Sunflower Oil - Is rich in Vitamin E and helps to maintain the outer protective skin layer which makes this oil perfect as a lip balm ingredient. Sunflower oil also helps to shield your lips from the environment and limits moisture loss where it is needed most. It also has a balanced and rich nutrient composition along with a large amount of omega 6 and fatty acids.
Beeswax - has non-allergenic properties that can make it a useful skin protection from various airborne allergies. Beeswax also provides slight anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities which can benefit the body. Beeswax contains natural moisturizers that make it useful as a skin and lip balm -- the substance locks in moisture and can help keep the skin firm and plump. In some cases, beeswax may be applied to minor burns or other skin damage in order to help the skin heal. According to the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, beeswax can also be mixed with other products, such as honey and olive oil, to produce lotions and balms that can serve as natural treatments against eczema and psoriasis.
Coconut Oil - makes an effective moisturizer when used topically. The September 2004 issue of "Dermatitis" reports a study that shows coconut oil is highly effective at treating xerosis, which is a condition of abnormally dry skin. It hydrates the skin, keeping it soft, and it also has antiseptic properties, which means it fights off micro-organisms on the surface of the skin that may try to pass through the skin barrier. Many lip balms on the market contain petroleum by-products which actually dry the skin rather than moisturize. Coconut oil can prevent chapping and help moisturize lips. Coconut oil has an SPF of 5 which will help protect your lips from UV rays as well.
Rosemary Extract - People have used rosemary herb for centuries for medicinal and culinary purposes. Rosemary plant grows to about a meter in height and are widely grown across America. The first use of rosemary oil extract (ROE) can be traced back to the Egyptians, but was later widely used in the Mediterranean region by the Greeks and Romans. It is considered a preservative, but is in fact an antioxidant which helps remove free radicals from the product by preventing these products from turning rancid.
Calendula - is a plant extract that has been used throughout history in skin preparations. Calendula is beneficial for dry or damaged skin and also promotes the fast healing and regeneration of the skin because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. According to YourHealth.com, applying calendula topically is effective for decreasing inflammation and promoting the healing of wounds, burns, eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Calendula's effect on inflammation and tissue regeneration makes it an effective natural wound healer.
Tips for Dry Lips
Avoid the Elements
One strategy for beating dry lips is to avoid common environmental triggers. It might not always be possible for you to stay inside on bright, cold or windy days, but it sure can help. Dry air robs you of any spare moisture you've got, and compared with the rest of your skin, lips are particularly vulnerable. The sun is another key player in the drama -- without a good supply of melanin, lips are especially susceptible to the sun's powerful rays and subsequent sunburns.
Abusive weather's a real bully, so if you do choose to go outside, protect yourself. No need to leave your lips out in the cold. For example, you can wrap a scarf around your face to block the wind or wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep off the sun -- whatever it takes to shield your lips from extreme exposure.
Balms: Serious Lip Service
What anti-dry lip arsenal would be complete without a lip balm of some sort? Lip balms can bring a smile to even the sorest dry lips; they build a barrier between your lips' mucus membranes and the outside world, helping lock must-have moisture in. Remember to apply just a thin coat of lip balm -- don't gob it on, because that might tempt you to lick off the excess and we already learned why that was a bad idea.
Use the right kind of balm
So, you need balm, but what kind? If you think flavour is the only difference among the many lip care products on the market, you're mistaken. In fact, certain ingredients in some balms might actually be sabotaging your hydrating efforts -- and it's probably not the berry flavouring. Some popular lip balms contain ingredients such as phenols or peppermint oil that help exfoliate the chapped flakes of skin from our lips. While these ingredients are great for helping to slough off dry skin, they aren't very good at hydrating. As they encourage exfoliation, they remove the natural oils from the lips, and what happens next? You reach for more lip balm because your lips feel dry, despite the fact that you just used balm. And the cycle begins. You may then think you must be developing a lip balm addiction (it's not an addiction; it really is just a habit). Moisturizing lip balms help battle dry lips because they won't add to the dryness. Choose the most emollient balm you can find -- look for ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter, or oils such as coconut or jojoba to help lock in moisture and soften and protect lips.
