Chapped Lips? Avoid This . . .
If the cooler fall air has you reaching for your lip balm, flip it over and look at the label.
You might want to ditch it if you see this in the ingredient list: phenols. Why? These compounds actually strip the top layer off your lips, according to RealAge skin expert Dr. Amy Wechsler.
Phenols are included in some lip balms (Blistex, for one) to help remove very dry, chapped skin off the surface of lips. But if you're just trying to keep lips moist, the phenols can backfire by removing your lips' natural protective layer. That may also explain why some people get addicted to them, Wechsler writes in her new book, The Mind-Beauty Connection -- the stripping effect can leave lips feeling raw, so you reach for more balm.
Careful Lip Care
To break this vicious lip-balm cycle, Wechsler recommends opting for a good moisturizing lip balm instead. One of her personal favorites is pure, simple Vaseline petroleum jelly. (Use it at night, since it offers no sun protection.) If you need to slough a bit of dry skin from your lips, just brush them very gently with a soft, wet toothbrush.
The Mind-Beauty Connection. Wechsler, A., New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008.