Natural Lip Balms for Winter

Do you suffer with really dry, chapped lips during winter. Discover natural solutions to ease your discomfort.

This is a common problem for many folk during the winter months, since unlike the rest of our skin, lips do not produce sebum, which makes them vulnerable to drying out.

But don’t despair – there’s plenty that can be done to remedy this discomfort. Since dryness of the skin can be indicative of dehydration at a deeper level, it’s important to ensure that your internal hydration levels are not neglected – so remember to drink lots of water in addition to tackling the problem topically.

Many people find that if they’re having to constantly reapply lip balm because their lips dry out within a short time of putting it on – irrespective of whether they plaster it on thickly – the reaction is often due to a lip balm ingredient that needs to be avoided.

Many lip balms and chap sticks use petroleum-derived/petrochemical ingredients, manufactured waxes and chemicals, silicon dioxide and/or artificial skin softeners as their moisturising base. Although substances such as these (petrolatum/white petroleum jelly based) can serve as effective barriers to moisture loss from the skin, they ultimately end up causing even further dryness, since they don’t actually moisturise because the lips can’t absorb them. So although this can offer a short-term fix, it doesn’t provide a long-term solution.

It pays to read labels to identify what is in your lip or other skin-care products: for example, you may want to avoid any product that contain parabens (controversial preservatives), phthalates (hormone disruptors – found in many fragrances/perfumes), synthetic fragrances, flavourants and colourants, silicones (ingredients that provide slick and shine and helps lip products stay on the lips longer, but locks out moisturisation), highly refined oils and/or genetically modified oils (sunflower, canola, soy, corn etc.). Some of these oils are however available in non-GMO form from cosmetic ingredient suppliers. Isolates like menthol, camphor, and phenol are often included in lip balms for the topical soothing and tingly/cooling sensation they produce, but they can also dry lips out – part of the catch-22 cycle that is common to many commercial lip products. Good for business, as it generates regular repeat sales, but not ideal for your lips! However, when these constituents, which are present in certain whole essential oils (i.e. not isolated from an oil or synthetically created in a lab), are included in lip balms they tend not to exhibit the above phenomenon – another reason to opt for natural rather than mass- produced commercial products.

There is a wonderful array of natural substances available for DIY crafters, which provides moisturisation and/or barrier-care. These include vegetable butters, such as shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado butter etc., as well as various natural vegetable oils such as argan, avocado, baobab, calendula, coconut, jojoba, olive, rosehip etc. In addition, beeswax, soya wax, jojoba wax or other natural waxes also provide barrier function, as well as assisting in emulsifying oily ingredients, providing shine and hardening lip-care products. Other ingredients like lanolin, lecithin and vitamin E can also be included in natural lip-care products for their emulsifying and/or lipcare properties. Certain essential oils are also suitable for lip-care, but these need to be added with knowledge. Besides their many therapeutic qualities these aromatic compounds are phthalate-free, hence a healthier choice for adding fragrance to lip and other natural skin and body products.

For acutely cracked lips you may find it best to start treatment using a lip balm, and once the condition improves, move on to a lipstick. A gentle, natural lip scrub can also help. By making your own lip-care products you can customise formulations and ingredients to your personal and specific needs or preferences. I hope this information helps you regain smooth, happy and kissable lips real soon!

For information about how to make your own natural lip balms, as well as many other natural skin care products and toiletries, contact info@kitchencosmetics.co.za to join their fun DIY workshops.

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Natural Lip Balms for Winter

Dr Sandi Nye
About The Author
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Dr, ND. She is a naturopath with a special interest in aromatic and integrative medicine, and is dual-registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA). She serves as editorial board member and/or consultant for various national and international publications, and is in private practice in Pinelands, Cape Town.