Lip Balm Ingredients

Lip Balm Ingredients: What to Look for and What to Avoid

.
6 min read

DEC 3, 2023 - by FELIP GERDES
LIFE STYLE
Lip Balm Ingredients

Lip Balm Ingredients: What to Look for and What to Avoid

.
6 min read

DEC 3, 2023 - by FELIP GERDES
LIFE STYLE
As we move into the cold, dry seasons, it becomes more important to take care of our lips when they're at their most sensitive. Because the lips have a thin skin barrier and low water retention, they deserve more of our attention. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is through lip balms. But not all lip balms are created equal, and their ingredients can greatly affect their moisture retention, hydration capabilities, and protection factor. Understanding which lip balm ingredients to look for and which to avoid can make a significant difference in achieving soft, hydrated lips.
As we move into the cold, dry seasons, it becomes more important to take care of our lips when they're at their most sensitive. Because the lips have a thin skin barrier and low water retention, they deserve more of our attention. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is through lip balms. But not all lip balms are created equal, and their ingredients can greatly affect their moisture retention, hydration capabilities, and protection factor. Understanding which lip balm ingredients to look for and which to avoid can make a significant difference in achieving soft, hydrated lips.

Why do our lips get dry?

Understanding what causes dry lips is key to choosing the right lip balm ingredients. The stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of the skin, plays a crucial role in our skin barrier
by keeping moisture in. The stratum corneum in the lips is very thin compared to the rest of our skin, making it much easier for moisture to escape, which can cause them to dry out quickly and result in chapped lips and irritation.1

Why do our lips get dry?

Understanding what causes dry lips is key to choosing the right lip balm ingredients. The stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of the skin, plays a crucial role in our skin barrier
by keeping moisture in. The stratum corneum in the lips is very thin compared to the rest of our skin, making it much easier for moisture to escape, which can cause them to dry out quickly and result in chapped lips and irritation.1

Why do some lip balms make chapped lips worse?

Most chapsticks, lip balms, and other lip products claim to protect and hydrate the lips. However, some lip balms actually make your lips feel drier and cause cracked lips and irritation. That’s because the outermost layer of skin on the lips, the stratum corneum, is so thin and can dry out very easily.2 This thin protection layer makes the skin on our lips especially sensitive to potentially toxic and irritating chemicals that may be found in lip balms. Lip balms that contain unnatural ingredients dry out chapped lips even more, compromising lips’ barrier function.

Why do some lip balms make chapped lips worse?

Most chapsticks, lip balms, and other lip products claim to protect and hydrate the lips. However, some lip balms actually make your lips feel drier and cause cracked lips and irritation. That’s because the outermost layer of skin on the lips, the stratum corneum, is so thin and can dry out very easily.2 This thin protection layer makes the skin on our lips especially sensitive to potentially toxic and irritating chemicals that may be found in lip balms. Lip balms that contain unnatural ingredients dry out chapped lips even more, compromising lips’ barrier function.

3 ingredients to avoid and why

When looking for lip balms, some ingredients to look out for include chemical sunscreens, potentially toxic ingredients, and drying agents.

3 ingredients to avoid and why

When looking for lip balms, some ingredients to look out for include chemical sunscreens, potentially toxic ingredients, and drying agents.

Chemical Sunscreens

Lip balms will often include chemical sunscreens for their UV protection properties. Since up to 80% of visible skin aging is linked to exposure to UV radiation, UV protection is an important part of skincare.3 The lips are also very vulnerable to sun damage as the thin stratum corneum is often damaged (presenting as chapped lips), and they contain less UV-protecting melanin. While UV protection is important, lip balms may contain chemical sunscreen agents and ingredients that can be irritating or even toxic when ingested orally. Some ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, avobenzone, padimate O can cause irritation or other health concerns like hormone disruption.4,5
Mineral-based SPF protection is an effective alternative; it provides the same level of sun protection, with less toxic side effects!

Chemical Sunscreens

Lip balms will often include chemical sunscreens for their UV protection properties. Since up to 80% of visible skin aging is linked to exposure to UV radiation, UV protection is an important part of skincare.3 The lips are also very vulnerable to sun damage as the thin stratum corneum is often damaged (presenting as chapped lips), and they contain less UV-protecting melanin. While UV protection is important, lip balms may contain chemical sunscreen agents and ingredients that can be irritating or even toxic when ingested orally. Some ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, avobenzone, padimate O can cause irritation or other health concerns like hormone disruption.4,5
Mineral-based SPF protection is an effective alternative; it provides the same level of sun protection, with less toxic side effects!

