The best lip balms according to a lip balm addict

Meet the lip balm of your dreams.

Lip balms best

by Jade Moscrop |

Lip balm obsessives, unite! I know how you feel. Anxious if you suddenly can't find your lip balm in your bag? Have multiple sticks, tubs and lotions in your car, on your desk and in various rooms of the house? Seem to have tried every brand on the planet? You're not alone.

To help you find the lip balm to conquer all other lip balms (and to finally find my faves once and for all), I've tested out some of the top brands, asked for recommendations from friends and colleagues, as well as trying those with the highest reviews online.

Here's what I found:

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To find out more about all things related to lip health, we called upon Dr Mervyn Patterson, Cosmetic Dermatologist at Woodford Medical.

How does the skin on our lips differ from the rest of the body?

"The skin on the lip is very different from skin elsewhere on the body as it has a very thin surface layer, the stratum corneum, or as some prefer to call, it the external skin barrier. The external barrier in the lip is literally just three to four cells thick as opposed to skin on the face which averages about sixteen cells in thickness.

"The skin barrier, as its name suggests, is the protective layer that separates the lip from the external environment and also helps to retain water in the deeper layers of the skin. The barrier itself is composed of ultra thin, flattened cells separated by layers of lipids and it is these lipids that provide an important part of the protective function of the barrier.

"The delicate surface layer gives the skin of the lip its soft feel but because skin on the lip is devoid of sebaceous glands, it produces little natural moisturisation and is therefore prone to drying. The red colour of the lip comes from the rich blood supply in the deeper parts of the skin. The actual colour of the skin on the lip tends to be much lighter than the rest of the face because there are fewer melanocytes and this is the reason why the lips are more prone to UV damage than normal skin."

What ingredients should we look for in a lip balm?

"Look for skincare products proven to repair the skin barrier. A combination of occlusives and physiological lipids - ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids in the correct balance to encourage the optimal ratio of lipids in the external barrier. The healthier the barrier, the healthier will be the underlying skin as more external agents are kept out and the better is the retention of water deeper in the skin.

"Beware of seeking out ‘magic bullet’ answers particularly those that focus on one ingredient like hyaluronic acid - skin is simply too complex for the answer to lie in one simple sound bite.

"With such a huge list of ingredients with potential for causing contact allergy, everyone should be vigilant to the problem arising. If you find that your lips are becoming red or drier with flaking or peeling, then one should be careful. The catch is often that a reaction may take days, weeks, even months to appear so it may take a long time for the penny to drop."

Is there such thing as "using too much lip balm"?

"Most people use their common sense and self-regulate use, increasing use in the winter times when the air is colder and dryer. As the climate fluctuates throughout the year, many will be able to successfully discontinue use, but I see little evidence that long-term use can cause any harm."

What lip balm would you recommend?

The best by far that I have seen is the Epionce Lip Renewal. It seems to strike the balance between adequate hydration to make the lips look smoother and feel healthier but isn’t too heavy or visible.

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