Guide to a Great Lip Balm
Author: Lia Pellizzeri
Do you ever think about what you are putting on your lips every time you reach for your tube or pot of lip balm? Have you ever stopped to read the ingredients, not quite knowing how to pronounce them let alone what they actually are? We spend a lot of time thinking about what we put onto our skin, but not really about our lips – if we even use anything at all! But the truth is they deserve our attention, as the thin layers of skin are highly susceptible to damage from the environment, including UV light from the sun.
Its really important to look for certain things in a lip balm that will not only nourish but protect your lips against the elements, and for these to be as natural as possible! Here’s a list of some ingredients that meet this brief and can be commonly found in good quality lip balms:
Castor oil is a translucent liquid with a yellow tint, and comes from the Ricinus communis plant. Although its quite well-known as an old remedy for constipation of all things, it actually is a wonderful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory product used in the treatment of various skin conditions including dermatitis and psoriasis.
The fats in castor oil help maintain moisture through its humectant properties, meaning it has the ability to draw moisture from the air and into the skin – the perfect way to keep lips hydrated.
Luscious macadamia oil contains squalene, oleic, omega-7, and palmitoleic acids that assist with cell regeneration, making it perfect for lips that can often become dry and chapped. The oil is also rich in the phytochemical compounds tocopherols, squalene, and tocotrienols which protect the nut itself against oxidation, this in turn keeps the oils fresh and active.
Vitamin E is synonymous with skin care and is widely used to moisturize dry skin. The main antioxidant compound in vitamin E – Tocopherol - can be very useful for skin repair, as it aids in cellular restoration from sun damage and exposure to the environment. The nourishment and healing benefits it also provides are second to none, as it helps to strengthen skin barrier integrity, therefore providing an effective natural barrier to the sun. Being a natural anti-inflammatory, Vitamin E is healing and soothing to skin that’s been damaged, which can happen quickly and easily to the delicate skin of the mouth.
The golden liquid wax of the Jojoba bean is native to South Western North America and was highly prized by the Native Americans as a balm and repairer of skin conditions. More recently we have discovered that the wax ester produced is similar to the protective oils produced by human skin cells – the sebum that keeps skin smooth and moisturized.
Because of this similarity, Jojoba can penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, thus making it a wonderful carrier for other vitamins and nutrients to be delivered deep into the dermal layers of the skin where cell regeneration and cell synthesis occur. Naturally rich in vitamins A, D, and E, it can even be used on its own as it is nutritive in its own right.
There’s something alluring about knowing that one of the main components of chocolate have a place in your skin care products! The natural, meltable extract of the Theobroma cacao bean is amazing for healing dry and sensitive skin. Its emollient action is super hydrating, being useful for blocking the effects of extreme temperatures and sun damage by adding a protective layer to your lips.
You may have seen Shea butter in a few of your beauty products or even your current lip balm, being a ubiquitous ingredient in the cosmetic world. Its rich buttery consistency makes it ideal as a lip balm, and containing 60% fat, it is highly emollient and perfect for many facets of skin care.
Originating from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea tree, the butter is high in Vitamins A, E, and F- offering fantastic UV protection due to the presence of natural vitamins and essential fatty acids that help collagen production, as well as being incredibly nourishing and moisturizing.
Its cinnamic, oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids make for a product that not only helps prevent drying, but encourages nourishment through its strong anti-inflammatory action.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are literally hundreds of natural oils and nutritive herbs and plants that can be used in a great lip balm! Really… the key to a great lip balm is looking for one that uses natural, nourishing ingredients! It doesn’t necessarily have to be these ones, but finding a product that doesn’t require a chemical dictionary to help you discern the ingredient list is important to overall health.
Remember, the skin on your lips is important, it often gets overlooked yet shouldn’t as it is not only one of the most delicate areas of the body and therefore susceptible to damage, but a hop, step and a jump away from the blood stream – being but a thin layer to the underlying capillaries. Look after your lips, and they will look after you!
|Written by Lia Pellizzeri|
Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues.
Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.