Does Lip Balm Actually Chap Your Lips?

by Luke Moore on Jun 17, 2022 Self Improvement 13 Views

Are you the type of person that slathers on lip balm throughout the day, almost as a reflexive habit? The kind who only uses it occasionally, when your lips are cracked into oblivion and close to bleeding? Or the type who avoids it judiciously because you once heard it actually makes chapped lips worse? I am the third, which has led me here today.

Is it really true that applying chapstick and other lip balms can cause your lips to become so dependent on those emollients that they “stop moisturizing themselves,” hence starting a vicious cycle of perpetual dryness? The quick answer: Yes, kind of. But it depends. Let’s get into it.


Why lips are so susceptible to dryness

Lip skin is not robust. As board-certified dermatologist Mary L. Stevenson told NBC News Select, “skin on the lips is much thinner and more sensitive than the skin on your arms and legs because it’s meant to help your mouth absorb food.” Add this to the fact that lips have no oil glands to keep them moisturized and protected, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to chapping. While certain autoimmune disorders, medications, allergens, skin conditions like eczema, nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, and habits like excessive lip licking can cause chapped lips, the primary contributor is usually environmental factors such as cold temperatures, dry air, wind, and sun, all of which all stress the delicate skin on your lips.

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