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Is Vaseline Bad for Chapped Lips?

Is Vaseline Bad for Chapped Lips?

Overview

Dry skin is not exclusive to your face and body. Particularly in the harsh winter months, your lips can become dehydrated, cracked and flaky, leaving them chapped and in need of moisture. Vaseline is a name brand of petroleum jelly, an occlusive emollient that both Dr. Lawrence Gibson of the Mayo Clinic and the American Academy of Dermatologists recommend for the treatment of chapped lips. This product benefits your skin by helping it to retain more moisture and repair itself.

Causes

Dry weather can wreak havoc on your skin's moisture barriers, and so can spending all your time indoors with a central heater. When your skin and lips lose moisture, they become inflexible, which causes cracking and scaling. Breathing through your mouth can dry out your lips, as can licking them. Your saliva evaporates rapidly and leaves your lips drier than before. Not drinking enough liquids can also cause your skin to become dehydrated and in need of a moisturizing product like Vaseline.

Treatment

Whenever you go outdoors, apply a petroleum jelly like Vaseline to your lips, advises Dr. Gibson of the Mayo Clinic. This oil-based product will moisturize dried-out lips, as well as help prevent them from losing even more hydration. You can continue to apply this product multiple times throughout the day, as well as each night before bed. Keep using it even after your lips have healed to help your skin stay hydrated, because daily use will keep your lips soft and moisturized, as well as help prevent future chapping.

Benefits

Petroleum jelly, an occlusive emollient, coats the outer layer of your skin with oil to stop the loss of moisture, thereby keeping the hydration locked in your lips. Vaseline petroleum jelly contains a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and waxes, which the manufacturer states will melt into your skin's barriers and help strengthen and repair them. It is purported to protect your lips from the elements and help your skin to naturally hydrate itself from the inside out.

Considerations

Though petroleum jelly is not typically an irritating product, you may experience an adverse reaction to it, such as a stinging sensation or a contact allergy that results in a rash. Apply the product to a small area first to check for any reactions, and discontinue using it and see a doctor if any allergies develop.

Warnings

If your lips are severe chapped or do not heal after a week of applying petroleum jelly, see a doctor. Severely chapped lips sometimes may be caused by a rare underlying medical condition.

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