Toxic Ingredients

While many lip balms advertise their use of natural ingredients, we are rarely told about the unnatural ingredients used. Lip balms are no exception, as artificial fragrances and preservatives, such as parabens, are often added to lip balms for a pleasant scent and prolonged shelf life. Unfortunately, these substances can be harsh on delicate lip skin, and enter the bloodstream more easily when exposed to chapped lips with a compromised skin barrier. This results in irritation and increased dryness. Parabens
, in particular, are hormone disruptors and have been linked to increased rates of breast cancer and other health concerns.6 Choosing lip balms free from these harmful additives can reduce the risk of irritation and ensure a gentler, more skin-friendly product.

Toxic Ingredients

While many lip balms advertise their use of natural ingredients, we are rarely told about the unnatural ingredients used. Lip balms are no exception, as artificial fragrances and preservatives, such as parabens, are often added to lip balms for a pleasant scent and prolonged shelf life. Unfortunately, these substances can be harsh on delicate lip skin, and enter the bloodstream more easily when exposed to chapped lips with a compromised skin barrier. This results in irritation and increased dryness. Parabens
, in particular, are hormone disruptors and have been linked to increased rates of breast cancer and other health concerns.6 Choosing lip balms free from these harmful additives can reduce the risk of irritation and ensure a gentler, more skin-friendly product.

Drying agents

Menthol, alcohol, and camphor are commonly used in lip balms to create a cooling effect on the lips. While this may initially feel refreshing and soothing, over time, they can dry and irritate your lips These lip balms can strip away moisture, leaving lips dry and vulnerable.7 To avoid worsening chapped lips, opt for lip balms with soothing natural ingredients that provide relief without compromising the delicate balance of lip hydration.

Drying agents

Menthol, alcohol, and camphor are commonly used in lip balms to create a cooling effect on the lips. While this may initially feel refreshing and soothing, over time, they can dry and irritate your lips These lip balms can strip away moisture, leaving lips dry and vulnerable.7 To avoid worsening chapped lips, opt for lip balms with soothing natural ingredients that provide relief without compromising the delicate balance of lip hydration.

Benefits of Natural Ingredients

When searching for lip balms, natural ingredients are ideal because these natural ingredients have properties that can make your lips healthier. Natural lip balm ingredients can provide hydration to the lips while providing protection against the elements. When learning how to moisturize lips, check the ingredients of your lip balms and search for those containing natural ingredients.

Benefits of Natural Ingredients

When searching for lip balms, natural ingredients are ideal because these natural ingredients have properties that can make your lips healthier. Natural lip balm ingredients can provide hydration to the lips while providing protection against the elements. When learning how to moisturize lips, check the ingredients of your lip balms and search for those containing natural ingredients.

3 ingredients to use

So which natural ingredients should you look for? Here are three good options to help you choose the right product for your needs.

3 ingredients to use

So which natural ingredients should you look for? Here are three good options to help you choose the right product for your needs.

Beeswax

Beeswax is an excellent natural component in lip balms because it forms a protective shield on the lips, locking in moisture and helping to prevent dehydration via trans epidermal water loss. The waxy substance acts as both an occlusive to bolster the water barrier and a natural humectant to attract water to the lips and help them stay hydrated. Beeswax is a nontoxic, non-irritating, all natural alternative to petroleum jelly that fosters hydration and nourishment.8

Beeswax

Beeswax is an excellent natural component in lip balms because it forms a protective shield on the lips, locking in moisture and helping to prevent dehydration via trans epidermal water loss. The waxy substance acts as both an occlusive to bolster the water barrier and a natural humectant to attract water to the lips and help them stay hydrated. Beeswax is a nontoxic, non-irritating, all natural alternative to petroleum jelly that fosters hydration and nourishment.8

Natural Oils

Natural oils are known for their exceptional benefits in promoting healthy and radiant skin. Whether it's coconut oil, jojoba oil
, or argan oil, these plant-derived oils are rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients that work wonders for the skin.9,10 Because of their strong nutrient profiles, natural oils strengthen the skin barrier while hydrating the skin. All of this helps prevent skin aging and maintain overall skin health.

