Upgrade U: a guide to lip balms

December 05, 2011

Acne medication isn’t the funnest experience I’ve had in life. Especially since my acne returned a few months after the six months of torture I went through to try and clear up my skin. I normally enjoy being in the minority like being in the top 3% of IQ brain-dorks and in the 2.9% of INTJ personality types but being in the 15% of people whose skin can’t be fixed by hardcore medications is what some would call a ‘major bummer’. Majority pun intended.

One of the god-awful side effects of acne meds is the dryness. The idea is to shrivel your pores up so they don’t get clogged and pimply. This means your skin feels severely tight and dry (think Montgomery Burns) and your lips threaten to crack if not lathered in lip balm every 15-30 minutes. I’ve heard of far worse symptoms like depression and hair falling out so I tell myself I was lucky.

The meds worked permanently for about a dozen of my friends who I questioned months before I went to a dermatologist so I’d still recommend heavy acne sufferers try the meds but be aware that you may emerge from the end of it without clear skin but a new found knowledge of the best lip balms available in Australia.
Lucas Papaw Ointment
Before I went on the meds I was a papaw ointment fanatic. Once my lips dried up on the meds I quickly realised papaw is only good for keeping moisture already in my lips, not adding it.
Blistex
I tried five different Blistex products - Complete Moisture, Ultra Protection, Lip Ointment, Lip Infusion and Strawberry Lip Balm. While they all relieved my lips somewhat on application they felt dry again soon after making me touch up every 15mins or so. Excessive? Wait til you’re on these meds then you’ll understand.
Nivea Lip Care
My friend got me a tube of Nivea because she saw how much pain I was in after I forgot my Blistex tube for a half hour grocery run. Nivea had the longest staying power (didn’t rub off or blow off in the wind on the walk to work) and I only needed to touch up every 30-45mins. I drink a lot of water and tea during the day so if you’re not constantly drinking you’d probably only need to touch up every hour or possibly more.

Vaseline
I will never fully understand Tyra Banks’ reaction to Vaseline in this YouTube clip but I am a little less inclined to think the woman’s completely mad. Vaseline was the sweetest relief to my dry lips. The only problem is it rubs off too quickly so towards the end of my med course I’d apply Vaseline every morning after waking up with crusty lips then once they were soft again I’d load up the staying power of Nivea for the commute to work then keep doing a combo of both Vaseline for softness and Nivea for keeping in the moisture throughout the day.
Since going off the meds I’ve tried the new Maybelline Baby Lips and it seems to both soften and keep moisture in – if only they’d released this baby while I was on my meds! I’d probably still use Vaseline in the mornings but Baby Lips feels like it could take care of the rest during the day.

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