How Does Lip Balm Work?

How Does Lip Balm Work?
How Does Lip Balm Work? (Image: Alicia Solario)

What are lip balms?

Lip balm is a substance applied to the lips to moisturize and prevent dryness This is necessary because the skin on the lips is very thin and therefore vulnerable to the effects of sunlight, wind and dehydration. Lip balms are typically made from waxy or petroleum-based substances that do not evaporate. These form a barrier over the lips to add moisture and prevent them from drying out further.

Most lip balms are in containers that make them easy to transport. They are also relatively inexpensive, so purchasing many containers of lip balms to keep in various places (purse, car or bathroom) is feasible and common.

Types of lip balms

For cosmetic appeal, lips balms can be flavored or colored. They can be applied with brushes or fingers, but typically come in tubes. Lip balms that are fluid are squeezed out of a hole in an applicator and spread over the lips. Some lip balms are solid, similar to a lipstick.

Some lip balms contain medication for lips that are cracked, blistered or have a herpes breakout.

How do lip balms work?

Lip balms work primarily by becoming a light barrier on the lips that prevents them from drying out. They can also provide a bit of moisture themselves, depending on the formulation. If medication is embedded in the lip balms, perhaps to heal cold sores, the lip balm will help hold the medication on the lips and ultimately aid in the healing process. The more waxy the lip balm, the better it adheres to the lips and the longer it will last before it must be reapplied. Some lip balms that are formulated to have a shine or shimmer may not last as long as some of the waxier brands, which may not have as great a cosmetic appeal.

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