Can Lip Balm Make Your Chapped Lips Worse?

Two plain lip balms sit on geometric shapes against a pastel background.

If you have dry, cracked lips, chances are, the first thing you’re going to reach for is a lip balm. Formulated to provide instant relief and hydration, balms are a household staple.

But have you wondered why you must keep reapplying your lip balm constantly—even though you thought it was working to repair your lips? Turns out, some lip balm can make your dry lips even worse.

“While balms and chapstick can temporarily soothe irritated lips, they often have chemicals that may cause further irritation… (including) flavors, fragrance, and preservatives that can dry and irritate your lips.” Dr. Samer Jaber, a dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology in New York, told Today.

Therefore, it’s recommended that you refrain from lip balm products that contain ingredients that further irritate and dry out the lips, including methanol, alcohol, salicylic acid, and fragrance.

Instead, opt for a thicker ointments or lip creams that contain¬†petroleum jelly, shea butter, mineral oil, honey, glycerin, and beeswax. While some of those ingredients won’t completely heal your chapped lips, they do provide healthy relief that won’t further irritate them.

Aquaphor and Vaseline are great options, especially during the colder months when your lips are more likely to dry out. A standard chapstick may be okay during the summer months!

Preventing chapped lips in any weather is the best way to avoid irritating your lips with products. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and use a daily balm that provides SPF!

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