SEAL THAT KISS
IT’S PROBABLY ON HIGH ROTATION AT THE MOMENT, BUT YOUR LIP BALM COULD BE DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD
Every winter without fail, chapped lips let me down. I haven’t kept an official tally, but I’ve no doubt I coat them in paw paw ointment at least 20 times a day during the cold, dry season.
While you may not think twice about turning to your go-to lip balm for relief, when you’re rubbing a soothing solution on to one of the most sensitive parts of your body so often, it’s important to put your money where your mouth is.
P’ure Papayacare naturopath Melissa Argiro says most lip-soothing products are petroleum-based and, while they offer quick relief from the elements, they do little to moisturise the area.
“Balms can contain as much as 96 per cent petroleum jelly,” she says. “It’s processed, but it’s still a derivative of the petrol. All it’s doing is protecting from the outside elements rather than providing nourishment.”
Melissa says this can be particularly bad as we ingest a small amount of what goes on our lips every time we apply a product.
“If you’re putting on something to soothe your lips many times a day, it can build up to be quite a significant amount (that’s being ingested),” Melissa says.
“If it’s a bit of lipstick on a Saturday night, that’s not too bad, but our bodies don’t have the enzymes to break down the petroleum we’re putting on them many times a day.”
Melissa recommends seeking out a natural product with moisturising and healing ingredients, such as P’ure Papaya Lips ointment. “We use mostly food-grade ingredients. We use the whole fruit of the papaya as it has a really nice balance of nutrients. It actually works to nourish and protect your lips,” she says.
If you’re suffering from windburn or a raw upper lip from a case of the sniffles, opt for an ointment or balm with honey as it fights bacteria. Melissa says it’s also important to look at your lifestyle to find out what else could be causing your dry lips.
“Dehydration is a huge factor and so is drinking a lot of coffee, lip licking and mouth breathing,” Melissa says.
“Then there can be other causes — nutritional deficiencies, medication. Make sure you have a balanced diet and you don’t have any allergies.”