Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Nov 2018

Relieve Dry and Chapped Lips Naturally

A unique lip balm containing plants extracts with vitamins and minerals can prevent and repair damage from ultraviolet radiation and aging. The result is enhanced skin moisture and long-lasting relief that restores youthful softness and suppleness.

By Robert Goldfaden and Gary Goldfaden, MD.

All of us at one point or another have experienced the dryness, soreness, and cracking of chapped lips, especially during the winter months.

This painful and unsightly problem arises because the lips have an ultra-thin layer of skin without any oil glands. This makes them susceptible to moisture loss, sun-damage, allergies, irritants, and environmental insults that accelerate the aging process.1,2

The skin on your lips also produces less melanin—the pigment that acts as a sunscreen.3-5 Without this built-in protection against harmful ultraviolet rays, the lips are prone to the development of precancerous and cancerous conditions over time, particularly with added risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.6,7

Commercial lip balms typically contain unstable ingredients that only provide temporary relief. These balms remain largely inadequate for repairing damage caused by these multiple risk factors, paving the way for more serious skin conditions including actinic keratosis, cheilitis, and various types of cancers.

A novel lip balm can reverse and repair lip damage caused by ultraviolet radiation and external factors. The compounds in this lip balm enhance moisture to provide immediate and long-lasting relief that restores youthful softness and suppleness.

What you need to know

  • The surface of the lips amounts to just a very thin layer of skin, with no oil glands and little melanin. This makes them vulnerable to the damaging effects of ultraviolet light and environmental exposures.
  • The loss of structural collagen and moisture as a result of external factors usually results in painful, dry, and chapped lips.
  • A novel lip balm has been formulated with natural ingredients that provide immediate and long-lasting relief from dry and chapped lips, in turn restoring youthful softness and suppleness.
  • Vitamin C, Malpighia emarginata fruit extract, and zinc oxide deliver potent free-radical protection, while vitamin C and Malpighia emarginata boost collagen synthesis—all of which helps prevent and repair sun-damaged skin.
  • Beeswax and Olea europaea leaf extract work together to replenish the skin's natural moisture barrier to improve hydration and eliminate dryness.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C  

Lips are composed of a very thin layer of skin and contain less of the pigment melanin. This means our lips are less able to protect themselves against repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation and environmental pollutants.

Protecting lips against dryness, soreness, and chapping becomes more difficult as we grow older due to a significant drop in skin concentrations of vitamin C.8

Research shows that topical application of vitamin C can turn the odds back in your favor by effectively penetrating lip skin where it operates through two mechanisms to combat aging:

1. Neutralizes damaging free radicals from long-term sun exposure. This reduces oxidative stress that speeds up the loss of collagen—the skin's structural foundation.9-11

2. Builds new collagen by activating collagen gene transcription and facilitating enzymatic reactions involved in stabilizing and organizing collagen molecules.12,13

Randomized controlled trials deliver clear confirmation that topical vitamin C safely improves the appearance of photoaged skin.14-16 In one noteworthy study, dermatological evaluations revealed that 84.2% of participants applying topical vitamin C to their photoaged skin for three months experienced significant improvements in tactile roughness, fine wrinkles, and tone compared to 15.8% in the control group.16

Thanks to these anti-aging effects, one review paper noted that "…topical vitamin C has become a useful part of the dermatologist's armamentarium."17

Malpighia emarginata Fruit Extract

Inflammation is an underlying cause of many age-related conditions, and this holds true for skin aging.18,19

Your lips are under constant attack from chronic inflammatory stimuli such as ultraviolet radiation, pollution, pathogens, and chemical irritants in lip products like fragrances and artificial colors. This compromises skin function and integrity, in addition to creating an excessive immune response that contributes to inflammatory lip conditions like eczematous cheilitis.20

The skin protective compounds found in acerola cherries make them a powerful ally in the fight against chronic inflammation. They have long been valued for their abundant supply of vitamin C, containing the highest amount per serving compared to other fruit sources.21

In addition to vitamin C, acerola cherries possess a high concentration of oxidant reducers called carotenoids and anthocyanins.22-24 The former has a proven track record for reducing the inflammatory response to ultraviolet light, owing to its remarkable ability to scavenge free radicals.25,26

