Category Archives: Skincare

Chapstaddiction

lips

I have been diligent about applying lip balms and glosses since junior high. When I lose my lip balm I get severely chapped lips, peeling, and itchy. Recently I’ve started to wonder why the need – am I addicted? Or is it just my dry skin craving moisture? Last weekend I lost my lip gloss and thought it was the perfect time to research some long term remedies for my lip moisture problem. If you can relate to having frequent chapped lips, you might want to look over my findings:

  • Lips feeling dry is mostly a mental thing. Rarely are they actually too dry as a result of a disease/eczema. When someone is used to frequently moisturizing their lips (e.g. myself), they lick their lips if they feel dry and start the cycle over. Lip-licking causes dryness/eczema (lip licker’s dermatitis) on the lips as the saliva dries and robs them of more moisture. There are mild digestive acids in saliva that can be an irritant to the lips. I never realized I was a lip-licker until I tried to go without lip gloss.
  • Many people have a sensitivity to certain essential oils / fragrances used in lip balms/glosses. I tend to react to peppermint or spearmint essential oils. One source said that toothpaste may even irritate some sensitive lips.
  • Many lip products have hazardous ingredients that can make skin conditions worse, and possibly cause long-term contamination. Skin Deep is a cosmetics database that shows the safety of various cosmetic products on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being best, 10 being worst. Carmex, a popular lip balm, rates from 7 to 9.
  • Sunburn can cause peeling, chapped lips. It is thought by some physicians that shiny lip glosses might lead to more sunburn and, down the road, possible skin cancer. “These lip glosses can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off of the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Christine Brown, a dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas in an MSNBC article.

My solution: use less lip balm, stick to low-toxicity natural lip balms with SPF like Burt’s Bees Res-Q Lip Balm, only use when my lips feel extremely dry (like in hot or cold weather), and stop the lip-licking! Even after a few days of this, my lips are improving and I don’t feel as much of a need for topical lip moisture. Not only is this cosmetic switcharoo easier on the pocketbook, but it is also better for my lips as it may reduce skin cancer and reduces other toxic substances that are either absorbed by my lips, licked off them, or kissed off onto my little Hailey or my hubby.

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