The crisp, late-autumn breeze brings with it dry air and chapped lips. Before you reach for last years lip balm, read this: Chapped lips are your lips’ distress signal, for the bottom layer of skin to produce new skin cells more rapidly.

Before you reach for your go-to lip balm though, ask yourself this: what is in it? Do you know what your lip balm’s made of? 

Using certain unnatural forms of lip balm filled with potentially harmful chemicals can interfere with your lips’ top skin layer’s need for new skin cells, causing the lips to stay dry and cracked. Some conventional lip balms include toxic ingredients such as hormone-disrupting parabens, dyes, synthetic fragrances, artificial flavors, and other dangerous chemicals like oxybenzene—not things you want to be putting on the sensitive skin of your lips.

Some lip balms also contain allergens and irritants that can make chapped lips even worse.

This year, if your lips start to chap use safe, skin-nourishing moisturizers instead.

Specifically, here are 2 types of ingredients to avoid when choosing a lip balm:

  • Petroleum jelly and Mineral Oil. A by-product of oil-refining that may contain carcinogens, creates a barrier that prevents moisture from leaving the skin. It creates an instant softened surface that is merely an illusion and is actually drying out the skin layers underneath by sealing out air and true moisture.
  • Phenol, menthol, and camphor. These ingredients create a soothing feeling, but also aid in removing the lips’ protective layers of skin, causing drying, redness, and swelling. Phenol is also considered toxic to the central nervous system.

Instead use truly safe lip products like balms containing organic coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, shea butter, and/or cocoa butter.

If you’re looking for a lip balm with an SPF, we recommend non-nanoparticle zinc instead of oxybenzones and other chemical blockers, as most are known endocrine disruptors.

But the best advice is prevention: Cover your lips with a scarf, avoid licking your lips, breathe through your nose, and stay well hydrated.

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