Along with the concern of a dry mouth, many cancer patients will also experience dry lips. Lips are unable to produce their own moisture like other parts of your body. Keeping your lips moisturized is not only important for your overall comfort, but also prevents cracking and sores on the lips that could lead to infection.
Avoid short-term fixes that make your lips feel better initially, but can make them even drier. This leads to what many people refer to as being "addicted" to using lip balm.
What to avoid:
·Licking your lips. When the saliva evaporates, it takes away even more moisture from your lips.
·Lip balms that are petroleum-based. Petroleum does not soak into your lips but instead forms a barrier that will prevent moisture from coming in or going past the coating. Because the barrier is locking in moisture, it can also encourage bacterial growth which could lead to infection with a compromised immune system.
·Oxybenzone can be found in many lip balms as a sunscreen. According to the Environmental Working Group, studies have shown this chemical to be related to allergies, hormone disruption and cell damage. (http://www.ewg.org/analysis/toxicsunscreen)
·Parabens are chemical preservatives used in a variety of cosmetic products. There are many conflicting studies about the safety of parabens but some indicate that they are Endocrine Disruptors, meaning that they can affect hormone production. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/150690-what-are-the-dangers-of-parabens-in-skin-care/)
Keeping your lips moisturized:
·Avoid dehydration. Drink lots of water!
·Beeswax locks in moisture and protects skin from damaging environmental factors without blocking pores. Naturally harvested beeswax also contains traces of honey and propolis which have many benefits including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties.
·Shea Butter contains high levels of natural anti‐oxidants and essential fatty acids. It's proven to be extremely effective for moisturizing and repairing damaged skin while restoring skin's own elasticity and soothing chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Although it does not replace sunscreen, shea butter soothes rashes and helps protect from the sun.
·Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a natural, deeply penetrating moisturizer that regenerates skin cells and softens the tissue. It contains linoleic acid (a compound not made by the body) which prevents water from evaporating along with at least four different antioxidants, which can help "neutralize damaging free radicals that can lead to skin aging and skin cancer." Soothes chapped lips.
·Other safe and effective lip balm ingredients include sunflower oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil and hemp oil as well as candelilla wax, caranuba wax, and cocoa butter.
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