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Practically everyone struggles with chapped lips at one point or another - regardless of whether you have dry, combination, or oily skin. While the rest of your face may be shielded by up to fifteen dermatological barriers, your lips (and eyelids) tend to be far more delicate. In some cases, as few as three layers of surface epidermis stand between your pout and the harsh elements! Everyday tasks like eating, drinking, smiling, brushing your teeth, and even socialising can become much more challenging (and sometimes even painful) when your lips feel worse-for-wear. But can pure, hemp-derived CBD help with hydration?
If you’re itching to learn more about how to tackle the discomfort of sore lips, this is the perfect article for you! By the end of this text, you’ll know some of the potential skin benefits that may come with using CBD as a supplement. Our lips aren’t sealed when it comes to sharing self-care secrets, which is why we’re also giving you five fantastic tips to help keep your lips (and skin) feeling hydrated.
CBD: The Name On Everyone’s Lips
While CBD was first whispered among pioneering scientists in the 1940s (such as Roger Adams), it has since become one of the most talked-about topics in the modern wellness industry. So, what is CBD?
Technically, it’s an acronym for a non-intoxicating substance called cannabidiol. As you may know, cannabidiol is a unique, plant-derived compound present in all species of cannabis. CBD manufacturers often favour cannabis Sativa (particularly the hemp subspecies) due to its well-tolerated and adaptable chemistry. After harvesting hemp flowers and leaves, developers obtain CBD using high-performance CO2 extraction techniques and distillation methods. ‘CBD isolate’ is the most distilled extract, and potentially represents CBD at its ‘purest’. What’s more, it may also offer some exciting wellness potential as a supplement.
Is CBD Legal and Safe to Use?
While we should all take good care of our skin, it’s also vital that we avoid breaking the law wherever possible. As policies vary between nations, the first step in your CBD journey should always be this: checking the regulations where you live. If you’re based in the UK, legal CBD must come from licenced hemp crops and contain no more than 0.2% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), or 1mg per product. Similar rules apply throughout much of Europe, as well as in the USA.
According to a recent report from the World Health Organisation(WHO), premium CBD is generally a low-risk and relatively well-tolerated substance. On rare occasions, some users may potentially experience unwanted side-effects, such as an upset stomach, dry mouth, and fatigue. Topical CBD products are less likely to produce these symptoms - since cosmetics are absorbed via your skin, rather than through your digestive system. However, it may be wise to do a patch test on your neck or wrist to rule out any possible skin sensitivity.
Now that we’ve covered the basic safety and legal status of CBD, let’s turn our attention to a common skin complaint that it might possibly help with: dry, chapped lips.
Why You Should Care About Your Skin (and Lips)
Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? It also functions as your primary barrier of defence against environmental stressors and invading cells. Some researchers suggest that skin is an immune organ that acts as an ‘interface’ to prevent your body from being exposed to outside threats, such as disease and the elements. While we often associate dry skin and lips with wind chill and cold winter months, the reality is that chapping can occur at any time (and at any temperature). As a result, it’s critical to care for your skin all year round, not just when conditions are harsher. Technically, lip care is an extension of skincare. The opposite of this is neglect, which can potentially impact your wellbeing beyond your skin, as well as cause extra cell damage to amass more visibly over time. So, what causes dry skin?
Some generalised everyday stressors that can harm our skin and lips include:
- Sun exposure (harmful UV rays)
- Free radicals (unstable atoms often linked to cell damage)
- Poor nutrition
While there is no way to completely escape gravity and sunlight (other than perhaps living in a cave on the moon- not recommended), there are some straightforward daily measures you can take to look after your skin. In fact, you can invest in your complexion (and overall wellbeing) simply by eating a balanced diet and drinking enough water. However, if you’re determined to prevent chapping and embrace your smile, good lip care is also a must-have!
How Your Lips Differ From the Rest of Your Face
Aside from their shape, the most eye-catching quality that helps to set your lips apart is their colour - even without makeup. You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself wondering: why are my lips red? or pink-ish? The answer is relatively straightforward.
