When you smilin’, when you smilin’
The whole world smiles with you.
Yes when you laughin’ oh when you laughin’
The sun comes shinin’ through.
But when you cryin’, you bring on the rain.
So stop your sighin’ baby, and be happy again.
Keep on smilin’, keep on smilin’ baby,
And the whole world smiles with you.
Louis Armstrong sings it like it is. Your lips can work some serious magic when they want to. So why is it that they are probably one of most neglected portions of your skin care routine?
As we age, we start to think more and more about the care of our skin, from the choice of cleansers, moisturizers, and serums to what sort of facial treatment we’ll splurge on next. A lot of thought and research is put into these choices, looking for brands we can trust, and products that are lined with ingredients that will be real powerhouses in our anti-aging skin care routine.
Yet not a thought goes into your lip care routine. In fact, I guarantee most of you are guilty of a non-routine when it comes to your lips. Unless you’re suffering from chapped lips for one reason or another, you don’t even think about them at all.
They’re an afterthought.
As you’re standing in line at the grocery store waiting to check out, you happen to remember ruining your last tube of lip balm in your pants pocket in the laundry, so you grab at whatever inexpensive, unnamed, colorful tube happens to be next to the rag mag that you’re peering at.
Probably not the best plan to take care of one of your best and most influential assets.
Why Are Lip Treatments Important?
“The skin on your lips is thinner than the skin on other parts of your face, making it more vulnerable to the elements,” Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, points out.
Did you ever notice that your lips are the first to feel dry and parched . . . . before you even notice getting thirsty. They get chapped when you’re outside skiing before your face even starts to feel the effects of being windburned.
Why All Lip Treatments are Not Created Equal
It’s definitely just as important to avoid products that can cause chapping as it is to start using treatments that will actually heal your lips! Typically, most of the grab-and-go variety, and many of the higher priced versions of lip balms contain ingredients that don’t actually fix dry, chapped lips, and may even make them worse.
Some ingredients could just be an irritant to lips, while others may instigate allergies. Be wary of the following ingredients if you suspect your lips aren’t responding well to what you’re currently using:
- Chemical sunscreen ingredients
- Color pigments
- Essential oils
- Castor oil
- Mineral oil
- Hydrogenated polyisobutene
Not all of these should necessarily be avoided at all costs, though. Sometimes they may have their place. For instance, a potential allergen like lanolin is actually one of the most powerful moisturizers available. If you’re not allergic to it, it’s wonderful! Occlusives like mineral oil help with the barrier quality to protect the skin and seal in moisture. But they don’t deliver moisture, either, so they won’t do you any good when it comes to healing your lips.
What to Look For in A Lip Treatment
When you’re really looking for something to go to bat for parched, cracked lips, you’re looking for an emollient. They actually work to bring moisture to your skin through the composition of the product. They can be either water-based or oil-based, though oil-based emollients tend to stick around longer.
An emollient will help to soothe and heal the external barrier layer, which will tell the immune system to take a break, helping to alleviate inflammation. They absorb well into the skin, filling in cracks and preventing moisture loss.
“Look for ingredients like shea butter, glycerin or natural oils,” advises Dr. Cybele Fishman, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “I often recommend that my clients try coconut oil,” adds Dr. Jessica Wu, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine. “You can also opt for a sweet almond oil.”
If your lips are super chapped, try using the emollients in their pure form, rather than in combination with others. Since your lips are really sensitive, using the least number of ingredients as possible will help to minimize the risk of irritation or allergic reaction.
Best Lip Treatments
“I applied a drop of Delta-5 oil to my lips at bedtime. The oil was rapidly absorbed and soothing. In the morning, my lips felt smoother, lustrous, puffed, full, and it brought out my natural color. I don’t even need my lipstick!”- Anna B.
1: If you’re tired of not getting relief from conventional treatments, but want the convenience of a ready-to-go preparation, grab DELTA-5 by Sciaessentials. This soft oil is absorbed quickly and penetrates your skin deeply, leaving your lips feeling softer, smoother, less flaky and irritated. The powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects can heal lips overnight with just a drop. It’s been proven to have anti-aging properties, aiding in decreasing wrinkle formation directly surrounding the lips, as well.
2: Medical grade lanolin has a similar molecular structure to that of human sebum. As long as you’re not allergic, lanolin is a fabulous ingredient for healing dry, chapped lips. Not only is it a powerful emollient, but has semi-occlusive properties, as well.
3: Coconut oil is a well-known treatment for burns in alternative medicine circles due to its moisture properties and its analgesic properties. That makes it a great choice for painful flaking lips. Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it may reduce swelling.
4: Shea butter is a stable fat with excellent moisturizing properties. Since it’s usually very thick, it has both emollient and occlusive properties, creating a protective seal on top of the lips.
5: Squalane is the saturated form of squalene, an oil naturally produced by the human body, keeping our skin moisturized and protected. It has a finer texture than other oils, so it penetrates well. It’s also stable and non-irritating, though it doesn’t tend to produce quite as good of a barrier as the others, so it may work best layered under a more occlusive product, especially if you’re out in the harsh weather.