lips moist and succulent regardless of the weather out there.
What Are Lip Balms Made From?
To better appreciate the efficacy of lip balm in dealing with dry lips, it may be a great idea to explore some of the ingredients normally found in these products. Well, there is no general formulation out there. Each brand will normally choose a list of ingredients that it thinks works best and come up with its unique formulation.
Nonetheless, a good rule would be to always make sure that the lip balm you go for has as many natural ingredients as possible. If you can limit yourself to 100 percent natural products, then that is even better. Natural ingredients have one big advantage. They have very minimal side effects.
Furthermore, most lip balm brands will have natural waxes and petroleum jelly as part of their key ingredients. Mineral oil is also a very common ingredient and some products may also come fortified with vitamins and important medicinal additions that may provide more benefits to your lips.
Do Lip Balms Work?
Well, if you are going to invest your money on a lip balm collection for years, you will want to be sure that it works.
There is a lot of debate on this and we are going to look at each side of it. On one hand, many dermatologists feel that lip balm offers instant relief from dried lips and chapping. Some of the top brands in the market will bring a lot of moisturizing capabilities, something that is needed in treating dried and chapped lips.
The protective layer created by lip balm may also be crucial in reducing the effects of environmental factors on the lips. It can, therefore, be argued that applying lip balm may slow down the acceleration of lip chapping significantly. But others sit on the opposite side of this debate. Their view is simple. They argue that lip balm is not a cure to lip dryness, but just a short-term treatment that doesn’t heal the underlying cause.
It has also been pointed out that using lip balm can create some sort of dependency, especially if used for a long time. According to these dermatologists, prolonged use of lip balm will create a dependency to a point that your lips will not be able to moisturize themselves unless you apply the balm.
These experts also note that there are many products in the market right now that contain inflammatory properties that may serve to make the chapping worse than it is.
Well, both of these points of view have some weight to them and you cannot afford to ignore any. Ideally, you want your lips to be able to naturally moisturize themselves, and keep the dryness at bay on their own without having to apply any product.
While a lot of people can achieve this, it may not be possible for others. In that case, lip balm is necessary and whether or not it works will entirely depend on the product that you are using. And this brings us to the next section of our post.
How to Make Lip Balms Work for You
So, not every lip balm brand will have positive effects in dealing with lip chapping or dryness. You have to be very selective about the product you use, especially if you have sensitive skin or sensitive lips.
There are some important factors you can keep in mind just to be on the safe side.
Insist on a Natural Product
If you don’t want to have issues with your lip balm, you may want to always insist on a natural product every time you buy.
While not all-natural products will work to alleviate your chapped and dry lips, most of them don’t have side effects. In other words, even if they do not heal your lips, they will surely not make it worse.
However, just because a product is labeled natural doesn’t mean it is. To be fully sure, you may want to look at the list of ingredients in there and see to it that there are no harmful chemical compounds.
Check the Ingredients
It is also very important to be fully aware of the ingredients in a given product before you use it.
Here is a breakdown of what to look for and what to avoid:
Ingredients to Consider
- Keep your eyes open for products that have beeswax in them. The wax helps to create a protective layer that will prevent moisture from leaving your lips.
- Ensure the product you buy also has some natural oils in there too. Oils help to moisturize and soften the lips, which can offer relief for chapped and dry lips. Mineral oils tend to combine well with butter so be sure to check out for that too.
What to Avoid
You may also want to avoid products that have the following ingredients as part of their formulation.
- Artificial fragrances and colors are known to cause skin irritations and inflammations, especially among people with sensitive skin.
- Try to avoid products that come with parabens or any other type of synthetic or artificial preservatives. These parabens may irritate your skin and make the dryness worse.
- Products that contain alcohol should also be avoided. Alcohol accelerates the evaporation of moisture from the skin so it may not be the most ideal solution in treating lip dryness.
- Check out for petrolatum in the ingredient’s list as well. This is normally the product used to make normal petroleum jelly. Although the jelly has many skin benefits, when applied to the lips, it blocks off the proper circulation of oxygen, which in turn affects the overall health of your lips.
- Finally, avoid products that contain camphor. This ingredient has been linked to skin dryness and inflammation before.
These are of course some of the common ingredients to avoid but they are not all of them.
If you have very sensitive skin or lips, it may be better to consult widely with your dermatologist before buying any balm. This will help you narrow down your options to the most ideal products out there.
Apply Lip Balm at Night
Well, once you have managed to find the best lip balm, you may want to apply it at night before going to sleep as well.
This is not a common practice. A lot of people apply the balm when leaving the house. There is nothing wrong with that but for the best possible result, ensure your lips are moisturized all the time, and this means applying the balm even when you are sleeping.
This idea is especially very effective during winter and would go a long way in protecting your lips against that dry and cold air usually present in this season.
Dry and chapped lips are very common all over the world and while there are so many causes of this problem, lip balms are always the most common solution.
Not all lip balms will work and some may even make your lip dryness worse. You are therefore required to take your time and analyze all the products before you buy.
The guide above should help you get a better understanding of lip chapping and also help you make the best out of some of the lip balm brands available out there.