How To Protect Your Lip Moisture Barrier The Same Way You Protect Your Skin's

You may be familiar with your skin's moisture barrier, spanning head to toe, which requires protection for health and longevity. Similarly, your lips also have a moisture barrier, which often goes unaddressed. It can be easy to forget that, as Abaci notes, our lips are covered in top layers of skin until we're faced with an extremely painful sun blister or breakdown of the barrier beneath the tender top coat of lip tissue. Traditionally addressed during the cold winter months which inflict chilly winds and low temperatures onto sensitive lip skin, causing chapped lips and breakage exposing the underlying moisture barrier, it's also important to be proactive about protecting the moisture barrier of lips all year round.

Also referred to as the lipid barrier or the skin's epidermis, the protection of this upper skin barrier is essential for the upkeep of the layers of skin and tissue below. Dry, chapped lips occur when damage to the lip's tissue penetrates through the epidermis and mid-layers, called stratum corneum, ultimately reaching levels of lip tissue which quickly lose their necessary moisture that's typically protected by the natural lip barrier of the upper levels of tissue. When the moisture barrier is compromised, a process called transepidermal water loss (TEWL) occurs wherein typical water content of lip tissue is unable to be retained without its primary protective barrier. Moisture evaporates faster than hydration of tissue can be replenished. To protect your lip moisture barrier, prioritize proactive measures. Here's how. 

Vitamin E is excellent, effective, and easy

One of the most straightforward and frequently found ingredients in restorative products for repairing the lip moisture barrier is the simple addition of vitamin E. If you aren't familiar with the alphabetical benefits of essential nutrients, vitamin E is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant factors. As Scout Organic Active Beauty explains, it is naturally moisturizing, fat soluble, and has the added benefit of boosting the natural collagen production within skin's cellular layers. In addition to hydrating lips and rapidly repairing chapped, dry, or irritated top layers of skin, vitamin E is applauded for its ability to protect the lip moisture barrier from both harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays which are threats posed by raw lip exposure to the sun, and damage-inducing environmental factors like pollution, free radicals, and exposure to chemicals and microplastics. 

For added benefits and protection of your lip moisture barrier, look for ingredients listed alongside vitamin E that are also known to provide moisturizing nourishment and UV protection. Of such ingredients, hyaluronic acid is acclaimed for rejuvenating lips with hydration while UV-shielding ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can prevent sunburn, sun blisters, and risk of skin cancers developing on lips, reports NBC News. Applying vitamin E to your lips daily will plump and protect lips. Essentially, when it comes to vitamin forces shielding your lip moisture barrier from damage while simultaneously replenishing moisture and stimulating collagen production, vitamin E is the entire alphabet.

Plant oils patrol pH and prevent environmental damage

Staying with organic ingredients, including essential vitamins and nutrients which stimulate natural tissue function and cellular turnover, the use of plant-based oils is promoted for protecting the lip moisture barrier through moderating pH levels and assisting with hydration and water retention. For purposes of benefiting from many of the organic compounds which can reinforce your lips' moisture barrier, you probably won't have to go farther than your kitchen cabinet to find items that can naturally protect your lips against environmental factors. Healthline notes that there is significant crossover in plant oils which can hydrate both your skin's moisture barrier and your lips' protective barrier layers, making many of these products dual use items you can apply all over for concurrent, full-body protection of both lips and skin.

Of the numerous plant-based oils that can double as lipid barrier soldiers for skin and lips alike, search for pure oils or specific products containing such oils as coconut, argan, jojoba, rosehip, almond, primrose, sunflower, borage, black currant, and soybean. Olive, apricot, and avocado oils work too, though beware that they are of thinner consistencies and may be more difficult to apply to skin directly. Beeswax is an excellent anti-inflammatory protective element for keeping lips barred from pollutants and environmental threats like free radicals. 

For the utmost protection from plant-based oils, search for options with pH values mirroring the pH range of lips, which falls between 4.75 and 5.75 on average, per Editorialist

SPF lip balm is a proactive protector

When protecting your lip moisture barrier from direct sunlight exposure, you're prioritizing both short-term and long-term protection of the health of the tissue on both your upper and bottom lips. In the long run, using a lip balm, chapstick, or other lip product with either sunscreen, zinc oxide, or a labeled sun protective factor (SPF) value of at least SPF 30 will protect your lips from skin cancers, per NBC News. Skin cancers like melanoma and types of carcinoma such as basal cell and squamous cell can develop on your lips, including the inner edges of your lips. It's paramount to protect lips from direct sunlight exposure. If you aren't already using a lip product with SPF 30 or higher, or another product which protects against both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays, then this is your sign to add a sun protective lip product into your daily routine with re-application every 30 minutes to hour if possible. It's never too late to begin protecting your skin, and that goes for the skin on your lips and the lip moisture barrier beneath the epidermis.

Should your lip moisture barrier succumb to acute damage from a sunburn, you'll find that the moisture retention in the exposed lower layers will quickly evaporate and your lips won't be able to replenish needed hydration. In this case, you can use aloe vera to preserve remaining moisture while easing pain of inflammation, recommends Healthline

Lip masks maintain luscious moisture

In between regular use of a lip product with SPF or UV-protective ingredients throughout the day, you can alternate nourishing vitamin-rich lip balms, chapsticks, and hydrating lipsticks for layered protection of your lips' moisture barrier. Creating a consistent daily routine will maintain protection of the sensitive, vulnerable layers of tissue beneath moisture barriers on your lips. For additional protection, hydration, rejuvenation of skin on lips damaged by environmental pollutants, and to prompt collagen production within the layers of skin, an advisable practice is to incorporate a lip mask at least two or three times each week, according to Kaplan MD. A lip mask which specifically states that it serves the purpose of providing moisture to lips is a positive way to practice proactive habits to maintain the wellbeing of your lip moisture barrier on both a short-term and long-term basis. Hyaluronic acid and smooth organic ingredients such as fruit extracts, as opposed to fruit granules or pits, are highly recommended ingredients to search for in your preferred lip mask. 

Conversely, it might be time to ditch your lip scrubs and any exfoliating products designed for your lips that can irritate the tender skin on your lips. In contrast to a lip mask which is creamy or gel-based, lip scrubs have crude and abrasive components which can cause tearing of lip skin and result in exposure of the lip moisture barrier. For protection, lip masks over lip scrubs.