*This is a guest post by Selina*
I bet if I asked you to name your favorite lip balm, not only would you have an answer for me in less than ten seconds, you’d probably whip it out of your purse or pocket to show me.
Like a beloved movie, chosen political party or fine bottle of wine, we are devoted to our lip balm and are willing to share its finer points with anyone who will listen. If asked, we’d probably share the balm itself.
But are you using lip balm the right way? Open, apply, close. There doesn’t really seem to be much to it, does there?
Well my friends, that’s where you’re wrong.
Does Your Lip Balm Contain SPF?
Health experts cannot stress enough how important sunscreen is in our daily skin care routine. We apply it to our face and body, but often forget our lips. The sun ages skin, lips included.
Because the skin on your lips is so thin, sun damage can actually cause it to become thinner. There’s also skin cancer to consider. A number of experts are concerned that lip gloss is actually magnifying the problem.
Much like baby oil, lip gloss actually absorbs the sun’s rays, increasing your exposure to harmful ultraviolet light.
The best way to combat the damaging effects of the sun is to apply (and reapply) a lip balm containing SPF 15 or higher, every day.
Watch That Ingredient List
We apply lip balm to moisturize our lips, but you may be surprised at how many balms contain ingredients that do exactly the opposite. Some of the biggest culprits are menthol, phenol and salicylic acid.
These ingredients cause an enjoyable tingling feeling, but what they’re actually doing is stripping off protective layers of skin, leaving your lips vulnerable to the elements.
Another thing to avoid is strong fragrances. It’s hard to admit, considering a fun smell is often usually one of the coolest things about lip balm (like Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers), but it can be irritating to our precious puckers.
Alright ladies (and gentlemen), we’ve come to the more…unpleasant area of lip care. More than 50 million adults suffer from reoccurring cold sores every year.
If you’re one of the unfortunate souls that has to put up with those evil little lip monsters, you know what a literal pain they can be.
Unfortunately, they have an effect on our lip balm as well. I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s important to throw out your lip balm and lipstick after a cold sore outbreak. It’s true, but not so much for yourself as for others.
If you have the virus that causes cold sores, you have it for life. You cannot re-infect yourself with contaminated lip balm. However, you can infect anyone you share it with.
My advice is to toss it. Better safe than sorry!
Too Much of a Good Thing
I have heard it referred to as an addiction, but I’m more comfortable classifying it as a bad habit. Over application of lip balm can be incredibly damaging to your lips.
Even though you may think you’re just keeping them moisturized, eventually you reach a point where you’re no longer doing your lips any favors.
Because the skin on your lips is so thin, it is designed to shed very quickly. The new layer of skin grows rapidly as the old one sloughs away. If there is an excessive extra layer of balm on the lip, the dead skin cannot be shed and the regeneration of the new skin will be slowed.
In the end, overuse of balm can actually cause a buildup of dead skin, causing your lips to become chapped. Oh, the irony!
If you use this article as a guideline, not only will you ensure you’re using lip balm effectively, you will keep your kisser kissable!
As a freelance writer for Glisten, Selina Torres spends her days elbow deep in cosmetics and skin care products. When she’s not writing, she spends her time practicing Krav Maga and ambushing her boyfriend.