For years I have always traveled with a chapstick in my pocket so that I may apply it to my lips several times each day in order to keep them moist and comfortable. However, the other day it occurred to me that it was a little odd that my lips felt dry enough to require an application of chapstick every hour or so. What did paleolithic man do whenever his lips felt dry? Did he ever even have this problem, or is it a problem of my own creation?
Anyways, my question is threefold:
1) Is chapstick primal/paleo, or at the very least not worth worrying about?
2) If so, what is your favorite chapstick/lip balm to use?
3) If not, what alternatives do you use to keep your lips moist?
I have read that it is possible to become addicted to petroleum based lip balms, this site has some good info on the toxicity of chapsticks and other balms:
An extensive article on lip balms appeared in the November 13, 1997 issue of Newsday. Titled “Paying for Lip Service,” the article discusses several points in the quest for defining the addictive qualities of lip balm.
The author asked several experts:
Which helps explain why you can diligently apply “medicated” lip balm several times a day and still suffer from chapped lips. The tingling sensation you get from those products usually comes from menthol, camphor or phenol. “All those things are drying and irritating,” says Paula Begoun, a well-known critic of the cosmetics industry whose new book, “The Beauty Bible” (Beginning Press, $16.95), is due out this month. She says she suspects that these ingredients are routinely used “to make the consumer think something is happening. If you want a cooling sensation, drink some cold water.”Known as counter-irritants, camphor and menthol dry out the lips, a necessary step for healing cold sores, but too extreme for ordinary dryness. Phenol’s main purpose is to kill bacteria and help prevent infections and should be used only in severe cases, not on a daily basis. Users, meanwhile, often find the pleasant tingling habit-forming. “You get so accustomed to that cooling, soothing sensation, that it’s like, `Yeah, I need that in my life all the time,’ ” says Gordon Espinet, a makeup artist for Toronto-based M.A.C. cosmetics and a dry-lip sufferer. Subjected to this constant irritation, it’s not surprising that your lips don’t get any better.
“Read what that product says it does and use it for that reason,” says Espinet, who recommends M.A.C.’s medicated Lip Treatment for cold sores and severely chapped lips and a Vitamin E lipstick for milder cases of dryness. “When it says to heal lips, don’t get into the habit of using it when lips are at their best.”
The article also says that many dermatologists maintain that the lips natural exfoliate every 28 days or so. This backs up the belief that lip balm just isn’t necessary. Even the products designed to “heal” also have a usage loop which keeps you hooked.
Alpha hydroxy acids, which were previously regarded as too harsh for the lips, have now been formulated to exfoliate this delicate membrane. Lip Revitalizer from Blistex ($1.89 at drugstores), introduced in October, contains two alpha hydroxy acids (lactic and glycolic acids) in a creamy base that you squeeze through a slanted applicator directly onto your lips. “The whole idea is that it gets rid of flakiness on the lips and very fine lines,” says Dr. Charles Zugerman, an associate professor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and a consultant to Blistex. He recommends the product for both healing chapped lips and for ongoing lip maintenance. Be warned that Lip Revitalizer does have an enticing minty flavor that may cause you to lick your lips more, which only aggravates dryness (emphasis added by LBA).
I try not to use anything, but trust that the saturated fat in my diet is helping my lips stay moist from the inside - it works. I also try to stay hydrated.
I do occasionally use coconut oil in the height of summer when I am out in the sun and in the winter when it is very cold or windy, however, but I think it is very much like no soap and no shampoo; the longer you leave your lips to sort themselves out the better they become.
I've known several people, myself included, who found our lips getting painfully dry and chapped when we apply lip balm consistently. It's as if our lips stopped producing their own moisture. Fortunately, it's possible to wean yourself off of it, and your lips will start taking care of themselves naturally.
from this page
I have also used butter topically, which is nice, but tastes a little weird after a while.
On the whole, I need do nothing to my lips and have not done since stopping getting coldsores (hooray!) that happened after a month of going paleo - but you need to ease into this gradually to start with.....bump up the amount of coconut oil, cream and butter you consume as well as cutting back on the chapstick and you should feel a difference to your lips. Make sure you are exposed to weak sun from winter right through into the hot sun of summer and your lips will get acclimatized rather than go out on a blistering summer's day and expose them to the rays without protection straight off.
coconut oil is the single best Paleo friend we have. Chap stick is a little thing unless you are hard core and if you are hard core maybe even coconut oil isn't Paleo if you are European, so do what you think is best for you.
Since going paleo I rarely get chapped lips any more, even in the snow. The only time I have a problem is when I do not stay properly hydrated. You may need to increase your fat intake. Chapped lips can also be a sign of vitamin deficiencies. The linked article also has some good tips for treatment. You may also want to give up the chapstick for a while. It may be making the situation worse.
Perhaps in colder or drier climates, chapped lips may have been a problem, like today. But I doubt paleo man was using Burt's Bees Lip Balm, let alone Blistex. ;)
You have to be aware that you're going to ingest a portion of what you put on your lips. Unintentionally, of course, but it happens. Burt's Bees Lip Balms can sometimes include beeswax and sometimes soybean oil. Gotta watch those ingredients lists!
I use nut oils to both moisten my lips and exfoliate dead cells. I was using a Vitamin E oil until I discovered that they started putting soybean oil in there. So now I'm using kukui nut oil. Jojoba oil, almond oil, or coconut oil will work as well.
Once per day, in the morning or at night, should work just fine to exfoliate and keep lips healthy.
Sounds crazy but i use extra virgin olive oil. Mainly as a face moisteriser - but that includes the lips....
Its affordable, natural, widely available and effective!
Was used by ancient Greeks and Romans for similar applications.
Also id look at whether there was some underlying cause as to why your drying out so much....having to apply lip gloss every hour sounds like something is messing you up along the way.
Perhaps a soap or a food item?
I agree with Louisa. I use coconut oil on my lips, usually before bed. I also use shea butter in the winter. My husband, on the other hand, uses the medicated tingly stuff, and applies several times a day. I think that staying hydrated, and getting enough good fat in your diet goes a long way to resolving problems with dryness. Lips, skin, scalp, whatever.
I see I'm awful late to this party, but learn from my mistake.
Cute tin of coconut oil (recycled container from mints) + hot day + purse + left in car = FAIL. OMG the mess.
There's a reason all those horrors like beeswax and petroleum crept into chapstick. There are practical reasons for having something with a high melting point.
I don't use anything on my lips anymore. I do use a sugar scrub on them periodically at home to exfoliate and that seems to take care of things for me as long as I am getting enough fat in my diet.
Re being hooked on the tingling sensation: there is a delightful product called "Lip Venom" that is cinnamon oil in a carrier oil (I haven't looked at the ingredient list lately, I'm sure there are non-paleo additional ingredients) which produces the bee-stung effect and it is quite a kick when you get used to it. There's also a version with sparkles in it (I know this is way too frivolous for Serious Paleo Types). I reserve the term "addiction" for more serious vices however.
I stick with Burt's. Stick! No pun intended there. I prefer it to Blistex or the other options that seem more medicine-y. I don't really apply a whole lot, so potentially eating it is not much of a concern for me. :)
The ingredient list can be found here (link).