Firstly, the skin on your lips is roughly 80% thinner than areas like your cheeks, and this structural difference causes it to be more translucent. While your cheeks might only be noticeably red when you’re blushing, your lips generally maintain a consistent appearance. French researcher B. Ricbourgexplains that lips contain elaborate networks of capillaries that transport blood flow close to the skin. Ultimately, this is why they display red tones.
Some other unique aspects regarding the structure of your lips include:
- The vermillion border (the borderline of skin cells that outlines your lips)
- A fragile layer of stratum corneum (hard skin)
- A lack of hair follicles (resulting in smooth skin)
- Increased sensitivity (due to limited barriers and many nerve endings)
- A lack of oil glands (which may make the skin on your lips more vulnerable to dryness)
However beautiful they are, it is fair to suggest that our lips may have some structural difficulties when it comes to staying hydrated. It’s also worth considering some of the specific environmental factors and lifestyle triggers that might cause our lips to become too dry or overly chapped.
What Causes Dry Lips?
In this article, we’re looking at the periodic, uncomfortable, and (frankly) annoying symptoms of dry lips that can arise from time to time. However, if you find that your dry lips are severe, chronic, and come with other symptoms that worry you, it’s vital to speak with a doctor or dermatologist. In some cases, dry lips can be a sign of allergies, nutritional deficiencies, or underlying medical conditions - issues that are beyond the scope of what we’re discussing today. If you’re interested in exploring some possible anecdotal causes of dry lips, keep reading!
Dry Lips vs Chapped Lips
Generally speaking, dry lips and chapped lips are two sides of the same coin. However, it’s helpful to remember that, while dry lips don’t always show symptoms of chapping, the broken, flakey skin that characterises chapped lips is usually a result of dryness. Some common dry lip symptoms include itchiness, swelling, flaking, and possibly bleeding. All in all, they can be incredibly sore, unsightly, and embarrassing. Thankfully, they are rarely permanent, and can often improve when given the appropriate attention and care.
Some Environmental Causes
The environments we find ourselves in can contribute to our overall sense of wellness, as well as how comfortable we feel in our skin. External, weather-related factors are vital to consider. While there’s no use in chasing the wind, we can still be proactive in preparing for the elements.
Some natural forces that might make you more vulnerable to dry lips may include:
- Intense sunlight (which can potentially cause damage and sunburn, even on your lips)
- Dry conditions (both outdoors and indoors)
- Cold, windy weather
Some Lifestyle Triggers
Lifestyle factors are choices, rather than natural forces, but they are also helpful to keep in mind when it comes to dry lips. Alongside the unconscious habits that some of us may have (for example, biting or licking our lips), some other common triggers are worth reviewing.
Factors that might cause your lips to feel parched may include:
- Lip fillers (aka. Dermal fillers)
- Eating spicy food
- Consuming too much salt
- Failing to drink enough water
- Inadequate lip care
Now that we’ve reviewed the value of skincare and some possible causes of dry lips, let’s investigate the potential benefits of hemp-derived CBD. After that, we’ll give you our top five lip care tips!
The Jaw-Dropping Potential of CBD
Building upon our brief introduction at the beginning of this article, now is the perfect time to explore some possible perks of CBD consumption. Be warned - it might just leave you smiling more than usual!
What is CBD Oil?
It’s natural to be curious about CBD oil (also known as ‘hemp oil’). After all, it’s one of the most popular ways to consume CBD, and it has quickly become ‘the talk of the town’ in the wellness community. Put simply, ‘CBD oil’ is an intricate combination of plant-derived base oils (such as olive, coconut, or hemp seed oil) and CBD extract. You can take it ‘sublingually’ by placing one or two drops under your tongue, and holding them there for roughly 60 seconds before swallowing. While hemp extract is naturally oily in its own right, developers tend to mix it with other substances to create botanically-infused products with precise chemistries and concentrations. CBD oil is often a key component in edibles, moisture and antioxidant-rich cosmetics, and even CBD vape accessories.
