Have you ever applied a luscious new lip gloss only to suffer from a tight and flaky pout the next day? Perhaps you’re even addicted to lip balm and feel positively parched if you don’t apply a fresh coat on the hour. With all the myths out there, I figured it was time to get to the bottom of the rules for a rosy, healthy mouth. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City offered his tips:
Quality Over Quantity
Evidence shows extended over-moisturizing the lips limit their ability to naturally self-moisturize. Products may block the skin cells’ production of natural moisturizing factors, called NMF, and irritate the surface, making lips dry.
In moderation, quality lip moisturizers definitely work and can help soothe dry, cracked lips. For everyday use, Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm and A Kiss of Milk and Honey Soothing Lip Care by Nivea are affordable picks I recommend.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are a few ingredients that I recommend you stay away from when choosing your lip products:
1) Camphor, menthol and phenol: Although they give a cooling feeling on contact, these ingredients can also cause lip irritation and dryness. The result: An endless cycle of craving the soothing sensation since the cure is the cause!
2) Fragrance: Ingredients in some fragrances may cause allergic reactions and irritation which can increase dryness.
3) Salicylic acid: The sloughing properties will remove dead surface skin cells from your lips, but your risk irritation.
First, toss any tubes that contain potential irritants, and don’t apply products unless necessary. If you have normal lips, you may not even need to moisturize them with a lip balm. Then, when your lips are chapped you can treat them, and when they are better, hold off on lip balm.
Choose a product that’s high in petrolatum if your lips are severely dry. It’s the single best ingredient to help moisturize the skin. An ointment may work even better than a stick. Aquaphor blends petrolatum and lanolin for an excellent lip treatment.
Treating with Cosmetics
While some lipsticks and lip glosses may moisturize the lips, they are designed for a cosmetic purpose. Check your labels for additives to avoid, and if you’re in the clear, reapply as needed, when the color or sheen fades.
Plumping with Products
Lip plumping products work in several ways. Some contain ingredients that cause mild lip irritation and tingling that leads to swelling. Most formulas have additives to soothe lips and minimize the tingling sensation and humectants that hydrate the lips with moisture from the environment. Products that stimulate collagen formation may offer more long-term augmentation.
Loreal Paris Infallible Never Fail Plumping Lip Gloss
Dr. Lewinn by Kinerase Lip Resculpt 3D
Skin Medica TNS Lip Plump System
Patricia Wexler M.D. Fastscription Advanced No-Injection Lip Plumper
Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Lip Treatment
Juvederm and Restylane can be applied as an injection to enhance the volume of the lips for a three- to five-month period. Proceed with caution – injections can be painful if a topical numbing agent is not applied.
For treating wrinkles around the mouth, I recommend fillers like Restylane or Juvederm to fill in wrinkles. Botox can be used relax the muscles around the mouth that cause the wrinkles in the first place. One word of warning: You have to be careful not to apply too much because it inhibits your ability to purse your lips. Besides looking strange, you can actually have difficulty sipping through a straw or pronouncing certain letters.