Vaseline is a household name that a lot of people have. It has a variety of uses, but is it actually good on your lips? Is it healthy and are there any negative effects? I did some research and here is what I found.
So, Is Vaseline good for your lips? Yes, Vaseline is good for your lips. However, you should make sure that you are not allergic to petroleum-based products. If you are suffering from a severe case of chapped or dry lips, check with your doctor first before applying Vaseline or petroleum jelly on your lips.
The skin on your lips is thinner compared to other parts of the face and this makes it quite vulnerable. Therefore, when it comes to the question of whether Vaseline is good for the lips or not, the answer will depend on your goals and how you are using it.
In order to know how Vaseline affects your lips, it is first important to understand what people really mean when they use the term ‘Vaseline’.
When faced with dry and chapped lips, most people turn to Vaseline, probably because it is affordable and widely available. There are however two opposing sides when it comes to the use of Vaseline on your lips.
On one end, there is a group that finds it good for keeping lips moist and soft while there is an opposing group that thinks of it as being ineffective to moisturize lips and even unsafe.
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What is vaseline?
Sometimes when people say ‘Vaseline’, they are actually talking about petroleum jelly and not the brand. Petroleum jelly is a semi-solid jelly-like substance made from a mixture of mineral oils and waxes. Vaseline is just a brand name for one such product.
Technically, there is no difference between brand names and generic brands. However, the manufacturers of Vaseline claim to use high-quality ingredients and a unique purification and filtration process which creates a slight variation from other petroleum jelly products you may find in the market.
So, if you are speaking in general on the effects of petroleum jelly on the lips, it will greatly depend on the ingredients sourcing as well as your goals. When compared to other petroleum jelly brands, Vaseline may have a slight variation in terms of texture, consistency, and fragrance.
Vaseline as a moisturizer is categorized in the group of occlusive. These are products that help hold moisture in. Adding a layer of occlusive onto your skin creates a barrier that prevents moisture in the skin from escaping.
This means that in itself, Vaseline does not add moisture to the skin but it just helps trap whatever moisture is already in the skin.
Is vaseline safe?
Since Vaseline consists of refined petroleum jelly, it is generally safe for external use. This means that you should not inhale it, eat it or use it in sensitive areas like in the eyes.
However, since the lips serve as an entry point to your mouth, you are likely to ingest small amounts of the jelly when you lick your lips or when eating. For this reason, you may consider limiting its use on the lips, especially if you have a tendency to frequently lick your lips.
Also, since it is refined, it is free from harmful and toxic components that could be carcinogenic.
Another safety concern with Vaseline is that the barrier it forms on the skin restricts toxins like dirt and bacteria from moving out. To prevent the buildup of toxins, allow your lips sometime to breathe by not applying any Vaseline.
How to use vaseline on chapped lips?
When your lips lack moisture, they dry out and this causes them to eventually crack and become sore. But if you establish a care routine that involves moisturizing and protecting the lips, you can easily heal chapped lips.
The American Academy of Dermatologists promotes the use of Vaseline to help quickly repair and moisturize chapped lips. Its effectiveness stems from the combination of mineral oils, waxes, and paraffin that melt into the skin barriers to strengthen and repair them.
But, for you to get pleasant results, there are a couple of tips that you need to follow.
It may be tempting to pick or bite on your chapped lips, but this only worsens the situation and makes the healing period longer. To get immediate relief to try exfoliating the lips.
However, if you do this you have to make sure that you are not in too much pain or have any open wounds. Removing the flaky skin will make the lips smoother which allows for effective treatment when you apply a moisturizer.
To make an exfoliant for your lips, you will need to combine an abrasive substance with an emollient. You can combine sugar and oil like shea butter or coconut oil or alternatively apply Vaseline and gently rub it off with a dry towel or toothbrush.
After exfoliating the lips, you will need to restore their moisture. For this, you can use balms with moisturizing ingredients like vitamin E, ceramide, and hyaluronic acid and then top it off with Vaseline. Mostly when lips dry it is because they have most of their moisture.
Therefore, by using a moisturizer before applying Vaseline, you will have hydrated the lips and then locked in the moisture for soft and good-looking lips.
If you can identify the reason why your lips are drying out, try to address that as well. If for instance, it is due to weather changes, try using a humidifier indoors or wearing sunscreen. Drinking plenty of water and maintaining a good diet can also generally help with issues of skin and lip dryness.
Is vaseline eco-friendly?
If you are committed to sustainable living, then Vaseline may not be appealing to you. The main ingredient it uses is petroleum is a fossil fuel that is obtained through drilling oil. In the long run, this practice is not sustainable. Additionally, the process of refining petroleum pollutes the air which can be dangerous for humans and the ecosystem balance.
Dangers associated with petroleum jelly
There are some potentially harmful side effects associated with using petroleum jelly. Different brands may cause different reactions and they include:
Trigger Allergies: Some people are very sensitive in that petroleum-based products can trigger an allergy. So, if you have not used Vaseline before, you need to be cautious and watch out for any irritations or adverse reactions that may follow.
Cause Infections: If you do not properly clean your skin before applying Vaseline, dirt and bacteria will remain trapped inside and cause you to develop infections. Also, make sure to use clean hands and fingers when scooping the jelly out of the jar to avoid contamination.
Aspiration Risks: Since the lips are so close to the nose area, you may want to check that there is no risk of aspiration, especially in the case of children. There are cases where inhaling the mineral oils can lead to aspiration pneumonia.
These side effects are rare among users of Vaseline, but it is still important to familiarize yourself with them and keep an eye out for them.
If, after trying the tips given and other several home remedies, your lips still remain dry and chapped, you may need to see a doctor.
I know this sounds extreme, but sometimes this could be an indication of an underlying health issue like cheilitis. It could also be due to the usage of certain medications which if possible, your doctor may recommend an alternative.
And, while Vaseline can help heal your dry and chapped lips, the secret to keeping them smooth and healthy throughout is to ensure you are properly caring for them.