Protect the thinnest part of skin on your face
Can you become addicted to lip balm and seven other questions about that popular stick in your purse. Interview with CARIN RÖST – Algemeen Dagblad (AD) and with cosmetic dermatologist Petra Dikrama from Dikrama Clinics
1 Do our lips need balm?
“In the lips, the horny layer, the part of the skin that protects against dehydration, is four to five times thinner than in the rest of the face,” says Francis Wu, cosmetic dermatologist at the Dermatological Center Utrecht. “Your lips are therefore extra sensitive to dehydration.” Many people lick their lips when they notice that they are dry, but that has the opposite effect, he says. “The digestive enzymes in your saliva dry out your lips even more.” Lip balm, which is based on Vaseline, for example, forms a protective layer so that less moisture is lost.
2 Some products actually cause drying out, is that possible?
,”Low-fat balms, which are often very liquid and absorb quickly, can indeed dry out the lips,” says Petra Dikrama, cosmetic dermatologist at the Erasmus Medical Center and Dikrama Clinics. Some lip balms also contain substances that can cause an allergic reaction. A well-known example is Balsam of Peru, a substance contained in Purol that can cause lip eczema in some people. That is an inflammation of the lips that you recognize by redness, flaking and itching.
3 What can you pay attention to when choosing lip balm?
“It’s best to choose a greasy lip balm with as few ingredients as possible that can cause irritation or an allergy,” says Dikrama. “These products often have the term ‘hypoallergenic’ on them. That doesn’t mean you can’t be allergic to it, but it’s less likely to happen.” “Avoid oils such as castor oil and sesame oil and the red dye carminic acid because they can cause lip irritation and lip eczema,” Wu adds. Also avoid fragrances such as peppermint, menthol, citrus or eucalyptus, as they encourage you to taste the lip balm. “Your lips come into contact with saliva and dry out even more.”
4 Is a sun protection factor necessary?
Yes. you protect the skin against the sun and often the lips are forgotten. Wu: ,,I see a lot of lips damaged by the sun. This can lead to skin cancer. With a balm, make sure that it contains a UV filter. A UV filter is shown in the ingredient list with the term SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Choose a mineral filter, as chemical filters can cause lip irritation. You can recognize a mineral filter by the combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It protects against both UVA and UVB rays and does not cause allergic reactions.”
5 Is a natural balm better than a synthetic one?
Dikrama: ,,Terms such as ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ sound nice, but sometimes they actually contain substances to which you can have a very allergic reaction. In a natural cosmetic product, for example, there may be just a flower or fruit that you can’t stand.”
“Organic products are sometimes better accepted by the body,” Wu adds. ”But they lose their efficacy over time. Whether it is better varies by ingredient. For example, if a lip balm says: ‘enriched with natural vitamin E’, you often don’t know whether it is natural or synthetic vitamin E. The natural variant has a better effect on the skin, the synthetic vitamin E has little or no effect on that.”
6 Can you become addicted to lip balm?
Wu: ,,You could imagine that because the balm seals your lips, the oil production in the sebaceous glands is temporarily slowed down. However, no studies are known about this. There is no ingredient in a lip balm, like nicotine in cigarettes, that is physically addictive. I wouldn’t call it addiction, it’s more of a dependency. Quitting using lip balm is quite easy. If you make sure that you do not always moisten your lips with your saliva, you will soon be rid of this ‘addiction’.
7 Are there harmful substances in balms?
Possibly so. The Belgian consumer association Test Aankoop found aromatic hydrocarbons (Moah) and saturated hydrocarbons (Mosh) in some lip balms. Moah are possibly carcinogenic and Mosh can accumulate in the organs and form growths in lymph nodes, liver and spleen. The substances are created by the processing of mineral oils and make the balm soft. These substances are safe in skin care products, but possibly not in lip balm because you always swallow some of them. The test showed that Labello Original, Labello Sun Protect, Labellino, Louis Widmer and Yves Rocher contained Moah and/or Mosh, among others, as well as the children’s brands Disney Princess, Hello Kitty and Minions. Safe ones include Weleda Everon, Lavera and Hema.
8 Can you see these substances on the ingredient list?
,,No”, says Simon November, spokesman for Test Aankoop. “If the ingredients list says the lipstick contains ‘paraffin’, that may indicate the presence of Mosh and Moah, but it’s not a guarantee.” You can avoid the following mineral oils, though, as they often indicate high concentrations of Mosh or Moah: cera microcristallina, (hydrogenated) microcrystalline wax, ceresin, ozokerite, paraffin (liquidum) and petrolatum.
Test Purchase recommends against lip balms containing Mosh or Moah. It is better not to use children’s lip balms for children. If it is really necessary, they too are best off with products for adults without mineral oils.
Now that you’re here.
Skin repair, skin hydration, so many different products and brands available on the Internet and in stores. But what does a skin specialist look for? And what basic information is important to make the right choice. Read more about lotion, cream and ointment what are the differences?