Purported CBD Oil Benefits
Many people choose to consume CBD oil as a food supplement or ‘bio-active’ skin ingredient. While scientists are still exploring its potential effects, one 2019 review of multiple human studies suggested that CBD consumption might possibly help with a wide range of general discomforts. It may even have the potential to affect some symptoms associated with anxiety, mood disorders, inflammation, insomnia, digestive troubles, and more! As you may know, these struggles can impact our skin (and overall wellness) from the inside out. While external self-care products may help, it’s also wise to consider some broader lifestyle adjustments - such as eating more healthily.
Since this article is devoted to lips (and, by extension, our skin), let’s review some promising research related to CBD topicals.
Possible Benefits of CBD For Your Lips
Can you hydrate your lips with the help of CBD? What about using it as a self-care method to impact some symptoms of swelling, irritation, and more? Let’s explore these questions from a research-based perspective.
CBD May Affect Some Symptoms of Skin Inflammation
Uncomfortable symptoms, such as swelling and excess redness, can be typical signs of dry lips. Despite recent beauty fads related to extra-plump and colour-enhanced lips, it’s safe to say that no one sees dry, irritated skin as a cause for celebration. As we learned earlier in this text, you can think of your skin as an immune barrier. When dryness causes delicate skin layers to crack and break, it creates a possible entry point for infection. Thus, your immune response kicks in with swelling and other irritating symptoms. Can CBD save the day?
Emerging research, including one 2018 preliminary study, suggests that CBD may potentially:
- Reduce some common signs of swelling
- Reduce some inflammatory skin symptoms (such as itching and redness)
- Affect how your body processes some inflammation markers and signals
- Impact some of the inflammation symptoms triggered by harmful UV light
CBD May Possibly Influence Dry Skin and Sebum (Natural Oil) Production
Technically, your lips don’t have any sebaceous glands on them. As a result, they don’t produce sebum. However, the skin immediately surrounding your lips is sebaceous, which means it may be liable to blemishes. Acne symptoms can be triggered by a myriad of different factors: from stress, poor nutrition, to skin dryness and touching your face with unclean hands. While it’s impossible for us to say that CBD can “cure” acne, it might just impact some uncomfortable symptoms.
Some studies (including one examination in 2014) have indicated that CBD may potentially impact your skin by:
- Offering possible “sebostatic” effects (which might influence oil production levels)
- Reducing some symptoms of dry skin
- Impacting the texture and self-perceived comfort of your skin
- Potentially influencing some natural processes - such as scarring
Experts Suggest That CBD May Potentially Impact Pain Symptoms
We don’t need any particular expertise to know that dry, chapped lips can be incredibly painful. The sensations can range from a dull ache to a sharp sting - particularly if you’re indulging in a salty snack. Sometimes, pain can be a tell-tale sign of inflammation, even if no problems are visible to the naked eye. Internal swelling can temporarily disrupt our signalling pathways and apply pressure to sensitive nerves, thus triggering an uncomfortable pain response. Current theories suggest that CBD molecules might possibly influence one of your body’s core regulatory systems: the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Alongside monitoring our sleeping and breathing, the ECS may also play a role in how we process pain signals.
Preliminary evidence (as of 2014) suggests that CBD may potentially impact your discomfort by:
- Influencing some symptoms of facial pain
- Affecting some of the behavioural signs of pain
- Affecting how you process natural ‘feel-good’ hormones, such as serotonin
- Representing a relatively safe and holistic approach to pain symptoms
So far, the current evidence tells an intriguing story of CBD’s possible capacity to help protect your pout. As research continues, we may one day find that there is even more untapped potential waiting beneath the surface. Here at Amphora, we believe that the potential benefits of CBD are more than just skin-deep. If you’d like to learn more, you’ll love our inspiring article: How CBD Oil May Help You.
As promised, let’s now cover five exclusive lip care tips!