Stop Licking Your Chops
Licking your lips may seem like an easy way to moisten things up, but it actually does more harm than good. Lips usually lack the protective outer membrane found on most other skin, so adding moisture that easily evaporates seconds later creates a vicious cycle that can dry lips out very quickly. There's another dark side to lip licking -- saliva, despite its clear, watery appearance, is not akin to pure mountain spring water. Along with teeth, saliva is one of the first mechanisms in the digestive process and it contains enzymes that begin to break up food. Those same enzymes, while so helpful when you want to chow down on a big, juicy burger, unfortunately have a similar effect on the lips: They get a jump-start on digesting them. Biting is no good either, it can damage and weaken tender lips.
Avoid These Ingredients
Did you know that ingredients in some of the products you use every day may be contributing to your chapped lips? We're looking at you, toothpaste.
Toothpastes and other oral care products may contain sodium lauryl sulfate (an ingredient that is added to products that are sudsy, from toothpaste to facial cleansers to shampoo) as well as guaiazulene (a colour additive), both associated with skin irritation and dermatitis in some people. And lip balms themselves may also contain potential irritants. In fact, about 25 percent of people tested for skin problems, rashes and allergic reactions around the mouth tested positive for an allergy to ingredients common in lip balms, lipsticks and other cosmetics [source: Castelo-Soccio]. If you're concerned about allergens, keep an eye out for phenyl salicylate (salol) or propyl gallate, two ingredients that may cause contact allergies and could be hiding in your lip care products and lipstick. Allergies and sensitivities can happen with non-synthetic and plant ingredients, too. If you have eczema, for example, the emollient lanolin can aggravate the condition. Fragrances and flavours added to lipsticks and lip balms may also trigger skin allergies -- and that includes menthol, cinnamon, citrus and mint.
Don't Be a Mouth Breather
Mouth breathing is another no-no, for similar reasons to the ones that make lip licking a bad idea. Any moisture that manages to make it to your lips will quickly be whisked away if you constantly blow air across them.
So keep your mouth shut and let your nose take the reins -- that's one of the reasons it's there, after all. If you're still not sold on the idea, consider that your nose filters impurities out of incoming air and turns the air warm and moist, which makes it easier for the lungs to process it. Breathing through your mouth can also lead to things like dry mouth, sleep apnea and bad breath.
Wet Your Whistle
We've mentioned moisture a couple of times now, and how easy it is for lips to lose it, so let's go ahead and talk about how lips can get some of that lost moisture back. The best way is for you to stay hydrated. That means drinking lots of water -- generally about eight glasses a day -- to keep you moisture levels balanced. Remember: If you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated.
Sometimes however, especially on cold wintery days, drinking water isn't enough to stave off dry lips. Heated indoor air can get really dry, too, so it's a good idea to set up a humidifier. Maintaining a 30 to 40 percent indoor humidity level during the winter months will help keep you comfortable in your skin, and putting moisture back into the air mechanically can help rejuvenate even the driest lips.
Take Your Vitamins
Drinking enough water will ensure that your lips get moisture from the inside out, but sometimes, chapped, dry or cracked lips are actually a result of a vitamin deficiency. All of the B complex vitamins contribute to your skin's health, but some key players, such as niacin (vitamin B3) and riboflavin (vitamin B2) really boost your skin's ability to retain moisture.
Green vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, green beans and collard greens are fantastic sources of niacin, and riboflavin is readily available in dairy foods and almonds. For optimal skin (and thus lip) health, you should, of course, eat a balanced diet. But if you sometimes struggle to get all your fruit and vegetable servings each day, it's a good idea to supplement with a multivitamin.