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As the colder months of the year rapidly thrust themselves upon many of us, it’s now more than ever we find ourselves attached at the hip to our favourite chap stick or lip balm. Many of us apply it multiple times daily, doing whatever we need to do to prevent ourselves from having the deal with the uncomfortable sensations and physical unattractiveness that comes along with chapped lips.

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So what exactly causes our lips to get chapped? Chapped lips are believed to be caused by a number of factors including, but not limited to: wind exposure, sun exposure, medications and dry air conditions. (1) Given that all of these conditions dry out our otherwise luscious lips, the natural response many of us have is to lick our lips. Even though licking may temporarily moisturize your lips, the sensation is very short lived and the byproduct is even worse, as once the saliva evaporates your lips become even drier.

How To Deal With Chapped Lips Naturally

As with most physical ailments in this world there are a number of natural alternatives and factors to be considered and chapped lips are of no exception to this. One of the easiest ways to help your lips avoid getting chapped is to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water is at the core of so many natural health alternatives, so drink up, especially in the colder months when our extremities dry up even easier and could use all the internal moisture they can get.

Given that one of the leading factors that causes your lips to get chapped is dry air, another easy solution is to use a humidifier in your house. Humidifiers help to boost moisture levels in the air and can be particularly helpful in your bedroom given how much time we spend breathing the air in there nightly.

Whether you already have chapped lips or are simply hoping to avoid getting it, there are two easy natural alternatives to conventional lip balm: coconut oil and vitamin E. The minerals in coconut oil not only add plenty of moisture to help cure dryness they also make your lips softer and more kissable. (2) As a fat-soluble anti-oxidant vitamin E is a soothing liquid that feeds and heals skin tissue and can do wonders for your lips when directly applied to them. (3)

(Aside: Coconut oil has also been shown to be effective at both whitening teeth and as an alternative to sunscreen. Find out more HERE and HERE)

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Things To Look Out For When Choosing A Lip Balm

For those of you that prefer the convenience of carrying around a packaged lip balm -rather than some coconut oil or a vitamin E capsule -there are a number of chemicals you are going to want to look out for and avoid when choosing which brand to buy. According to ecoevaluator.com, here are a number of the most commonly found harmful ingredients in lip balm:

  • Petrolatum – A petroleum derivative linked to breast cancer
  • Saccharin
  • Mineral Oil
  • Paraffin
  • Padimate
  • Wite Wax
  • Tocopheryl
  • Methylparaben & Polyparaben

Thankfully there are a number of brands available that consciously avoid these unwanted toxins, Burt’s Bees and certain Balea balms are known to do so and I invite you all to share any brands that you have come to trust via the comment section below.

Could Lip Balm Actually Be Addictive?

During the winter months many of us can find ourselves feeling the need to apply lip balm dozens of times daily. This reality has led some to question whether or not lip balms could actually be addictive. While lip balm doesn’t trigger a chemical addiction it can become a psychological habit and dependency that may feel a lot like an addiction. Keep in mind that our lips naturally produce new skin cells and the application of lip balms can interfere with the signalling mechanism that tells the lower cells to produce more. (4) This in turn could create a dependency on artificial moisture.

For this reason, avoid applying lip balms when your lips aren’t dry or chapped and help to prevent them ever getting chapped by staying hydrated.

Sources

(1) http://www.livestrong.com/article/97391-heal-chapped-lips-chapstick/
(2) http://www.livestrong.com/article/169674-how-to-use-coconut-oil-for-chapped-lips/
(3) http://www.nmah.com.au/relieving-chapped-lips-with-vitamin-e/
(4) http://greatist.com/health/chapstick-addictive


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