Lip Service: How to Get Rid of Dry Lips (Or, More Specifically, Some Common Symptoms)
Tip #1: Use Lip-Friendly Sunscreen
According to recent research, exposure to harmful UV rays may be the number one cause of age-related skin damage. Many dermatologists indicate that simple habits such as applying sunscreen every day (whatever the weather) can serve you well in the long-term. New insights confirm that sunscreen isn’t just for a holiday in the sun. Whether you’re out-and-about or sitting indoors with a cup of tea, it’s always worth applying some SPF. Don’t be tempted to skip your lips! They are just as vulnerable to sun damage as the rest of your skin. Specialised balm can also protect your lips from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Tip #2: Drink Plenty of Water and Eat Well
Sometimes, the ‘drink more water’ message feels a bit like a broken record, but it’s true! As you experiment with hydrating lip products, you should also consider the possibility that you might not be drinking enough. A 2014 study involving 22 women suggested that water loss may potentially cause our lips to become less sensitive to touch and temperature. Since part of the body’s dehydration response involves conserving fluids and prioritising our internal organs, our lips may receive less water as a consequence.
Similarly, the value of a balanced diet cannot be overstated. According to dietitian Rachael Link, chronically chapped lips may potentially indicate that you are low in micronutrients, such as B vitamins, iron, and zinc. This observation is just one of the many reasons why it’s worth paying close attention to what you eat - and making sure you’re consuming enough of the right things.
Tip #3: Don’t Go Over-The-Top With Lip Scrubs
Lip scrubbing is a trendy exfoliation method that removes dead skin cells using sugar granules and friction. According to anecdotal reports, this process may stimulate blood flow, impact collagen production, and enable lip balms to penetrate your skin more effectively. While these potential benefits are certainly attractive, it’s essential to learn how to use lip scrubs correctly.
Given how delicate your lips are, it’s best to avoid any overly rough actions or dragging movements. If you scrub your lips too rigorously, you may well find them in worse condition than when you started! As a basic rule-of-thumb, you should aim to gently exfoliate your lips once or twice per week. It’s wise to immediately follow-up with some lip oil, balm, or any other moisturising product.
Tip #4: Avoid Licking Your Lips, and Other Common Habits
Lip-licking isn’t just reserved for a delicious meal. It’s actually a very common idiosyncrasy - a habit that persists without any conscious thought or effort. Some of us may even do it deliberately when we feel our lips drying out and we don’t have any moisturising products to hand. While the saliva from our mouths creates a temporary solution, it will inevitably evaporate and leave your skin even drier. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how lip-licking can become an ongoing and unhelpful habit among people who want to overcome dry lips. Nervous habits like biting your lip or covering your mouth with your hands can also be detrimental to lip hygiene and hydration.
Tip #5: Apply Lip Balm After Brushing Your Teeth
Do your lips ever feel tight and dry after brushing your teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Most oral hygiene products (toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.) contain strong chemicals, such as alcohol derivatives and hydrogen peroxide. Understandably, these substances perform a vital function due to their strong antibacterial properties. However, the downside is that these additives can also strip away precious moisture from your mouth and lips. As we’ve learned, your lips lack oil glands - making it more challenging for them to remain plump and hydrated in challenging conditions. If you’re already prone to chapped lips, dental products may be contributing to your discomfort. A straightforward and excellent way to help combat any post-brushing dryness is to apply a layer of your favourite lip balm.
To help take care of your lips through the night, you may also wish to use a generous amount of oil-based lip balm before bed. With this method, the natural moisture in your skin is effectively ‘locked in’ by the product, which may help to prevent your skin from losing hydration. For a refreshing pick-me-up, you may want to consider pairing a sweet CBD mint with a luxurious CBD lip balm. With this dream-team, you can combine and prolong your fresh breath and pillowy lips while you unwind and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Conclusion: No Stiff Upper Lips Here!
In this text, we’ve reiterated that taking good care of your skin is vital - especially given that your skin is an irreplaceable structure that protects your internal organs from being exposed to outside bacteria. Your lips are not self-moisturising, since they do not contain oil glands. On top of this, the skin covering your lips is also very fragile, which can make them more vulnerable to dryness and chapping in certain conditions. Hemp-derived CBD might be an excellent investment due to its potential skin benefits, which may impact some symptoms of dryness, acne, inflammation, and pain. Some studies also suggest that CBD may influence some of the natural wound-healing processes that occur at skin-level. Since CBD oil often incorporates the possible moisturising properties of numerous oily plants, it might just be a natural choice for anyone looking to kiss dry lips goodbye.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.