Chapped lips are a common occurrence in windy or dry weather. Because the skin on our lips is thinner than our other facial skin, it dries out faster. We also lose up to 10 times more moisture through our lips than we do elsewhere on our bodies, according to WebMD.
When our lips are exposed to dry air, wind or low humidity, they become dehydrated. Small splits and cracks can develop, which sometimes turn into larger, painful cracks. A common response to chapped lips is to lick them, but this only makes the problem worse. As the saliva evaporates, it only makes skin more dehydrated. In addition, saliva contains acids that can irritate skin further.
Another thing we do with chapped lips is pick at or peel off flakes of skin. This can cause more cracking, pain and bleeding. The healing process will be slowed and infection can result.
Shielding Lips From Damage
Our lips need a barrier between them and the elements. The protection that a lip balm provides can keep lips from drying out so easily. The right lip balm can also promote healing of already chapped lips.
Many lip balms available commercially can contain potentially harmful chemicals that don't benefit lips at all. Petroleum-based products are often used as well as wax-based products that shield but don't moisturize.
Natural Moisture Protects and Heals
Using coconut oil on lips can be a great way to moisturize them. While commercial lip balms mostly lay on top of skin, coconut oil is absorbed. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil can slip into skin cells, sealing moisture in while protecting lips from damage.
Using coconut oil on your lips is effective, but can be messy. As the oil touches skin, it warms and turns into a liquid that drips off lips and feels too greasy. As the oil absorbs into skin, it can leave your lips feeling too bare.
Most experts recommend making your own lip balm with equal parts coconut oil and beeswax. A few drops of vanilla extract and Vitamin E oil can be added if desired.
To make your own lip balm, follow these instructions:
1. With a fine grater, grate teaspoon beeswax into a glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons coconut oil. Stir.
2. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until beeswax is melted completely. Liquid should be golden in color.
3. Stir in Vitamin E oil and vanilla extract, if using. Pour into a small, clean jar or tub with lid.
4. Allow the mixture to harden for a few hours. Once it hardens, it is ready to use.
If you want to make a larger amount of lip balm, just remember to use half as much beeswax as coconut oil, adding a few more drops of vitamin E oil and vanilla extract.
Biconi now offers 100% cold pressed Virgin Coconut Oil, perfect for use in DIY lip balm and for all-over skin protection. Virgin coconut oil is preferred for skin care applications because of the way it absorbs into skin. Refined oil does not have the same molecular structure and will not absorb into skin as well.