|Lip balm distributed by Colorado Parks & Willife.|
Was I wrong about the lip balm?
Living in an arid climate, I think of chapped lips as normal. I rarely put anything on them except sometimes in the winter.
Now, in the ever-changing world of health advice, some people are saying lip balm makes things worse.
Lip balms provide only temporary comfort, and some types can make scaly lips even drier.I grew up with Chapstick commercials featuring the dashing competitive and freestyle skier Suzy Chaffee (born in Vermont but who attended the University of Denver), whose nickname was "Suzy Chapstick" because she was that brand's spokesmodel in the 1970s. (She later endorsed only "all-natural" products.) So this is hard news to take.
That's because, in part, when the thin film of moisture from the lip balm evaporates, it dehydrates your lips even more. "It starts a vicious cycle," Dr. Leah Jacob, an assistant professor of dermatology at Tulane University, told Live Science.
But can she do a "Suzy contortion spin," as shown?
Additionally, lips don't have any hair follicles or oil glands of their own. Instead, the oil from glands around our lips provide moisture. Licking your lips or applying a thin gloss, balm or anything out of a tube to supplement that moisture may sound like a good idea, but it can be the worst thing you do for them because it can lead to further dehydration, Jacob said.
Susy Chaffee at Squaw Valley
Some lip balms contain ingredients that can be irritating or drying. Menthol, salicylic acid, cinnamic aldehyde and peppermint flavors are all culprits, Jacob said. "A lot of people don't have any problems with these ingredients, but people with sensitive skin or allergies may be more sensitive to these on their lips, as well," she said.