For the previous few months, I have been battling the craziest, most annoying case of dry, tight, painful, peeling lips. Little bit of an issue when your job entails taking images like this.
At first, I blamed it on an all-natural lip product I would been testing.
However then I spotted my lips had been nonetheless a multitude, even once I hadn’t used it in weeks. Actually, I could not even pinpoint anyone lip balm or lip color because the supply, since I am always switching them up for the needs of this weblog. It doesn’t matter what was in my rotation, I STILL had chapped lips.
So then I turned satisfied I had some sort of vitamin deficiency. Which might be bizarre, as a result of I commonly observe issues in Cron-o-meter and normally hit or exceed each dietary goal.
Lastly, a number of weeks in the past, I figured it out. I’m allergic to… vitamin E! And presumably a number of different substances generally present in lip balms.
Because it seems, many lip merchandise comprise allergens and irritants that find yourself perpetuating the very issues we’re making an attempt to deal with: dryness, peeling, cracking and flaking. Insane, proper?
Should you, too, have suffered from chapped lips that do not ever appear to go away, certainly one of these substances could possibly be the offender:
1. Vitamin E
Nearly each lip balm label I’ve checked out comprises some type of vitamin E. A thick, sticky oil, you’d determine it might be the proper lip hydrator. However it’s not for everybody.
This Dermatologic Surgical procedure research discovered that 33 p.c of sufferers developed contact dermatitis from making use of topical vitamin E. The Contact Dermatitis Institute additionally lists vitamin E (dl-alpha-tocopherol) as one of the prevalent allergens. They’ve a whole reality sheet on it, in addition to this video:
A number of the methods vitamin E may seem on a lip balm’s ingredient label embody: pure vitamin E oil, tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate. It may be man-made or derived from crops, however opposite to in style opinion, each kinds might be allergenic.
One cause it took me so lengthy to determine that vitamin E was the supply of my chapped lips is as a result of I used to be utilizing an all-natural vitamin E oil each night time as my lip moisturizer. It did not even happen to me that it could possibly be allergenic! It was solely via an entire elimination, i.e. not placing any merchandise on my mouth for a complete week, that I used to be in a position to determine the supply.
Now, I do know that my pure vitamin E oil is derived from soy, so it’s potential that the soy is what I used to be actually reacting to. However since tocopheryl acetate, the artificial vitamin E, is taken into account even extra allergenic on EWG’s database, I believe I am going to simply keep away from ALL forms of vitamin E any further. Until it is fairly far down on the substances record, it’ll most likely irritate me.
2. Castor Oil
Castor oil is one other thick, viscous liquid, and when you look, it is present in a heck of numerous lip merchandise. Derived from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, it’s comprised of about 80 to 90 p.c ricinoleic acid.
The issue with ricinoleic acid is that it may be an allergen—some even say, the primary one behind chapped and infected lips. This Contact Dermatitis research discovered that ricinoleic acid was the commonest contact allergen, accounting for 54 p.c of contact chelitis.
None of this surprises me, contemplating my extremely traumatic expertise with castor oil and the Oil Cleaning Methodology. Not solely is it extraordinarily drying, however I believe my horrible response began off as contact dermatitis, which left me weak to an infection… and eventually, was full-fledged pimples. I can not say for positive but whether or not castor oil is an issue on my lips or simply my face, however I’ll at all times have a look at it with deep suspicion!
It is much less seemingly, however different oils in lip balms, reminiscent of coconut, olive and almond, might be allergens, too.
I do not imply to level fingers at particular manufacturers right here, however the one which involves thoughts while you consider beeswax lip balm is clearly Burt’s Bees. Based on Dr. Cynthia Bailey, it is the product she sees essentially the most issues with.
The problem is the propolis that will get blended in with the beeswax. Propolis is a sort of “glue” that bees make from tree and plant resins to fill within the areas of their hives. Based on this Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences research, it appears to be one of the frequent contact sensitizers, with potential reactions together with chelitis and peeling lips.
I suppose because of this I did not bought the hype over the unique Burt’s Bees lip balms! They by no means appeared to work for me, so most likely I’ve some minor sensitivity. I am allergic to honey, so I am positive there may be some hyperlink with bees and bee merchandise on the whole. Too unhealthy, so unhappy!
