The Truth About What's Really In Lip Balm

If you have chapped lips, you probably rely on lip balm to help hydrate and moisturize your lips. According to Cleveland Clinic, however, using lip balm might be doing more harm than good. In fact, lip balm might even be making your lips worse. That's because some types of lip balm contain ingredients that can exacerbate dryness and irritation. "Lip balms containing ingredients like phenol, menthol, and salicylic acid actually make your lips drier," dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang told Cleveland Clinic. "So you apply more, and it becomes a vicious cycle."

The same goes with ingredients used to scent and flavor lip balm. Artificial fragrances and added flavoring can also dry out and irritate your skin. They can even cause allergies and lead to contact dermatitis in some cases. That's because fragrances are made with unspecified and potentially harsh chemicals that some people may be sensitive or allergic to, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Use lip balms with hydrating ingredients

If you feel like you need to repeatedly apply your lip balm, you might want to check the list of ingredients and opt for a more moisturizing brand. "It is believed that excessive occlusion caused by repeated application of lip balm, particularly if there is an irritant within the lip balm formula, may make severely chapped lips worse," board-certified dermatologist Craig Kraffert told Allure.

If you're looking to switch to a lip balm with a better formula, you should look for ones that contain more hydrating and nourishing ingredients, like antioxidants, petroleum jelly, and hyaluronic acid, according to Allure. In addition, lip balms made with vitamin C can help exfoliate your dry or chapped lips, removing any dead skin cells lingering on the surface. If your lips are still dry after using a more hydrating formula, you should contact your dermatologist to determine the exact cause of your lip dryness.