Natural Oils

Natural oils are known for their exceptional benefits in promoting healthy and radiant skin. Whether it's coconut oil, jojoba oil
, or argan oil, these plant-derived oils are rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and nutrients that work wonders for the skin.9,10 Because of their strong nutrient profiles, natural oils strengthen the skin barrier while hydrating the skin. All of this helps prevent skin aging and maintain overall skin health.

Natural sunscreen ingredients

Sun damage is responsible for much of the effects of aging, especially in the lips. Can you put sunscreen on lips? Yes! Mineral sunscreens in particular stand out as the best choice for lip balms as they provide great protection while avoiding the potential toxicity associated with chemical sunscreens. When it comes to mineral sunscreens, there are two options: zinc oxide
and titanium dioxide. While both are better than chemical sunscreens, zinc oxide is our preferred UV mineral filter because it blocks more UVA rays than Titanium Dioxide and generally has a higher safety profile, especially when used in the form of non-nano zinc oxide. Because non-nano zinc oxide is non-toxic and does not cause irritation in the skin it is the perfect sunscreen option for the thinner skin around the lip that can often be sensitive to chemicals. 11

Natural sunscreen ingredients

Sun damage is responsible for much of the effects of aging, especially in the lips. Can you put sunscreen on lips? Yes! Mineral sunscreens in particular stand out as the best choice for lip balms as they provide great protection while avoiding the potential toxicity associated with chemical sunscreens. When it comes to mineral sunscreens, there are two options: zinc oxide
and titanium dioxide. While both are better than chemical sunscreens, zinc oxide is our preferred UV mineral filter because it blocks more UVA rays than Titanium Dioxide and generally has a higher safety profile, especially when used in the form of non-nano zinc oxide. Because non-nano zinc oxide is non-toxic and does not cause irritation in the skin it is the perfect sunscreen option for the thinner skin around the lip that can often be sensitive to chemicals. 11

Nurturing Your Skin Beyond Lip Care

In our quest for healthy, hydrated lips, it's equally important to explore a range of topical skin care products designed to nourish and protect the rest of your skin as well. Remember to include peptide face moisturizer and peptide body lotion in your routine to maintain overall skin health for a radiant and well-nurtured complexion.

Nurturing Your Skin Beyond Lip Care

In our quest for healthy, hydrated lips, it's equally important to explore a range of topical skin care products designed to nourish and protect the rest of your skin as well. Remember to include peptide face moisturizer and peptide body lotion in your routine to maintain overall skin health for a radiant and well-nurtured complexion.
Key Takeaways:
  • During cold, dry seasons, it's crucial to pay extra attention to lip care due to the thin skin barrier. Lip balms are effective in maintaining lip moisture, but their ingredients play a significant role in their effectiveness.
  • The stratum corneum, the outer layer of skin, is thinnest on the lips, meaning they easily dry out, leading to chapped lips and irritation.
  • Some lip balms with unnatural ingredients can compromise the skin barrier, leading to increased dryness and worsening chapped lips.
  • Natural ingredients in lip balms contribute to healthier lips by providing hydration and protection against environmental elements without the risks brought by unnatural ingredients.
Key Takeaways:
  • During cold, dry seasons, it's crucial to pay extra attention to lip care due to the thin skin barrier. Lip balms are effective in maintaining lip moisture, but their ingredients play a significant role in their effectiveness.
  • The stratum corneum, the outer layer of skin, is thinnest on the lips, meaning they easily dry out, leading to chapped lips and irritation.
  • Some lip balms with unnatural ingredients can compromise the skin barrier, leading to increased dryness and worsening chapped lips.
  • Natural ingredients in lip balms contribute to healthier lips by providing hydration and protection against environmental elements without the risks brought by unnatural ingredients.

By Felip Gerdes: Felip is an aspiring lawyer studying political science at the UC San Diego. For more on Felip, check out his LinkedIn.

By Felip Gerdes: Felip is an aspiring lawyer studying political science at the UC San Diego. For more on Felip, check out his LinkedIn.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

Discover More