Breaking the Addiction: 7 Alternatives to Chapstick and Lip Balms That Work
When your lips are chapped, you may feel inclined to reach for a tube of chapstick or lip balm, but after reading this, you may think twice.
It’s no secret that many conventional “solutions” for chapped lips can become addicting. I’m an ex-addict myself, so I know the feeling. When your lips are so chapped and uncomfortable that it hurts to even smile, you’d do just about anything to relieve them–even apply chemicals to one of the most vulnerable areas of your body. But, in what’s become a vicious cycle that many of us know all too well, these chemicals actually cause your lips to become even drier. Here’s why:
Incredibly convincing evidence indicates that one super-nutrient can help you become an age-defying wonder with strong joints, clear vision, youthful skin, a sharp memory and boundless energy.
This super-nutrient is the most powerful antioxidant ever discovered, and I’m absolutely convinced this may be the single most essential anti-aging nutrient of all.
Your lips absorb A LOT, and with little natural protection.
Your lips only have three to five layers of skin protection—very few compared to your face, which has up to 16 layers. With only three layers of defense, there’s less protection from the dangerous chemicals that could be in your lip-moisturizing product. Additionally, fewer layers of skin means it’s difficult for your lips to retain much moisture in the first place, making you more susceptible to chapped lips when exposed to even the slightest environmental or physiological change. So what should you do?
Avoid the chemicals!
At all costs. Many popular lip-moisturizing products contain ingredients that only exacerbate the problem, including an array of hormone-disrupting parabens, synthetic coloring, artificial flavors and dangerous ingredients such as oxybenzene, camphor, phenol and menthol, a cooling agent known to irritate sensitive skin.
The Problem? These products stand in the way of your skin’s natural healing process.
What most people don’t realize is that chapped lips aren’t just a seasonal annoyance, they’re a cry for help! The bottom layer of skin in the lips produces new skin cells more rapidly than most other regions, but this production becomes even more rapid when top layers send out signals of drying dangers. Applying unnatural forms of moisture interferes with the 9-11-call for new skin cells, causing your lips to stay dry and cracked indefinitely. On the other hand, treating your chapped lips in a way that’s all natural can relieve irritation and protect them from becoming chapped ever again.
7 Alternatives to Conventional Lip Balms That Work:
Here’s seven all natural ways you can prevent and heal chapped lips.
1. Stay hydrated:
As stated earlier, chapped lips are a cry for help. When you feel chapped lips coming on, your first action should be to ante up on your water intake. I find it helps tremendously to have a few easy-to-carry water bottles in your arsenal. Try to keep a couple of empty bottles at work, a couple at home and even a couple in your car (for those times you forget one). Do your best to have water around 24/7–when water is at your disposal, you’d be shocked at how much more you consume in a day.
2. Brown sugar + honey + olive oil:
This magic trio is the best all-natural do-it-yourself lip scrub around.
This all natural, straight-from-your-kitchen scrub has been known to work lip-smoothing magic.
Mix brown sugar, honey and olive oil in a small bowl. Then, gently scrub lips with mixture and rinse. For an added boost of protection, rub a little extra virgin olive oil on your lips after rinsing the scrub. You can find a great tutorial for this at-home lip soother here.
3. Buy a fresh aloe plant:
Aloe plants can be ordered right online and they’re incredibly easy to care for. The sap of aloe contains over 200 biologically active compounds that have been known to treat hundreds of health problems. Keeping a fresh aloe plant in your home will not only come handy when you suffer the occasional culinary burn (guilty!), it will prove useful when you’re suffering the painful burn of dry, cracked chapped lips.
To help heal chapped lips, simply apply some fresh aloe sap to your lips first thing in the morning. If your lips are dry and flaky upon waking up, re-apply the lip scrub mentioned above before applying fresh aloe.
4. Source lip moisturizers from weird places:
There are millions of lubricating solutions out there that are far better for your chapped lips than conventional balms. But a few of them may come as a surprise! Next time your lips are in need of moisture, reach for coconut oil, olive oil or even your own body oil, suggests dermatologist Joseph Bark, M.D., of Lexington, Ky. With a clean finger, simply rub the side of your nose, and then rub your lips with your finger. The natural oils on the side of your nose will lubricate the lips and protect them from further damage, says Dr. Bark.
5. Stop licking your lips:
Your saliva is designed to assist in the initial breakdown of foods and protect your teeth from bacterial decay, so you can imagine the enzymes in your saliva are extremely active. And in the case of chapped lips, that enzyme activity is not in your favor. Saliva also evaporates quickly, leaving your lips feeling even more irritated and chapped.
6. Get a humidifier:
Sleeping with a humidifier has been known to treat and prevent chapped lips. Be sure to have one on-hand during the winter months and run it every night while you sleep. After a couple nights you’ll notice a big difference.
7. Organic lip balm:
If all else fails, invest in a high-quality organic lip balm and keep it on your nightstand. It should only be used at night. Most people sleep with their mouths slightly open, causing dry air to be passed between the lips for six to eight straigtht hours every night. Applying a high-quality organic balm right before bed can help protect your lips from drying out while you slumber. I always loved the EOS line, but have recently grown to love a new balm that just came out called LipFX Organic Lip Balm. LipFX is unique because it’s made with calendula extract, a soothing botanical widely used to support skin health, and vitamin E, a skin-supporting antioxidant. Both balms are paraben-free, petrolatum-free, phthalate-free, made with impressively moisturizing ingredients and certified organic — a major plus in my book.