Here’s how to care for it. Your lips have a moisture barrier, too


What is the Lip Moisture Barrier (HTML0)? Causes How To Heal Lip Moisture Barrier Takeaway

In my lifetime, I have never had to worry that my skin would react to different ingredients and actives. It’s only sometimes a good thing. Last October, my lips were feeling rough and tight when I woke. As a skincare lover, I rushed to see my dermatologist immediately.

There were several diagnoses made: perioral dermatitis (the rash only affected the vermillion border of my mouth, so this couldn’t have been it), angular cheilitis (I had this issue, but this did not explain the cracking around the corner of my lips), contact allergic skin dermatitis, (I hadn’t used new products for over a week), and possible damaged moisture. This was the most likely cause.

I talked to leading dermatologists about lip moisture barriers and their causes. They also shared the best ways to treat them. Find out all you need to know about the lip’s moisturizing barrier.

What is the lip moisture barrier?

Kristina Collin, a double-board certified dermatologist and founder of Foy Skin, says that lips have a moisture layer. However, it’s weak and inefficient compared to other body parts. The stratum corneum is a layer of dead cells that protects the outermost epidermis of our skin. The stratum corneum and epidermis provide the moisture barrier to the skin. They protect us from substances that can enter our skin and prevent things from leaving, such as our internal hydration. The protective barrier on our skin is 15-16 layers thick, but on our lips, it is only three layers.

Celebrity dermatologist Harold Lancer notes that “lips are made up of three components: a skin component and a vermilion component. You also need to keep in mind that the mucosa component is important if you wish to maintain moisture.”

The Vermilion border is the most vulnerable part, he says. It is prone to dehydration. He explains that it has no sweat glands or oils. It also does not have hair follicles. It is crucial to maintain the barrier, or you may suffer from chapped, dry lips. Curology’s Whitney Tolpinrud, MD, also states that “the lips are more susceptible to infection by pathogens when the protective skin barrier is compromised.”

What causes a damaged lip moisture barrier?

The truth is that almost anything could affect our lips. It’s also super easy to damage the lip skin barrier without knowing it. Dr. Lancer says that the [lip] barrier is easy to break because it’s as thick as paper. When that barrier is breached, it becomes a crumbling mesh. The brick wall defense system collapses, and the skin wall dehydrates.

Many factors can affect your lips’ moisture barrier. However, it would be best if you kept in mind a few. Dr. Collins explains that things like low humidity, cold weather, poor skincare, or dehydration can cause lips to become dry. She explains that there are other causes for the breakdown of the moisture barrier on the lips. These include lip licking and kissing, allergies or sensitivity to food or oral care products, irritation caused by saliva, vitamin deficiencies, such as iron, zinc, or B12, chronic mouth breathing because of nasal congestion, or, in more severe cases, autoimmune diseases, like Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Dr. Collins states that certain lip products may also compromise the lip moisture barrier. She says that many chapsticks and balms people use to repair their moisture barrier or stop peeling lips worsen the problem because they contain irritating ingredients. “Lanolin, fragrance and other common ingredients are the main culprits of allergic contact dermatitis or irritant skin dermatitis.”

How to Repair Your Lips’ Damaged Moisture Barrier

Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician, skincare expert, and founder, says: “When skin in this condition is present, it’s very important to treat it like a baby, using gentle products and practices.” She recommends replacing exfoliating products with hydrating and lipid-rich products for at least two weeks.

Janel Lou is a K-beauty specialist and founder of Le Mieux skin care. She recommends replenishing your skin with oil and water. She says that moisturizing skin is a combination of water (hydration) and fat (lipids). “You must first hydrate your skin and then seal it with oils, butter, or waxes. These additional molecules can provide relief to the damaged and broken lip skin. They include phospholipids and ceramides. Vitamin E, argan oil, tamanu, sacha-inchi, and baobab oils.

Dr. Collins also offers similar advice. He says, “The best thing you can do to repair your lip’s moisture barrier and reverse any damage is by using good skin care practices.” You should avoid lip products with irritating ingredients such as fragrance, Lanolin, or Salicylic AcidUse a lip product with SPF to protect your lips.

The Final Takeaway

Everyone’s healing process is different when repairing a damaged moisture barrier on the lips. While some people may see improvement within a few weeks, more severe cases can take longer. My lips slowly healed over the past six months and are still sensitive. I have seen a massive difference since implementing dermatologists’ suggestions, such as avoiding harsh exfoliants and ingredients and replenishing lip skin with hydration, lipids, and an SPF daily.

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