Natural Lip Balm Vs the Other Kind
Lip balm has been around for over 100 years. But it took a wrong turn right at the beginning. The inventor of lip balm, Dr. C. D. Fleet, started an unfortunate trend by using petroleum jelly in his Chap Stick lip balm, and it’s only become clear in recent years just how ineffective petroleum jelly is as a lip balm. At best, since petroleum jelly isn’t absorbed by the skin, it provides only a short-term fix for dry, chapped lips. And since it keeps the skin from breathing, it can — if used frequently — actually make your lips more chapped. If you’re looking for a lip balm that can actually heal chapped lips you should consider lip balm made with shea butter. Shea butter’s effect on the skin is different from that of petroleum jelly. Instead of lying inert on the surface of the lips, it is absorbed by the skin cells. Because it improves the moisture retention capacity of your lips, your lips become dry and chapped much less frequently.
Why Shea Butter Lip Balm Works
In early adulthood, all of our skin cells — including those in our lips — begin to become more porous and less elastic. If shea butter — a substance that both moisturizes the skin and restores the skin cells’ elasticity — is applied to the lips, then not only are the cells hydrated, but they gradually regain their natural elasticity so that they are better able to keep moisture from escaping. Because unrefined shea butter contains both a high moisturizing fraction and an extraordinarily high healing fraction, it is a wonderful agent for revitalizing our skin cells so that they get back their moisture retention capacity.
Why Petroleum-based Lip Balm Doesn’t Work
Petroleum-based lip balm doesn’t pretend to fix the problem that causes dry chapped lips. Instead, it basically acts as a band-aid — slightly moisturizing the surface of the lips and trapping the moisture there, thus temporarily making the lips less dry. But to keep your lips moist using petroleum-based lip balm, you need to frequently reapply the lip balm. Well you might as well just lick your lips all the time — that has the same temporary effect, it’s a lot cheaper, and it doesn’t run the risk that bacteria will be trapped between the greasy lip balm and the skin, causing further irritation and even infection.
Cause of Chapped Lips
Chapped lips are, of course, the result of our lips being too dry. Everyone experiences dry chapped lips at one time or another, but some of us have a severe and chronic problem. The explanation for severe and chronic dry lips is that our skin has lost its moisture retention capacity. As a consequence, our lips become easily chapped. The chapping further reduces the moisture retention capacity and this vicious circle results in the problem becoming chronic and increasingly severe. Whether you just have occasional chapping or chronic and severe chapping, shea butter lip balm is a good choice since it enhances the skin’s moisture retention properties.