Why is it that some lip balms seem to leave your lips dry and flaky, no matter how many times you reapply?
It’s because some of the ingredients in lip balms can do more harm than good, even natural ones. So how do you find the best natural lip balm?
What to watch out for
You might think your lip balm is completely harmless, but some mainstream lip balms may contain ingredients such as camphor, phenol, and menthol. While they’ll give you a cooling sensation and a little temporary pain relief, these ingredients are can be toxic and highly irritating, especially to the sensitive skin of your lips.
Phenol is used to kill bacteria, but can cause liver damage when ingested over time. It’s not really something you want to apply on your lips several times a day. Another ingredient that you may find in some mainstream lip balms is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can be great to dissolve away warts, but you don’t want it on your lips.
A lip balm made with natural ingredients is a much better choice. Mainstream lip balms may also include petroleum-derived ingredients such as mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin. When these ingredients are not properly refined, they can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which may be carcinogenic. They can also cause allergic reactions and won’t allow your skin to breathe.
You should also keep a lookout for artificial dyes and colorants such as D&C red no. 6 and yellow no. 10. Synthetic fragrances are another no-no. There are a variety of ‘generally-regarded-as-safe’ ingredients that can be found in cosmetics that really don’t belong there, in my opinion.
Get a good natural lip balm
Your lips deserve natural, non-irritating ingredients that allow your skin to breathe. The best natural lip balms will have a mix of hydrating and occlusive ingredients.
Hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine, are powerfully moisturising, but they can actually pull moisture out of the skin and allow it to evaporate into the air. Your poor lips can end up even dryer.
Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, should always be combined with occlusive ingredients, which prevents evaporation. These includes shea and cocoa butter, beeswax, squalene, coconut, jojoba, and various oils.
Lanolin can also be a great addition to lip balm, since it keeps moisture in while still allowing the lips to breathe. However, some people can be sensitive to it, and others may not want to use it since it’s derived from lamb’s wool.
Sunscreen is something else to look for. It’s especially important in summer, but it doesn’t hurt to use it during winter as well. Look for a mineral-based full-spectrum sunscreen such as zinc oxide, with an SPF of at least 15. And remember to reapply throughout the day if you’re at the beach. The skin on your lips is very thin and prone to sunburn.
With a little care, proper hydration, and a good natural lip balm, your lips can stay soft, smooth and protected throughout the year.
Did this article inspire you to switch to organic or natural lip balms? Head on over to Hello Charlie and check out our wide range of natural lip balms!