Is Your Lip Balm Drying Out Your Lips?


Lip balm is something many of use every day – so much in fact, that the lip balm industry generates over $400 million annually. If you’re like me, you’ve tried most of the major brands out there. Some are better than others, but generally, they all leave you wanting more. And more. And more.

That’s not your imagination. Most lip balms are formulated so that they actually dry out your lips. This leaves you using more and more just to stop chapped lips and dry, peeling skin from appearing. Yuck!

Here’s the problem: you shouldn’t need lip balm as much as you’ve been led to believe. Some experts say that using lip balm more than 6 times per day is a sign that the lip balm contains drying ingredients, although factors like a dry climate and outdoor exposure can effect that number. The majority of lip balms available on a wide commercial scale are riddled with drying or irritating ingredients. Why? To keep you coming back again, and again, and again, and again.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for the no-no ingredients in lip balm:

  • Camphor, Phenol, and Menthol – These ingredients do have a cooling effect on the lips, which might be pleasant at first but it also has the effect of drying out lips.

  • Alcohol – We’ve talked about this sneaky bugger before. Alcohol has many good uses. Being a lip balm ingredient isn't one of them. Alcohol causes extremely dry skin and lips.

  • Salicylic Acid – This is the active ingredient in Aspirin. Salicylic acid can be wonderful for preventing zits, killing pain, and more, but it also makes lips peel and crack.

One more word of caution: just because a products claims to be natural or organic doesn’t mean it is free of drying ingredients. Camphor is derived from a plant in the basil family. Even too much peppermint can negate some moisturizing effects of other healthy ingredients in a lip balm by making the product too astringent. Always read the label.

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