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Apart from maybe a huge pimple, nothing can make you feel more self-conscious about your reflection in the mirror than dry, chapped lips. That’s why we’re diligent about lip care, swiping a natural lip balm on our lips at the slightest hint of drying, cracking or peeling. But for those who experience chapped lips regularly, it can be difficult to know just how often to put on lip balm. Some people go overboard with their lip balm, applying it constantly, even when their lips are perfectly moisturized. Others don’t use enough, leading to chronically dry lips. So, how much is just right? Keep reading to find out how often you should put on lip balm. Plus, why our plastic-free lip balm is the best choice for happy, hydrated lips.
The short answer for how often to apply lip balm is whenever you feel like you need it. Many people instinctively reach for their lip balm throughout the day because lip skin is susceptible to dryness and cracking. The skin on the lips has a lower density of oil glands, which means it doesn't get the same hydration level as the skin on the rest of the body. Lips also come into daily contact with saliva, which contains digestive enzymes that wear down the skin on your lips and make them more vulnerable to the elements.
However, some dermatologists suggest that applying lip balm at certain times of the day can lead to softer, more hydrated lips. These key moments are:
So, let’s say you eat three meals a day. Based on the recommendation above, that means you will ideally put on lip balm five times a day.
While five times a day is a good starting point for the average lip balm user, certain groups of people may need to use it more often. For instance, if you live in a place with extreme heat, cold or wind (or all three), the weather may require you to reapply your lip balm to keep your lips smooth and hydrated.
Likewise, if you lick your lips compulsively due to anxiety or nervousness, you’ll probably need to apply your lip balm more often. Otherwise, your lips will become chapped and you’ll feel like you need to lick them even more.
Certain health conditions can also lead to dry lips, necessitating more frequent lip balm use. For instance, people undergoing chemotherapy often experience a slew of unpleasant side effects, one of which is chronically dry lips. Regular use of a non-irritating lip balm can go a long way in easing their discomfort and soreness. (For this reason, it also makes a great gift for a care package.)
There is no set rule on how often you should put on lip balm, minus one important exception: SPF lip balms. SPF, which stands for sun protection factor, is the measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from solar damage (UV rays). For maximum protection against UV rays, you need to treat your SPF lip balm like sunscreen and apply it every two hours.
Keeping your lips moisturized and protected from the elements is essential to proper lip care, but there can be too much of a good thing. For instance, if your lip balm has artificial flavoring and coloring, you may have a hard time resisting the urge to lick the flavor off your lips. This can dry out your lips further, leading to a vicious cycle.
Moreover, traditional lip balms often contain artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens and phthalates. Past research has linked many of these ingredients to alarming health issues, including reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity and endocrine disruption.
If you want to avoid slathering your lips in harmful chemicals, look no further than our ultra-hydrating, zero waste lip balm. It’s packed with natural, good-for-you ingredients such as nourishing cocoa, mango and shea butter to help soothe dry lips while also providing long-lasting hydration. Best of all, it’s made with recycled paperboard and printed with soy-based ink, so you can feel good knowing that your lip balm habit isn’t hurting the planet. We call that a win-win!