The Only Lip Balms Worth Buying to Heal Your Dry, Chapped Lips

The Only Lip Balms Worth Buying to Heal Your Dry, Chapped Lips

Dry, chapped lips are annoying any time of year, but the problem becomes more prominent in the fall and water. Thanks to frigid temps and less humidity in the air, any natural moisture in your lips simply evaporates, leaving you with dry skin, flaking, or even cracks in your pucker.

"Unlike the rest of the skin which has a thick stratum corneum (dead cell layer) for extra protection, the lips do not, so they are even more prone to winter dryness," explains Heidi Waldorf, MD, founder of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics and associate clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai University.

Beyond seasonal changes, your dry lips may also be a side effect of certain medications, like antihistamines (common if you have allergies) or isotretinoin (used for severe acne), explains Meghan Feely, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey and New York City who serves as a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai's Department of Dermatology. "There is also a condition called allergic contact cheilitis, which can occur secondary to the use of certain toothpastes, cosmetics, and other ingredients in personal care products," she adds.

As tempting as it may be, the last thing you want to do is lick or wet your lips to try and find relief, says Dr. Waldorf. This will actually makes things worse, since that moisture will also evaporate and leave you feeling drier.

That's where a hydrating lip treatment comes in. Chances are, you have several lip balms tucked away in your bag, desk, or bedside drawer that were forgotten about because they simply didn't work—so keep the following tips in mind when you're on the hunt for one that will heal your lips fast.

How to choose the best lip balm for dry, chapped lips

Choose soothing ingredients: Both Dr. Waldorf and Dr. Feely say to look for products containing occlusive ingredients, which create a barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss. Petrolatum, silicone, squalene, lanolin, shea butter, and waxes all fit the bill. Humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin (which pull water into the skin like a sponge) are also helpful. A mild steroid, such as 1 percent hydrocortisone, can reduce inflammation if your lips are in pain.

Steer clear of irritants: While cooling agents like camphor and menthol feel good upon contact, they "will sting and aren't necessary to heal or improve lips," says Dr. Waldorf. Exfoliating ingredients (like salicylic acid or physical granules in scrubs) should also be avoided if your lips are chapped, since it won't fix the underlying problem and can make your lips feel raw. Plumping ingredients like capsaicin aren't a great idea as they will cause swelling.

Mind your reaction: Even some traditionally helpful ingredients, like beeswax, can cause allergic reactions in people, says Dr. Feely. Lanolin, peppermint and coconut oils, propylene glycol, fragrances, dyes, and more can also stir irritation, so if you feel that your lip balm is making things worse, it might be time to see your derm.

Know when to see a doctor: "If you have just a patch or spot of 'chapped lips' that is persistent, don't assume it is just dryness," cautions Dr. Waldorf. "In that case, you could have an actinic keratosis—a precancerous skin condition caused by excessive sun." A lip balm that contains SPF can help protect you from harmful UV rays.

Now that you have the basics down, it's time to find a lip balm that works for you. Here, 13 options that will take your lips from dry and chapped to smooth and supple.

The Only Lip Balms Worth Buying to Heal Your Dry, Chapped Lips, Source:https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/g25230187/best-lip-balm-moisturizer/