Why your pout remains chapped!
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According to dermatology experts, the type of balm you put on your pout might be more important than the amount.
Dr Mona Gohara, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine, and Dr.Brendan Camp, a dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York, told TODAY why some lip balms could do more harm than good. To start with, they discussed why your lips might be chapped in the first place.
The cold weather can wreak havoc on them as the skin is very thin, so they're more likely to dry out, Dr Gohara said. Meanwhile, Dr Camp noted that the delicate skin of your pout can easily be irritated by ingredients in skincare or food, yeast or bacteria, and even enzymes in saliva. You might also not be giving them enough love: lot's of people forget about their lips when they're moisturising their face.
But if your lips are dry and chapped not long after you apply your balm, you just might be using the wrong kind. You might think that a cooling, tingly salve will soothe to your sore mouth. But Dr Gohara said these balms should be avoided. Anything that makes your lips tingle, cold, soothes with that mentholy [feel], that's bad news bears because it means that there's an ingredient in there that is a potential irritant," she explained.
So while it feels good when you first apply it, it could make your lips more dry and irritated in the long run. You should avoid lip balms with ingredients like camphor, menthol or alcohol. Fragrances, Flavouring agents and dyes should be avoided as according to Dr Camp, these might cause allergic contact dermatitis, a type of eczema triggered by contact with a particular substance.
And if your lips are dry, cracked, red, scaly and itchy, you might have developed a sensitivity to an ingredient in your lip balm, he added. Dr Camp said you want to look for ingredients that will help trap water in the skin while keeping it moisturized for a long period of time. "Ingredients like beeswax, olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, and shea butter are often used for this purpose," he said.
You should also be wearing a salve with SPF to protect your lips from the sun. Meanwhile, Dr Gohara said that your ideal balm will have a combination of humectants (like hyaluronic acid and glycerin), which draw moisture into the skin, and occlusives (such as shea butter and mineral oil), which lock moisture in.
The NHS recommended you use one containing petroleum jelly or beeswax. It said: "Try a few different lip balms if one is not working for you – some people may be sensitive to some fragrances, dyes or cosmetic ingredients." As long as you're using the right type of balm, Dr Gohara said you can apply it multiple times a day.
According to Dr Camp, it's best to put on lip balm once in the morning and once before bed. There are other ways of preventing dry lips too. Lisa Borg, skin specialist and nutritionist at the Pulse Light Clinc, said the best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Preferably quality water as opposed to dehydrating coffee and fizzy drinks, she noted.
Lisa also recommended eating foods that simulate saliva production, such as apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes, watermelon, lemons, and crunchy fibrous vegetables like carrots and celery.