We love to slather on our favorite chapsticks and lip balms. That's a given. They feel so good and often we have some in our car in the cooler months when they can't get gooey and melt. We also have a one in our bedside table, often a couple are floating around in the junk drawer in the kitchen, and then for women, our handbag is a haven for one or two as well.

But if you're like me, you remember the original rumor that started with the Carmex brand decades ago. It was a favorite, silky, Vaseline-like lip balm that was basically a trend. However we started hearing that it dries out our lips, thus we buy more.

I started thinking about that Carmex rumor while I was replenishing my lip balm stash. Does it actually dry our lips out? Are we just getting temporary relief? Do we care? Should we care?

Young woman applies moisturizing balm to her lips
Olga Chetvergova

According to the Health website, not all products are created equally and there are some lip balms that exacerbate dryness while others work wonders. Avoid these ingredients in your lip balms if you want to avoid the eventual dryness they cause.

  • Phenol
  • Menthol
  • Salicylic acid
  • Lanolin

Lip oil instead of lip balms and various chapsticks is a great option too. However if oil isn't your thing then make sure your lip balms have one or more of these ingredients according to the Health website.

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Shea butter
  • Beeswax
  • Vitamin E

If this all feels like too much effort, it is important to know according to the Byrdie website, the skin on our lips is especially prone to dryness all year round and winter is the worst. It has a low capacity of retaining water and is a weak skin barrier overall so love your lips.

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