Lips are one bodily feature that stands out from the rest, thanks to their form and color. However, they require dedicated care and attention because the skin on our lips is thinner and more delicate than skin everywhere else. While the latter can have up to 16 cell layers, the lips have to make do with only 3 to 5. Add to those millions of nerve endings found here, which makes them even more sensitive to heat and cold, and other external factors.
The way our skin sweats and secretes a protective layer of oil, lips can’t do that because they don’t contain any sweat or sebaceous glands to keep them hydrated. This further makes them vulnerable to cold weather, sun damage, wind, and other environmental foes, which leaves them dry and scaly. As a result, the skin starts to peel off; at times we do it ourselves. Saliva is the only source of moisture but it ends up drying out lips. The pH level of healthy skin lies anywhere between 4-6 and to maintain this, hydration is key.
There’s one more thing that lips don’t have and that is melanin – the body’s natural defence against the sun’s UV rays. Therefore, it becomes super important to protect lips from prolonged sun exposure to prevent sunspots and skin cancer.
Our lips are pretty much a damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued. If you’re picking out your knight in shining armour, the best lip balm for dry lips, look out for these qualities for sure:
- Ingredients that soothe and protect – Your lip balm must have soothing ingredients that add a layer of protection to the skin on your lips, sealing in the moisture and keeping external damage at bay. A variety of natural butters, oils, and fruit and vegetable extracts are ideal for keeping lips soft, hydrated and healthy. After all, natural lip balms are the best.
- No reaction is a good reaction – Watch out for irritants that can cause a bad reaction when applied to the lips. If your lips are dry, dull, and chapped, this is the last thing you need – more damage! Your skin may also be allergic to some substances, so steer clear of lip balms that contain them. Opt for an organic lip balm that contains ingredients that suit your skin type.
- UV protection – Since the skin on your lips offers no natural defense against UV rays, make sure your lip balm has SPF properties. Without this, not only can they get sunburnt, but can also develop scaly patches called actinic keratosis that is pre-cancerous. Make sure your lip guard is armed with SPF 15 to 30. In summer or winter, you need a lip balm with sun protection.
- Long-term commitment – Choose a lip balm that stays. While regular application and reapplication are needed, your balm ought to stay on and do its job for at least three to four hours, two if you’re in cold weather. Silken, buttery balms tend to stick on longer, providing the hydration and protection your lips need.
- Zero-toxin – Break up permanently with toxins. You don’t need them to keep your lips healthy, nor the serious side-effects they may bring with them. Ingredients like petrolatum, parabens, BHA/BHT, oxybenzone, lanolin, phthalates, phenoxyethanol, and silicones are hazardous to your health. Ensure that your lip balm contains natural ingredients and is safe to use.
So the best lip balm for dry, peeling lips, is the one that contains all of the above characteristics. Let your choice lie with natural, organic, and effective.