Almost eight in 10 US adults — that’s how many people aren’t drinking enough water.
So, it’s no wonder that dehydration now affects 75% of the U.S. population!
If you’re one of these folks, you’re likely suffering from dry mouth too. And along with your cotton mouth are dry, chapped, or even bleeding lips.
Of course, the first thing you should do is to increase your water intake. But since your body needs time to rehydrate, you’d want to put something on your lips to relieve the symptoms.
The question now is, should you choose Chapstick vs lip balm or is the latter a better option? How are the two even different from each other?
That’s exactly what you’ll learn from this post, so be sure to keep reading!
Chapstick vs Lip Balm: It’s All in the Name (And Age)
Lip balm is the general term used to refer to topical applications that protect the lips. These products contain a moisturizing element that helps lock in lip moisture. So, even the ones called lip butter and lip salves are all forms of lip balms.
Some lip balms use petroleum as the key moisturizer, while others use shea butter. Lanolin, an oil produced by wool-bearing animals, is also a common lip balm ingredient.
Chapstick, on the other hand, is simply a brand of lip balm.
That’s right. That’s the main difference between lip balm and Chapstick.
The main reason people use the term “Chapstick” to refer to any lip balm is that this brand is the first-ever of its kind.
In short, Chapstick is the first brand of lip balm to have entered the market. While the original one actually came out in the 1800s, the now famous logo only came out in the 1930s. Today, the brand generates an estimated annual revenue of $20.3 million.
Being technically over 100 years old is why Chapstick has become synonymous to lip balm. It’s like how many people call all kinds of cola “Coke”, or how they say “Colgate” to refer to any toothpaste.
So, is lip balm the same as Chapstick? Not necessarily, since a lip balm can be a Chapstick, but not all lip balms are Chapsticks.
One other thing: Chapstick is a registered trademark. Meaning, other lip balm makers can’t refer to their products as such.
A Closer Look at Lip Balms
As mentioned above, all lip balms use a moisturizing ingredient. However, they don’t actually add moisture to dry lips — they lock in existing moisture.
For example, petroleum jelly or wax creates a barrier on the surface of the lips. This prevents the skin layers underneath the lips from letting out moisture. Since there’s a watertight barrier, moisture can’t evaporate or escape from the lips.
As a result, the lips become moisturized and softer.
The problem is, some people tend to keep licking off their lip balm. While this may help at first, it can cause the lips to dry out further.
That’s because of the enzymes that saliva contains. These are the same enzymes that make the digestive process possible in the first place. When you lick your lips, you’re putting the same digestive compounds on your lips.
If these enzymes can break down foods, imagine how easily they can break your skin down.
What’s more, saliva evaporates fast in dry air. As such, licking makes your lips even more susceptible to drying and chapping.
Different Lip Balms, Ingredients, and Levels of Effectiveness
When deciding whether to go for another brand of lip balm or Chapstick, look at the ingredient list. This’ll help you make the right choice, especially if you have super-sensitive skin.
The Make-Up of Chapstick
Chapstick has three main active ingredients: Avobenzone, Octinoxate, and white petrolatum. The first two are sunscreen, while white petrolatum is a skin protectant.
It also contains aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf extract. Aloe vera is popular for its anti-fungi, antimicrobial, and antiviral effects. It also has shown effectiveness in treating wounds and infections.
Lanolin is another lip-protective ingredient in Chapstick.
However, Chapstick also contains saccharin. It’s an artificial sweetener that’s 300 to 500 times sweeter than sugar. That, combined with the lip balm’s “flavors”, may explain why you can’t stop licking it off.
All that licking may then worsen your already-chapped lips.
Ingredients That You’d Want in Your Lip Balm Instead
To get the most moisture-locking effect from your lip balm, look for these ingredients. They’re among the most effective emollients and are also widely studied. What’s more, they have plenty of other health benefits aside from keeping your lips soft and hydrated!
Shea butter is a type of fat derived from shea tree seeds. It’s an effective emollient that has found use as a treatment for eczema, acne, and even arthritis. It’s also an effective moisturizer for dry, scaly, and itchy skin.
Beeswax is another great lip balm ingredient, and not only because it’s a great emollient. It also has zero irritation potential, so it’s perfect for people with sensitive skin. Moreover, it has antiseptic, antibiotic, and skin-protective effects.
Natural Plant Oils
Other plant oils, such as jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and olive oil, are also ideal lip balm ingredients. These are anti-inflammatory and they help create a moisture-locking barrier on the skin. In-depth studies have even found these oils to help prevent skin cancer.
Give Your Lips the Protection They Need and Deserve with the Right Lip Balm
There you have it, your ultimate guide to the confusing Chapstick vs lip balm debate. Again, Chapstick is a brand of lip balm, but not all lip balms are from this brand. In fact, some other lip balms may be a better choice, especially if you’re a chronic lip-licker.
And now that you know what your lip balm should contain, you can make a more educated buying choice. So, go on and start shopping around for the best lip balm now to make your lips healthy, soft, and kissable again!
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