While balms seem like an obvious fix for chapped lips, sometimes they only make the problem worse.
Over-the-counter medicated balms often contain ingredients like camphor, menthol, and phenol. Ultimately, these topical pain-relievers can irritate the lips and dry them out, says Sarah Garland, senior manager of planning for The Spa at Equinox. If you use these products, you’ll probably end up reapplying more frequently than you’d like.
Natural fragrances are safe to use, but Garland says to pass on artificially scented balms. When those products get into micro-cracks in the skin, they can make the lips burn.
Use balms with soothing ingredients such as shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil, and antioxidants including vitamin E and grapeseed, which seal in moisture, Garland says. She recommends these picks from Kopari, Caudelie, and Kiehl’s. Apply one whenever your lips feel dry as well as right before bed for several hours of uninterrupted moisturization.
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