Lanolin is a waxy substance that’s secreted by the oil glands of sheep, like this fella under. It’s utilized in lip balms such because the cult favorite Lanolips due to its extremely emollient properties and skill to stop water loss.
For individuals who aren’t delicate, lanolin might be nice. Dior creme Abricot, for instance, comprises lanolin and is my most favorite cuticle cream on the planet. (I hear some folks even use that on their lips!)
Nonetheless, lips lack oil glands and could possibly be extra reactive to it. Dr. Sharon Jacob considers lanolin a “important sensitizer,” and on the “A-Record” for prime allergens. Here is her vid:
Should you do a seek for “Lanolips allergy,” there seems to be fairly a lot of individuals who cannot use lanolin.
5. Fragrances and Flavourings
It ought to come as no shock that fragrances might be allergens. One would suppose perfumes would don’t have any place in our lip balms, however typically, they’re used to masks disagreeable smells from different chemical compounds, or so as to add flavouring.
The Contact Dermatitis Institute has recognized two perfume mixes—record one and record two—which might be problematic, together with geraniol, citronellol and cinnamaldehyde. These might be derived from plant, animal and artificial sources, so simply because a lip balm is 100 p.c pure doesn’t imply it’s free from doubtlessly allergenic fragrances.
Peppermint oil is without doubt one of the worst offenders. This Dermatitis research examined sensitivity to propolis, lanolin, coconut oil, almond oil, peppermint oil and vitamin E. Out of all these issues, the peppermint oil was proven to be the almost definitely offender within the sufferers’ acute contact dermatitis.
Different perfume/flavour substances to be careful for embody menthol, camphor, eucalyptus and limonene.
Should you’re particularly diligent about at all times carrying SPF in your lips, that could possibly be the reason for continual chapping, a minimum of when you’re utilizing merchandise that defend with chemical compounds, not minerals. Research reminiscent of this one in Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine have recognized chemical sunscreens as a reason behind allergic pores and skin reactions.
Oxybenzone (also referred to as benzophenone-3), octinoxate, avobenzone, octisalate and octylcrylene are the hard-to-pronounce phrases to keep away from in your labels.
As an alternative, select lip balms with mineral sunblocks reminiscent of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which should not offer you any points.
What to Do If You Suspect an Allergen
In case you are allergic to an ingredient, indicators reminiscent of dryness, tightness, flaking and peeling ought to ought to seem inside a number of days of your lips making contact with it. Nonetheless, it’s ALSO potential to develop an allergy to an ingredient you have been uncovered to many occasions earlier than. (But another excuse I could not work out my vitamin E factor. I would been utilizing that oil for 2 years beforehand!)
The one actual approach to determine any allergen is by elimination. When chapping happens, and it would not appear to answer lip balm (nor have you ever been spending numerous hours out in harsh climate), then it is best to cease utilizing all lip merchandise for a minimum of every week or extra, in order that your lips can heal.
Subsequent, re-introduce every ingredient again, one after the other, noting whether or not it causes any response. I will not lie… this half IS difficult, since many if not most lip balms comprise a mixture of the above allergens.
Lip Balm Suggestions
Clearly, that is HIGHLY subjective, however some lip balms to think about embody:
You is perhaps tempted to go for merchandise heavy on the petrolatum, mineral oil and even pure Vaseline. Sadly, they’ll nonetheless be drying, as a result of they lock different irritants deep into the pores and skin, and concurrently block out air and moisture. As defined right here, I even have critical points with petroleum derivatives on the whole: sure parts cannot be metabolized as soon as they’re absorbed into the physique, and they’re solely so prevalent within the magnificence trade as a result of they’re dust low-cost! Polyunsaturated (PUFA) oils aren’t perfect both, for these causes.
That stated, I completely get that you simply may must depend on a petroleum or PUFA balm, simply to get short-term reduction—I do know I’ve!
If there’s anybody else on the market who is perhaps as perplexed as I used to be over a continual case of chapped lips, I hope this record helps you out. Like I stated, I used to be actually beginning to suppose I had scurvy or one thing (hehe), since there are such a lot of articles on-line about eating regimen being the reason for ugly chapping. Seems, the issue was fairly easy—it simply took me some time to diagnose it because the darned vitamin E!
With this record of the commonest allergens, it is best to have the ability to determine issues out MUCH extra shortly. Inform me:
Do you get continual chapped lips?
Might you be allergic to certainly one of these substances?
What are your favorite lip balms?