Anthocyanins provide the deep blue-purple color of fruits and vegetables. They have been shown to defend dermal fibroblasts from the pro-inflammatory cytokine prostaglandin E2 responsible for suppressing production of collagen and enhancing its degradation.27,28

A human study revealed that a topical formulation containing acerola cherries decreased the appearance of wrinkles on the lips by 58% in four months.29

Beeswax

Beeswax  

Windy, cold, and dry environments tend to dry out your lips. Tightness and cracking soon follow. This occurs because the lips lack the oil glands necessary for moisturization.2 Beeswax, derived from the honeycomb, acts as a natural moisturizer to attract and hold onto water—making it an ideal candidate for rehydrating the skin on the lips.30

The antibacterial properties of beeswax also come in handy, as cracked lips increase the risk for skin infection.31 Lastly, beeswax might provide relief for those suffering from atopic dermatitis—a chronic skin disorder characterized by redness, flaking, and itching. One study showed that 80% of patients with atopic dermatitis who applied a topical mixture containing beeswax saw significant improvements in symptoms after just two weeks!32

Olea europaea Leaf Extract

Olea europaea Leaf  

Olive oil contains at least 30 phenolic compounds, many of which modulate sun-induced inflammatory processes throughout the skin.33,34

Not surprisingly, topically applied olive oil in mice was found to reduce the number of tumors after exposure to ultraviolet radiation.35 Also, olive oil contains squalene and vitamin E that improves the skin's moisture barrier to eliminate dryness.36,37

Zinc Oxide

Zinc provides optimal skin protection as an essential component of copper/zinc superoxide dismutase, an oxidant-reducing enzyme that neutralizes dangerous free radicals responsible for the undesirable characteristics of aging lips.38

Zinc limits DNA damage, enhances wound healing, and is essential for immune fuction.38,39

Research shows that zinc oxide effectively reflects ultraviolet light, thereby inhibiting its absorption and destructive effects in the skin.40

Summary

hydrated lips  

Our lips are a focal point of social interactions on a daily basis, from speaking, to kissing, to conveying facial expressions and emotions.

Despite being in the limelight, they still remain a mere afterthought in most skin care regimens.

The lips are ultra-sensitive to external factors that compromise skin structure and integrity, which can results in unsightly and painful dry and chapped lips.

A new lip balm has been formulated with vitamin C, beeswax, zinc oxide, and acerola fruit and Olea europaea (olive) leaf extracts that protect against UV-induced photoaging, while ensuring adequate skin moisture to restore lips' youthful qualities.


Gary Goldfaden, MD, is a clinical dermatologist and lifetime member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is the founder of Academy Dermatology in Hollywood, FL, and Cosmesis Skin Care. Dr. Goldfaden is a member of Life Extension®'s Medical Advisory Board. All Cosmesis products are available online.


If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

References

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  2. Rogers RS, 3rd, Bekic M. Diseases of the lips. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 1997;16(4):328-36.
  3. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/nbk507900. Accessed August 9, 2018.
  4. Brenner M, Hearing VJ. The protective role of melanin against UV damage in human skin. Photochem Photobiol. 2008;84(3): 539-49.
  5. D'Orazio J, Jarrett S, Amaro-Ortiz A, et al. UV radiation and the skin. Int J Mol Sci. 2013;14(6):12222-48.
  6. Maruccia M, Onesti MG, Parisi P, et al. Lip cancer: a 10-year retrospective epidemiological study. Anticancer Res. 2012;32(4):1543-6.
  7. Czerninski R, Zini A, Sgan-Cohen HD. Lip cancer: incidence, trends, histology and survival: 1970-2006. Br J Dermatol. 2010;162(5):1103-9.
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  9. Burke KE. Photodamage of the skin: protection and reversal with topical antioxidants. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2004;3(3):149-55.
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  14. Humbert PG, Haftek M, Creidi P, et al. Topical ascorbic acid on photoaged skin. Clinical, topographical and ultrastructural evaluation: double-blind study vs. placebo. Exp Dermatol. 2003;12(3):237-44.
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  21. Available at: http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-009101000000000000000-w.html. Accessed August 9, 2018.
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  23. Available at: http://journals.fcla.edu/fshs/article/viewfile/85793/82720. Accessed August 9, 2018.
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