Skin on the lips has challenges. Lip tissue has fewer cell layers of thickness, as well as a different makeup of oils, fats (lipids) and cholesterol compared to other areas of the body. Surface oils that provide barrier function have a different composition, and the skin barrier is almost nonexistent to protect lips from the elements. This causes moisture to evaporate quickly from the lips, making this part of the body more susceptible to irritation.
Applying layers of lip balm throughout the day can lead to a build-up of bacteria, waxes and yeast. Like other skin on the body, lips must experience turnover to rid itself of dead skin cells. When this doesn’t occur, lips can react negatively by feeling dry, flaky and chapped. Often times, traditional lip products just sit on the surface of the skin and make lips “feel better” without improving them.
What makes caring for the skin on my lips different than caring for the skin on the rest of my face? The outer layer of skin on the lips is extremely thin on many people. As a result, moisture evaporates from the lips much faster than ordinary skin, causing lips to dry out easily. The dryness frequently results in chapping, cracking and increases the risk of inflammation, infection and burning sensations.