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As we head into the winter, lips can become dry causing dryness, flaking, peeling, cracking and even bleeding, making them both painful and unattractive. Lips are particularly susceptible to dryness because they're constantly exposed and they don't have glands that produce sebum. If you spend a lot of time outside, the sun and other harsh conditions can quickly dehydrate your lips, causing them to become chapped. To keep them supple and moist, you need to apply the right lip balms and emollients on a consistent basis. Plus you need to protect lips from UV exposure. Below, I'll describe how to care for your lips, especially when they're perpetually chapped and dry.

What Does "Medicated" Mean?

Lip balms often carry a label that describes them as "medicated." While it's tempting to purchase a lip balm that carries that label, it's important to note that it's an advertising euphemism that usually means very little. In fact, many "medicated" lip balms contain ingredients such as camphor and menthol that actually dry and irritate your lips, so repeated use won't eliminate chronic dryness. Unfortunately, many consumers often buy and use these balms regularly and are then frustrated when their lips seem perpetually dry.

Lip Balms And Emollients

There are several effective emollients that can be used to moisturize your lips and prevent them from becoming dehydrated. Ingredients including various oils, cocoa butter and shea butter can help. And good sun filters such as titanium dioxide, [Link Removed] are excellent for lips because they protect from UVA and UVB ray damage due to sun exposure.  

Excellent solutions include:

[Link Removed] - very dry lips will love this balm loaded with emolliating agents including ceramides, shea butter and various oils

Applying Lip Balms Consistently

While it's important to use an effective emollient or lip balm, it is just as important to apply it generously and regularly throughout the day. Otherwise, it can wear off, exposing your lips to dryness and dehydration. Your lips are one of the most exposed and vulnerable areas of your body. With continual use of a good balm that contains the right ingredients, you can be confident that your lips are protected from harsh weather conditions and the sun's UV rays.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rene' Grandon wrote Oct 13, 2008
    • What would you recommend over the counter,and what to do about what seems like little cold sores popping up lately?
      thanks for advice?


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Oct 13, 2008
    • Hi Bella

      Any one of the recommended lip balms are available over the counter. If you can’t find these at your local drug store, then opt for one that contains emollient ingredients and SPF protection for day use - make sure it delivers protection from both UVA and UVB rays and look for a minimum of SPF 30.

      Re cold sores, some individuals are more susceptible than others. While they tend to be caused by viruses, stress and cold weather can bring them on. Prescription and non-prescription products including Abreva, Lipactin, Zovirax, Denavir and Valtrex can help. They tend to be most effective if applied at first sign of tingling.  

      Hope you find the info useful,

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kelly Robertson wrote Oct 14, 2008
    • Here’s my personal advice since this particular subject is near and dear to my heart as I WAS a herpes simplex sufferer for years!

      Prevention is important - help yourself BEFORE an outbreak. Shea butter is used by hospitals to aid in the healing of burn victims so you should consider a daily lip product with Shea butter in it to keep your lips hydrated/moist and supple. You must also use a lipstick that’s got a lot of SPF protection or even one with a 100 percent mechanical shield. Email me for recommendations or Google the topic yourself - I don’t want to sound self-serving here in reply to your post. :)

      I suffered from fever blisters on my mouth/lips for years until I did the research and discovered a few things that really work to PREVENT breakouts: Breakouts can be related to the sun, weather, stress and food allergies. Keep your lips protected all the time from the sun and from drying; keep your stress down (mediation, journaling, deliberate creation techniques, etc); and stay away from foods that are high in Arganine like nuts, chocolate, oats and oat products, some wheat products, jello - they have been proven to be triggers!  Take L-Lysine every day for 6 months and then go off it for 6 months; then start back up. It must be L-Lysine.  L-Lysine depletes your system of Arganine but your body needs Arganine so that’s why you go off, go on, go off, go on...

      You can try a standing prescription of something like Zorvirax, but drugs have side-effects! You could ask your doctor to just give you a prescription and when you start to feel the tingling, you could pop a couple to stop the process or, try applying ABREVA right away—for me, Abreva really works and it’s OTC and safe.

      I think that EVENTUALLY, the virus burns out of our bodies. It can lay dormant for years and then pop up again with a trigger but PREVENTION is key.  

      I feel your pain and hope that my suggestions will bolster some hope.  Hugs, Kelly

      [Link Removed]

      Lipsdiva, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Pharmagirl wrote Oct 15, 2008
    • Kelly,

      Great tips and it’s always nice to hear from someone who’s experienced the results themselves. I agree that prevention is key; keeping lips hydrated, managing stress and learning to avoid triggers including foods, etc can help.  


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