It’s that time of year, when the cold wind is wiping around your face and your lips feel the brunt force of it all. Cracked and dry lips can be really uncomfortable and Man For Himself is here to look at what the main causes are and solutions to prevent it.
What causes dry lips?
- Weather – Chapped or dry lips are most common in dry, cold and windy climates. This is due to the moisture being drawn right out of your lips.
- Hydration – The body needs plenty of water and if you are dehydrated, your lips will be one of the first parts of your body to dry out.
- Skin – The skin on your lips is particularly thin and fragile. As they are permanently exposed to the environment around them, they can become easily damaged.
- Sebaceous glands -The thin layer lack sebaceous glands which are what product oil and therefore moisture in the rest of the skin on your body.
- Melanin – Your lips lack melanin which is the pigment that helps protect the skin. Therefore, the skin on your lips is always vulnerable to sunburn.
What are the ingredients in lip balms?
The most common ingredients in lip balms are:
- Beeswax – a natural wax created by honey bees.
- Carnauba wax – also called Brazil or palm wax.
- Camphor – found in the wood of a large evergreen tree, the camphor laurel.
- Lanolin – also called wool wax which is secreted by the sebaceous glands in woolly animals.
- Paraffin – an odourless wax which comes from petroleum, coal or shale oil.
- Petrolatum – also known as petroleum jelly or soft paraffin.
Some lip balms contain dyes, fragrances and flavourings. They can also contain one of the most important ingredients, sunscreen (SPF).
How to prevent dry lips
Applying a hydrating balm or moisturiser is the main way to protect your lips and prevent them from drying out. This can be done by using your finger or directly to your lips using a stick balm.
A balm will create an occlusive layer which means it will trap moisture inside the layers of skin.
Other methods you can try to help prevent your lips from drying out:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Increase the amount of good fats in your diet, such as nuts and fish, as they contain plenty of oil. This will strengthen the barrier of you skin and keep it moisturised from the inside.
- Use a lip balm that contains an SPF, especially when you are on holiday in a warm climate. Try to avoid ones containing Oxybenzone, as it has been known to cause skin reactions. We recommend picking ones using mineral sunblocks, such as zinc oxide.
- Don’t lick your lips! It is tempting to do this when your lips are dry but the saliva actually stimulates dryness.
What To Use
Man For Himself has tried and tested a variety of lip balms. It really is up to you to try them and see which one suits you best.
There has been a large amount of research into various ingredients (e.g petrolatum and castor oil) which can contain allergens and lead to unpleasant skin reactions. Make sure you read the ingredients before buying a lip balm, just in case it contains something you might be allergic to.
We would advise that you try and stay away from ones with a lot of fragrance/flavouring in them as they can actually dry your lips out further.
Also, be careful not over apply your lip balm. There have been cases of people being addicted to them! Only apply it when necessary.
There are three categories that you need to consider when choosing a lip balm:
- Does it improve the texture of your lips
- Does it moisturise your lips
- How long does it last
Here is a selection of lip balms that Man For Himself has enjoyed using.
MFH Lip Favourites
Best Budget Lip Balm
Best Luxury Lip Balm
Best Niche Lip Balm
Best Protective Lip Balm
Best Intensive Treatment Lip Balm
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