Is Vaseline As Good For The Lips As It Is Everywhere Else?

When it comes to personal care essentials, one can think of no item more versatile and affordable than Vaseline. The OG of moisturizers, this jellied substance is a fixture on women's vanity desks everywhere. Vaseline boasts a galore of benefits for the skin.


According to a study published in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Vaseline is effective in healing surgical wounds by keeping the skin moist. As a powerful occlusive, it can also be used to moisturize the feet, hands, and face to soften the skin on a deep level and prevent cracks. Vaseline has also been proven effective in soothing irritated skin and reducing diaper rash in babies. Hair-wise, split ends can get a much-needed boost of moisture from Vaseline. The list goes on and on.

As far as reducing dryness goes, there's probably no part of the face that gets dry and chapped as easily as the lips. Unlike other parts of the body, the lip skin has a very delicate stratum corneum, no hair, and no sweat glands. This means they're particularly prone to dryness as they have a far lesser capacity for water retention than the rest of the face's skin. So, is Vaseline as good for the lips as it is everywhere else? Here are some insights.


What is Vaseline

Triple-purified petroleum jelly, the main ingredient in Vaseline, consists of microcrystalline wax and minerals, which are responsible for creating a water-resistant barrier on the skin to help it lock in moisture. "Petroleum jelly is very occlusive, meaning it works to keep moisture from leaving your skin by blocking exposure of the skin to air, because dryness in the air can really pull moisture from your skin," dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee tells Well+Good. Due to its occlusive nature, Vaseline is often used to retain moisture in the skin, relieving dryness and keeping the skin soft.


Vaseline was invented in the 1860s by scientist Robert Augustus Chesebrough and was first marketed as Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly in 1870, according to Unilever USA. Thick and moisturizing, Vaseline is safe to use on most parts of the body. For example, it can be used to moisturize and soothe cracked heels and rough elbow skin, ease soreness after waxing, relieve razor bumps, prevent shoe bites, and treat minor skin burns and scrapes.

Vaseline can soothe and moisturize chapped lips

Vaseline is dry lips' best friend. If your lips are prone to dryness more easily during the colder months, make Vaseline a handbag staple and apply a light coat of petroleum jelly over your lips throughout the day. One squirt of Vaseline is enough to strengthen the skin barrier, rehydrate the skin, and keep dryness at bay. However, it's a fact worth stressing that Vaseline is an occlusive, meaning its main function is to perch on your skin surface and prevent water from escaping your skin. What it can do at best is to prevent your lips from getting dry and chapped — not restore lost moisture to your lips.


If your lips have been depleted of moisture, you should rehydrate them with a humectant, a hygroscopic substance that draws water from the air to the skin to keep it moist and plump. To soften and add hydration to your dry lips, coat your lips with a restorative lip treatment that contains powerful hydrators like peptide, shea butter, calendula, and hyaluronic acid. Then, add a coat of Vaseline on top to lock in the moisture and prevent water loss.

You can use Vaseline as a lip primer

Another role that Vaseline can shine in is the lip primer. As you know, matte lipsticks are formulated with alcohol and minimal oil, which cause your lips to dry out and flake within hours. To keep your lips looking pillowy-soft in matte finish, apply petroleum jelly on your lips before putting on your lipstick. For a glossy finish and extra softness, brush on another layer of petroleum jelly over your lipstick.


If you're a minimalist, you can get yourself a Vaseline tinted lip balm and skip lipstick. Infused with a rosy tinted glow plus SPF, a Vaseline tinted lip balm adds zest to your pout on no-makeup days with the added benefits of a hydrated feel and protection against UV radiation.

You can also use petroleum jelly to make your own lip scrub, an exfoliant formula designed for exfoliating your lips of dead skin cells to make them soft and smooth as butter. To DIY your lip scrub, all you need is petroleum jelly, olive oil or any essential oil of your choice, and sugar — a natural exfoliant. Depending on your need, you can pick one teaspoon of each ingredient into a bowl and mix them together. Then, massage the mixture all over your lips, leave it on for 10 minutes, and rinse it off.


Is Vaseline better than chapstick?

When it comes to soothing and moisturizing lips that are chapped and flaky, both Vaseline and chapsticks can do wonderful jobs. The main difference between traditional Vaseline and chapsticks is that Vaseline comprises mainly petroleum jelly, which is why the terms "Vaseline" and "petroleum jelly" are often used interchangeably. Regular Vaseline doesn't have any tint, sun protection, scent, or candy floss flavor. Meanwhile, chapsticks also contain petroleum jelly, but they typically include other ingredients, such as flavoring, scent, tint, SPF, and certain vitamins to add nourishment to the lips. While Vaseline can double up as a healing lotion for almost every part of the body and beyond, chapsticks are used for the lips only.


When it comes to versatility, Vaseline is definitely the winner here. However, it's a good idea to use both to maximize lip hydration. For instance, you can use a chapstick to moisturize your dry lips and perk them up with a little tint, and layer with a light coat of Vaseline to help lock in the moisture and strengthen the lip's skin barrier.

Other ways to keep your lips hydrated

To keep your lips always moist and plump, you'll have to make some lifestyle adjustments. Aside from moisturizing your lips with Vaseline or a fragrance-free lip ointment with SPF before exposing them to the sun and the wind, it's a good idea to kick the habit of licking your lips. Saliva cannot hydrate your lips. Instead, the digestive enzymes such as amylase and maltase in saliva compromise your lip skin and make your lips dry out easily. Licking your lips when they're dry only makes them drier. At the same time, make a conscious effort to not bite or pick at your lips. Whenever you feel touching your lips, make contact with Vaseline or a lip balm instead of your fingers. 


Drinking lots of water is also a good way to keep your lips hydrated. Once per week, exfoliate your lips with a lip scrub to buff away dead skin cells from the outer layer of the lip skin, boost circulation, and prevent dryness. To prevent dry lips, consider eating more foods with vitamin B-3, without which your skin can experience dryness. People can get vitamin B-3 in their diet by eating chicken breast, salmon, tuna, turkey, and leafy vegetables.